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Old 04-20-2008, 11:58 PM   #1
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Default Which car?

I am saving up for a used 2003 or so model car. I was going to get the '03 Ford Zx2, but started looking at the Focus Zx3 and kinda like it too... I can basically only get one of these 2 cars since my dad was a Ford mechanic, so if something goes wrong with it, he may know what to do rather than me getting a Toyota or Honda and he wouldn't know much about it...

I basically started liking the Zx2 since I had first been looking at getting an Escort for my first car, but ended up with a Tempo. Well, then I started looking around and know the Zx2 was basically the sport version of the Escort, so I was looking at '00 models as a possible second car. Then I saw the '03 Zx2. It's got a new front end design from any of the previous ones, and it's the last year they made a Zx2. I stared looking at average pricing and it was about what I would have in a couple months. It's a nice little car that's good on gas, which is what I need. The othe rgood thing about the '03 over the older ones is that it comes with a decent looking set of rims, where the previous ones just had hubcaps that were stupid looking


Then I started looking at Focus Zx3's more recently. I'm not entirely as fond of the front end of the Focus as I am of the Zx2, but there is stuff I like about the Focus that I'm not too fond of in the Zx2. To name one thing would be the interior, more specifically, the dashboard. The Zx2 has the same dash design as the old '96-'99 Taurus and Sable, it's got a weird curvy look that's not that great looking. The Focus' looks better. Plus the Focus comes standard with some stuff that the Zx2 just has an option of.

Focus Zx3:

As I said, I can only get one of these 2. Bad thing about the Focus is it's going to cost me more for a an '03 model, but they are also probably easier to find...

I won't be upgrading the car in anyway. I don't know a whole bunch about cars, and don't have the money. I'm fine with all stock. It's not for being flashy anyway, just to commute in something a lot nicer and more reliable than my ugly Tempo.

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Which car?

I vote for the Zx2 looks nicer.

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Which car?

I vote Focus ZX3.

What are you looking for in a car?
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Which car?

between those two cars, which ever one's cheaper.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Which car?

Oh, This is easy....Which one gets better gas mileage?
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Which car?

Zx3 cuz i hate the look of the back on the Zx2's
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Which car?

I don't really know which gets better gas mileage. I think they get about the same... I did a search, but couldn't find out anything definite about the gas mileage.

What I'm looking for is what both of these have, just a small car with good MPG that looks nice and can get me where I need to. Having a remote entry and CD player would be nice, but I can live with regular locks and a tape player if I have to. It has to be an auto transmission, I can't drive standard good enough, so I won't try.

Yeah, I'm not big on the look of the rear of the Zx2, but it looks better with the "spoiler" that comes standard on all '03 models. Previous models it was an option and it looked retarded without it. I like hatchbacks, but don't mind a trunk.

I'm kinda leaning towards the Zx2 still more, mainly because of price, it will most likely be found cheaper. The problem is that there aren't as many Zx2's as there are Zx3's. But then since that's the case, there's less out on the roads so I will have a car that's not a car you always see.

If they could kinda combine both of these I think I could be content.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Which car?

Defiantly the focus it looks better and I would trust it more. The other one doesn't look that great.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Which car?

Originally Posted by Dark Night View Post
Defiantly the focus it looks better and I would trust it more. The other one doesn't look that great.
Only bad review on the Zx2 I have heard of is that there's more wind noise than a normal car. It's probably due to the fact that there's nothing around the windows, it's just a bare window on the door. I wouldn't really mind it since I drive with my windows down a lot anyway.

Here's an example, look at the door window:

I have heard stuff bad about the Focus, however I think it's just the Focus wagon, and no other models, but it is said to wear down tires fast and has bad traction. I haven't gotten any more extensive on reading reviews than that yet though.
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Which car?

Wow this thread was made for me. Those cars are basically identical except body work and a few other things.

What kind of transmissions do they have? First thing first, I would go for whichever has a manual. The autos break down a lot. Granted, they are easy to fix, but you should pretty much count on spending around $500 down the road if you get an auto. The 4F27E auto is very weak, especially with upgrades, which I know you don't plan on doing. The MTX-75 is a much more stout transmission and will take up to around 200whp all day.

They both (should) have the same engine, the 16v 2.0 Zetec. It puts out 130 hp 130 ft lbs at the crank. The ZX2 is a little faster because I believe it is a tad lighter, but it is mostly because of the 4.10 final drive.

Now there's a small possibility the Focus will have a 2.3 Duratec PZEV engine. If it does, get on that like white on a ghost. It's rare and the Duratec is far superior to the Zetec. On top of that, you have the new generation motor without the ugly of the 2nd and 3rd gen Focus exterior. You can check easily, the Zetec is black and says 16v Zetec on top. The Duratec is silver and doesn't have a name on it. Also the intake and exhaust sides are swapped around from a Zetec which is more efficient. Intake is in front so it won't get hot.

If you ever want rims, they use the same ones and they are difficult to find compared to, say, a Honda Civic. It uses a 4x108mm bolt pattern and offset has to be between like 42mm-56mm. Not a good wheel selection, but if you look you can get lucky like me and find a relatively cheap set of BBS that look awesome. lol

I can personally vouch for these things which all contribute to how much the Focus kicks @$$!

Trunk space is unbelievable. You can lay the rear seats down and carry as much as a minivan. I carried basically my whole room minus a bed to Auburn and had room to spare. This includes a massive amplifier and a guitar, my gaming PC, router, 360, tons of clothes, massive new comforter, several sheets, 4 pillows, etc.

Handling isn't great but the responsiveness makes it feel that way. I'm not sure if the ZX3 shares the same chassis with the ZX2, but the ZX3 does have a ton of driver feedback which contributes to control. Drive both cars and see which one you like best.

The ZX3 is a dream to work on. I've done several upgrades and have unfortunately had several things break. It comes with the territory when you buy a 10k car. But I do all my maintenance myself, and honestly it's not much more than another average car. I have done transmission work and engine work and it's all pretty easy. Engine bay is a little cramped but if you know the tricks it's pretty much a breeze to get to everything except the oil filter... still a learning experience every time with that one. I've also done brakes. Again, easy. Parts are pretty cheap, and you can get better aftermarket ones cheaper than OEM usually.

That's all I can think of to tell you right now. They will both be fun, just pick the one that speaks to you. If you get the Focus you need to join the forum I'm on. Actually, I just remembered that my favorite thing about the Focus is the community. Hop over to http://www.focusfanatics.com and give it a browse and you will see what I mean.

Good luck with your car hunt.

Here's an edit with some more info based on what you just posted:
The Focus has a lot of road noise too. It's a cheap econo car and has very little insulation. You can fix that if you really want to with some stuff called Dynamat.

Traction on the Focus sucks with stock tires. You'll want to change them to BF Goodrich G-Force Sports or Nitto Neogens, as those are the best bang-for-the-buck streetable sport tires I know of. You might get like 30K miles out of a set for either of those. Don't think you'll ever need winter tires based on your location, so you can just use summer tires all year.

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