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2000 Ford Focus Sedan

4dr Sdn ZTS

Starting at | Starting at 27 MPG City - 35 MPG Highway

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  • $15,260 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2000 Ford Focus Sedan

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2000 Ford Focus Sedan

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2000 Ford Focus

Source: New Car Test Drive

Thinking outside the (econo) box.

by John Matras

Base Price $11,960
As Tested $14,435

The Ford Focus is a ground-up re-evaluation of the subcompact. For years, the small car has been a shrunken version of the standard sedan. Ford studied the needs of passengers and designed the Focus from the inside out. Although you may have heard that song and dance before, there's more truth to it with the Focus.

Instead of figuring how to fit passengers within the conventional three-box sedan profile scaled down to compact proportions, Ford raised the roof for today's taller average heights the elevated the seating height for more effective legroom.

To accentuate this change in concept, Ford employed its New Edge styling (introduced on the Mercury Cougar), which combines arcs with crisp edges. As a result, the Ford Focus stands out from the crowd yet delivers good fuel economy.

Model Lineup

The Ford Focus comes in three body styles: three-door hatchback, four-door sedan and five-door wagon. Two four-cylinder engines are available with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.

The sedan comprises the bulk of Focus sales and is available in three trim levels, an entry level LX ($12,220), an upgrade SE ($13,565), and the fully-equipped ZTS ($15,165). Leather interior trim is only available for the ZTS ($695).

The wagon is available only in the SE trim level ($15,380) and offers the largest cargo capacity in its class.

Three-door hatchbacks in base-model stripper trim have in the past often been used to used to low-ball buyers into the showroom only to be switched into larger, more expensive and more profitable models. Ford has instead positioned its Focus hatchback as a sports model and named it the ZX3. (The model designation is derived from the Ford Escort ZX2 coupe.) Ford Focus ZX3 comes with such sporty accoutrements as 15-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights and a more powerful 130-horsepower twin-cam engine. ZX3 also offers sportier and even more distinctive styling than the Focus sedan. Only a limited number of options are available for the ZX3 ($11,960).

ZX3 comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options include side-impact air bags, anti-lock brakes and remote locking. Not available on the ZX3, however, are power windows, cruise control and the tilt/telescoping steering column offered on other Focus models. The only additional ZX3 options include floor mats, smoker's package (lighter and ashtray), and an engine block heater.

Walkaround

We drove the Focus ZX3 hatchback and it didn't take long to figure out that this is a car that is noticed. Its New Edge styling, with tidy creases that define intersecting arcs, looks simpler than it really is. Large pie-section headlamps give the front end a distinctive appearance. On the ZX3, they are joined by fog lamps in the grille opening below the bumper. There's a similar, but smaller opening above the bumper that houses the turn signals. Both are outlined by arcs. The front and rear fenders are highlighted with geometric curves creased into the sheetmetal. The roofline is highly arched, particularly noticeable when parked next to another car. The roofline is truncated just aft of the rear axle line. Wedge-shaped tail lamps set in the C-pillars enliven an otherwise plain rear end. Ford claims the tail lamps are more noticeable in that location and reduce repair costs in minor accidents. However, the sedan and wagon have conventionally placed tail lamps, so we'll accept the unique shape and location as distinctive and effective styling.

Lower bodyside PVC coating provides protection from stone dings on all models, and the underbody gets PVC coating as well. Clearcoat paint is standard across the board. The ZX3 and LX have black rather than body-color bodyside protective molding, but this is offset on the ZX3 by black rocker panels. The door handles on all models are black as well. The door handles on black cars blends in, but black also masks the distinctive lines of the Focus that are accentuated by the brighter colors.

Interior Features

If you like the Focus outside, you'll love it inside. The New Edge styling extends to the interior. The dash is a collection of arcs, the instrument panel covered by an asymmetrically curved and sharply creased bezel. A 7000-rpm tachometer flanks a 140-mph speedometer in the ZX3. Both instruments are round and easily readable, clearly marked with white numerals on black, though the tach has no redline. The fuel gauge has a small arrow pointing to the right, denoting on which side the filler is located, appreciated by those of us who drive a number of cars, have bad memories or both.

The center dash panel is formed by an arc that sweeps upward across the dash to the right side of the car and an inverted parabola. The radio fits into the top of this area and includes a single-disc CD player. Part of the controls can be taken with you to discourage theft. Snuggled in to the left is the cigarette lighter/ash tray. Circular ventilation controls, less frequently accessed, fit below the radio and are styled in the New Edge theme, with buttons styled to fit the room available. The trunk release, on the left end of the dash, is triangular as well, shaped to fit into the intersection of the arcs outlining the instrument panel.

The overall asymmetry lends an informal air to the interior, but the feel of the interior is rich. The control knobs all have distinctive shapes for easy identification; rotary controls are rubberized for pleasing soft-touch operation. The steering wheel on the ZX3 is leather-covered and satisfying to touch. Even the plastics used on the dash and door panels have a finger-friendly soft-touch feel.

The seats are comfortable with an exceptionally high hip point, 20 inches above the ground. The advantages of this seating include a better view down the road, plus more effective leg room front and rear, and it takes advantage of the Focus' roofline with headroom for the long and tall. It also makes entry and exit easier. The manual height adjustment on the ZX3 allows almost everyone to find a comfortable position behind the wheel and an easy arm's length away from the manual shifter.

The back seat of the ZX3 is best accessed by the young and agile, but both front seats do slide forward. Once back there, however, rear seat riders have lots of legroom, thanks to widely spaced runners under the front seats, plus adult-sized head and shoulder room. Versatility of the hatchback design is lost on most Americans, who prefer the more formal sedan profile with its conventional trunk, but this design is hugely popular among Europeans for its practicality. Fold the back seat of the ZX3 and there's 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space and a big door for access.

Driving Impressions

Like an eager puppy, the Focus ZX3 begs to go for a ride and you're just as happy to comply.

The 2.0-liter 16-valve double overhead-cam four-cylinder engine starts instantly and rewards drivers with an almost imperceptible idle, it's so smooth and quiet. Clutch take-up is good and easy to modulate. Shifting into first gear reveals a rubbery feel to the linkage of the long-shafted shifter. It feels like a Saab shifter; it's precise but not inviting. The 130-horsepower engine answers a heavy foot with surprisingly rapid acceleration, a benefit of a lightweight car with well-developed torque characteristics. Fully 80 percent of the engine's maximum torque is available from idle to 6000 rpm; peak torque of 135 foot-pounds comes at 4500 rpm. Making the ZX3 even more satisfying to drive is Ford's excellent control of noise, vibration and harshness in this engine. Forget the usual inexpensive four-cylinder harshness; this puppy loves to run and doesn't complain about visiting the upper reaches of the tachometer.

If the ZX3 doesn't accelerate like an economy car, it doesn't turn like one either. Response through the rack-and-pinion steering is quick and precise, and feedback is excellent. The car feels like it is leaning in corners more than it actually is because the driver is sitting higher in the saddle. We'd like to trade the 70-series tires that come on the ZX3 hatchback for the 60-series tires that come on the ZTS sedan.

The ZX3 cruises easily on the Interstate. The engine is quiet and wind noise is subdued. Ordinary roads feel smooth, while well-maintained superhighways feel velvety. Cruise control would be a welcome feature.

Final Word

The Ford Focus breaks new ground in economy car design. The ZX3 hatchback proves the economical and practical can also be sporty and fun.

Overall, the Focus shows that Ford has done some thinking outside the box. In doing so, Ford has created an inexpensive car that is desirable as well as practical.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2000 Ford Focus Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2000 Ford Focus Sedan

Ford Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. See dealer for details.. See dealer for details. Rental Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer / less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2000 Ford Focus Sedan

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