Should I Buy a Used Ford Focus?

Should I Buy a Used Ford Focus?
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Long in the Tooth but Still a Bargain

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Vehicle Overview

Although Europe had been enjoying a new generation Focus since 2005, North America made due with the original model that made its debut on our shores in 2000. In 2008 an unofficial second generation Focus was introduced which wasn’t much more than a heavily updated edition of the original Focus.

The car gained a new interior, Ford’s SYNC infotainment software and the chassis was reinforced for better rigidity.  The wagon and hatchback body styles were dropped for 2008 and a new two-door coupe model was added, but dropped again for the final year (2011).

All 2008-2011 Focus models came powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine making 140 hp that could be paired to a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Coupes sold in 2009 and 2010 featured slight power increases up to 143 hp when the five-speed manual was equipped.

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Trims Packages

In 2008 the coupe and sedan came in S, SE and SES trim levels.  From 2009 and onwards the coupe dropped the entry level S trim and the sedan gained a new top of the line SEL trim.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy

  1. Ford-Focus-2008-2011-02.jpgAffordability – Great deals could be had on the 2008-2011 Focus as a new car and they’ve gotten even better for used car.  Compared to a similar year/mileage Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, the Focus lists for thousands less.
  2. Efficiency – When the 2.0-liter engine was refreshed for 2008, Ford bumped up the fuel efficiency slightly and the 2008-2011 Focus delivered better fuel economy than the first generation.
  3. Coupe Body Style – The Focus was one of very few compact coupes offered for sale during this time period. This made it popular with those who wanted a sportier looking compact sedan.

Top 3 Problem Areas

  1. Ford-Focus-2008-2011-09.jpgThe number one issue with the 2008-2011 Focus has to do with the vehicle losing power and entering limp mode. This has occurred at both freeway speeds and while the car is stopped.
  2. Another common problem has to do with the interior and exterior door latches. Owners have complained of latches and locks becoming inoperable for both front and rear doors.
  3. Other common complaints have to do with excessive tire wear and ignition switch issues that prevent the car from starting.

Before You Buy

If looking at a 2008 model, ensure the two recalls have been performed. Otherwise, check service records for any of the above issues. Check the interior and exterior handles on all the doors as well as the locks. Take the vehicle for a test drive that includes highway speeds to ensure the engine is not prone to entering into limp mode.

Finally, check the tires for excessive and/or uneven wear. Uneven tire wear may mean suspension components have worn out and needs replacing.

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Best Bang for Your Buck

The 2008 model had two recalls, while none of the other years have any. It’s best to avoid the first year model and stick with the 2009-2011 models, especially if it’s a coupe you’re after since the 2009-2010 coupes have a slight power bump. For those not needing the use of rear seats on a regular basis might want to check out the coupe model as it actually has a higher safety rating from both the IIHS and NHTSA.

Recall and Crash Test Database

2008 Ford Focus Sedan IIHS Crash Test Rating 2008 Ford Focus Coupe IIHS Crash Test Rating 2009 Ford Focus Sedan IIHS Crash Test Rating 2009 Ford Focus Coupe IIHS Crash Test Rating 2010 Ford Focus Sedan IIHS Crash Test Rating 2010 Ford Focus Coupe IIHS Crash Test Rating 2011 Ford Focus Sedan IIHS Crash Test Rating 2008 Ford Focus Sedan NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2008 Ford Focus Coupe NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2009 Ford Focus Sedan NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2009 Ford Focus Coupe NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2010 Ford Focus Sedan NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2010 Ford Focus Coupe NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2011 Ford Focus Sedan NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2008 Ford Focus NHTSA Recall Database 2009 Ford Focus NHTSA Recall Database 2010 Ford Focus NHTSA Recall Database 2011 Ford Focus NHTSA Recall Database

Looking for more information? Visit our Ford Focus Forum

GALLERY: 2008-2011 Ford Focus

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