1999-2007 Ford Focus | Used Automobile Highlight

The 1999 Ford Focus was a little bit of an odd duck. Whereas it proudly wore an American producer’s badge and was assembled in Wayne, Michigan, for the U.S. market, it was primarily a product of Ford’s European arm, the place it wanted to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and different established compact staples.

This ostensibly American compact was additionally closely influenced by world arms of the then-larger Ford empire. Mazda performed a major function in improvement of the Duratec collection of four-cylinder engines that will energy later examples of the first-gen Focus and its engineers (together with Volvo’s) had a hand in bettering the Focus chassis for its second technology. That automobile was by no means bought within the U.S., however the platform underpinned each the first-generation Mazda3 and varied compact Volvos.

Why the Ford Focus?

It is a query some ask with a level of incredulity, and admittedly with some extent of validity.  At no level in its life did the Focus get pleasure from a sterling fame for reliability or sturdiness, however as with many guidelines, this one has exceptions. However earlier than we get to that, let’s speak about why you’d need one within the first place.

The Ford Focus supplied trendy engines, a compact unbiased rear suspension that supplied each distinctive dealing with and journey high quality proper up there with the Honda Civic, plus a dizzying array of type components with some further tips that made it surprisingly sensible. Straight out of the gate, the Focus was supplied in each three- and five-door hatchback fashions, a four-door sedan and a five-door wagon, and a coupe mannequin would come later. The Focus was designed with fold-flat rear seats (with forward-pivoting base cushions) that create an immense load area within the rear, particularly within the hatches and wagon.

Energy got here from a wide range of four-cylinders, with the headliner being the SVT hatchback’s 170-horsepower 2.0-liter (which was the one one paired to a six-speed guide). The SVT mannequin additionally received a handful of aesthetic and suspension upgrades, an elective European look bundle with Recaro seats, and a few cool, unique colours. Even in its most elementary type, although, the Focus was really fairly good to drive, plus the SVT-spec suspension bolted proper as much as most early fashions utilizing solely manufacturing facility parts, that means slightly further sportiness was only a couple hundred bucks and a pair hours of wrenching away.

The Focus marries these compact European touches to all the traditional benefits of proudly owning a mass-produced American automobile: It was low-cost and Ford bought a ton of them, so getting them serviced (and sourcing alternative components) is filth easy.

Which Ford Focus to decide on?

Let’s begin with the SVT Focus, which was the fanatic’s alternative. It was supplied in each the three- and five-door hatch fashions solely, and it was discontinued after 2004, which ought to slender your search. Remember that the six-speed transmission within the SVT fashions was not recognized for holding up effectively to energy modifications, so be cautious of super- or turbo-charged automobiles on the aftermarket. Even at inventory energy ranges, an abused gearbox may very well be on its final legs.

Stepping down from the SVT, we’d advocate a 2005-2006 mannequin with the five-speed guide (the four-speed auto works tremendous; it’s simply boring). These later automobiles got here with the Mazda-derived Duratec four-cylinder engines, which had been upgrades in each effectivity and sturdiness. 2006 was the final yr of out-of-the-box SVT suspension compatibility, although kits have been made to adapt it to later fashions (and physique types not supposed to just accept it, such because the wagon), however at that time, aftermarket might make simply as a lot sense, cost-wise.

A mid-cycle refresh was accomplished for 2005, so fashions constructed from that time on received a nicer inside with improved supplies, but it surely was additionally the start of the top for the variants with essentially the most fanatic attraction. The wagon and each hatchbacks would disappear earlier than the Focus received a considerable overhaul in 2008, technically marking the top of the first-gen automobile.

Availability and listings

There’s a first-gen Focus for almost each finances. Within the Midwest, a well-used and rusted instance may in all probability be had for a case of beer and a rifle journal, however count on to pay at the very least a pair thousand {dollars} for a straight, operating automobile. The SVT instructions a premium, and as unmolested examples rust, wreck and retire, demand continues to rise. Clear SVTs can command $10,000 (or extra) from the best purchaser.

Our used car listings might be useful to discover a whole lot close to you. Slim the choices down by a radius round your ZIP code, and take note of the deal ranking on every itemizing to see how a car compares with others in an identical space.

What else to think about

When you’re searching for an older compact, you’ve gotten tons of choices. For hatches, we’d advocate an early Mazda3 or fifth-generation Volkswagen Golf as a recent different. The older Mazda Protégé5 and seventh-generation Honda Civic Si hatchback will even do fairly properly, particularly if you would like an alternative choice to the peppy SVT. The Matrix was additionally supplied with a high-revving four-cylinder in case you favor Toyota reliability, however it’s going to come at a price.

When you’re in search of a sedan, that adjustments issues a bit. The Jetta’s fanatic attraction comes with the next worth and reliability no higher than any given Focus’ (or worse, particularly in case you’re a fourth-generation automobile with the 1.8-liter turbo). The Civic drives about as effectively, however will value fairly a bit extra; the Corolla of the time was fairly boring other than the XRS, and even then, the aforementioned Matrix is way extra attention-grabbing regardless of their equivalent underpinnings.

The fantastic thing about searching for an previous compact is that there are a lot to select from, and it actually comes right down to your wants and finances. 

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