Sharp edges of rear hatch.
Bonnet opened by key-lock in grille badge which can be vulnerable to road salt.
ABS, aircon etc. originally all extra, bundled in £500 'extras' packs.
1.6 is overgeared at 23.35 mph/1,000 rpm (3,000 rpm = 70 mph and 6,500 rpm would equal 152 mph) which gives very flat 5th gear performance at motorway speeds.
Original diesel is ancient 1,753cc with vulnerable fuel pump to camshaft belt drive that needs replacing every 36,000 miles.
Estate not as good looking as hatchback. Saloon is plain ugly and depreciates more heavily than the hatch.
1.6 with Mazda 4-speed automatic initially proved to be a disaster due to ATF leaks between transmission and engine (see recalls about this). Soon fixed, proving to be reliable (no reports of any failures at all 2001-2004) and became third best selling automatic in the UK.
What to Watch Out For
Note: this seems like a long list, but the Focus has been the UK's best-selling car so the number of faults below come from the sheer quantity sold.
Some fleets reckon on just 60,000 miles for Zetec E timing belts and idler pulleys. 35,000 miles still max for diesel timing belts. (Later 1.8 TDCi diesel engine is belt cam, not chain cam like 2.0 Mondeo TDCi.) On 1.8 petrol engines, timing belt tensioners are failing over 80,000 miles and 5 years old.
On estates and other models not fitted with plastic sill protectors, look for stone damage and possible rusting at rear bottom edge of front wheel arches. Corrosion can also start in hatchback at the sharp point in the recess for the rear screen. Look for flaked paint here. Rear window wiper action on T to W reg cars causes movement of the glass, scraping the paint in the base of the rear window V which is a natural rust trap. (Rust occurs even though the shell is supposed to be electro galvanized.) Paint can crack and corrosion can start around door mirror housings. Check door bottoms on cars over 5 years old as sealant can fail allowing water to settle there and rust through. Apparently not covered by no perforation warranty. Rear silencers can rot through in two years if car used for short runs from cold. Contacts in rear number plate light can rust up. Can suffer water leaks at rear through vertical light clusters and light contacts can rust up causing current drains. Also reports of rust in area around rear hatchback hinges and around chrome number plate light trim on Ghia models
Listen for rumbly rear wheel bearings, especially on estates, but quite a common failure on all Focuses. If not fixed under warranty, a suggestion from John Shuck in the USA is, "the bearing material was not properly hardened, aka nitrided to Rockwell C 60 or higher. So, get new bearings, find an aircraft parts guy, and get them nitrided ASAP. Also use a good grease. Krytox is good but expensive, so I use Amsoil Series 2000 racing grease, drop point is at 540 degrees F." Temporary speedometer/odometer failures quite common, so speedo and odo may not have recorded actual mileage covered. Number of reports of flywheel failures on diesels.
Some late 'W' and early 'X' reg 2.0 litre Focuses were fitted with Mondeo inlet manifolds and sometimes refuse to drop below 2,500 rpm.
The pins which hold the foot pedals in place may fall out, leaving the driver unable to brake or declutch.
Sharp front edge of parcel shelf can chafe back seat material. Some cars have a protective strip over the parcel shelf edge. Others don't.
Reports of front springs breaking on 1999-2000 Focuses: bad news because it untwines and tears up the tyre and front brake pipe. Further spate of coil spring failures on 1998 - 2001 cars over 2006 to early 2007.
1.4 and 1.6 models can have a problem caused by spark plug interferance with their GEM (Generic Electronic Module). This controls instrument cluster, interior lights, rear heated screen timer, front wiper intermittent, central locking, airbag, reverse lamps, rear wiper, trip computer, etc. The cure is to realign the cylinder head temperature wiring and cable tie it to the engine.
Report in Autocar 10/4/2002 that USA NHTSA had received a number of reports of burns from airbag pyrotechnics ('Autocar'10-4-2002).
On late cars there have been instances where the power steering loses pressure when the driver suddenly turns the steering on to full lock. All power assistance may then be lost and the feeling is that the steering will not turn. Dealers will make a small modification to the power steering stops free of charge and the power steering will feels different on full turn.
Seems to be a common problem of failed injection pumps on 1.8CDTIs due to an electronic fault. Many traders are wary of Focus 1.8CDTIs as a result and will not take them in p/x unless the pump has been replaced.
How to programme a spare remote key: Program a new Ford PATS Key
Fuel level sensor in tank can play up and Ford dealers usually quote for whole lifter pump assembly to be replaced at £250.
Poor starting and hesitation of Focus petrol engines may be due to loss of pressure from the fuel rail, itself either due to a gasket failure or due to failure of the rail, which is expensive at over £400 fitted. Though another possibility is a cracked crankshaft breather pipe. Front disc and pad problem on American production Focuses has led to a class action against Ford in California. More at (American Link) FordFocusBrakeProblems.com
Focus speedometers dropping to zero can be due to a failure of the vehicle speed sensor (VSS) plugged into the final drive. A clean of the contacts can fix it but more usually it needs replacing at a cost of £100 - £150. The fault may affect other instruments and warning lights. The traction control warning light may come on along with the engine warning light. Indicated fuel economy might drop. Acceleration might be affected. Problem of all Focus models suddenly losing power may also be be due to the failure of the 'fly by wire' electronic throttle sensor. Or hydrocarbon build up in the throttle body.
Speedometer, fuel gauge and temp gauge, odeometer/tripometer all failing, plus various lights flickering on and off symptoms of dried out contacts in the panel circuit board necessitating a new instrument cluster at £376.
ST170s can suffer from prematurely rusted welds to their catalytic converters. One reader had a catalogue of problems with a Focus ST170: "Brakes have failed, engine cut out twice on the motorway, won't start, air-con would'nt turn off, hesitant at all speeds, noisy tappets, the list goes on".
Several reports of flywheel failure on 2.0 litre models and diesels. 'Dual mass flywheel' failures create iron filings which in turn accumulate on starter motor magnets, leading to disaster. Ford will sometimes contribute to the very high replacement costs of dual mass flywheels and clutches if the car has done less than 45,000 miles.
Fresh spate of reports of failures of both the electronics and the transmissions of 4-speed autos in autumn 2007.
Reports in 2007 of five year old Focus suffering steering rack failures.
New Focus from late 2004.