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Drive Life : December 10th 2010
1HERSA1 F020 $31,990 driveaway* ST MANUAL NED2411/SMH/F Visit nissanoffers.com.au Metallic paint $495 extra. *Private and Business Fleet buyers only. This is the maximum recommended driveaway price including 12 months registration, 12 months CTP, other applicable statutory charges, and dealer delivery. Prices will vary from dealer to dealer. Model shown with optional roof racks. nissanoffers.com.au All Nissan vehicles come with 3 year / 100,000km warranty and 3 year 24 hour roadside assistance. Nissan reserves the right to withdraw, vary or extend any offer. Artarmon Mildren Nissan 9413 3355 Blacktown Lander Nissan 8822 4477 Brookvale Col Crawford Nissan 9941 1200 Burwood Steve Jar vin Nissan 9701 0001 Campbelltown Macarthur Nissan 4625 8344 Gosford Central Coast Nissan 4323 7700 Liverpool Liverpool Nissan 9601 5777 Parramatta Parramatta Nissan 9912 2020 Penrith Penrith Nissan 4724 5555 Rockdale Rockdale Nissan 9597 2200 Ryde Ryde Nissan 9850 1288 Sutherland McGrath Nissan 9545 7366 Sydney Sydney City Nissan 9398 7666 Waitara Hornsby Nissan 9473 7111 Warrawong Warrawong Nissan 4274 0685 Wyong Wyong Nissan 4352 1044 20 Friday, December 10, 2010 The Sydney Morning Herald DriveLIFE used J FORD FOCUS 2002-05 Here's one of the best cars that never sold up a storm, writes David Morley. NUTS AND BOLTS ENGINES 1.8-litre 4-cyl/2.0-litre 4-cyl TRANSMISSIONS 5-sp man/ 4-sp auto FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway) 8.0/5.2L/100km (1.8L) 9.0/5.6 (2.0L) SAFETY RATING (howsafeisyourcar.com.au) LIKES Styling distances the Focus from rivals. Looks better than newer version. Supple ride and decent handling makes it easy to live with every day. Hatchback body (particularly five- door) is roomy and practical. Great value at the moment. Well-equipped upper-spec models. DISLIKES Sedan looks weird. Luckily, most out there are hatches. Base-model engine lacks real oomph and needs to be worked hard to perform. Interior plastics better than some Euros but behind the best from Japan. Auto gearbox option spoils the car. No anti-lock brakes or second airbag fitted as standard on base model. NEED TO KNOW Make sure all electrical systems work on upmarket Ghia model. Check all the buttons do what they should. Don't buy a high-mileage car or one without a full service history. Shopping-centre dings and scratches are the biggest body worry. Also check for flaky paint on bumpers. Shuddering under brakes means new front rotors are needed. Ford's performance in the small hatchback market has been a real roller-coaster ride. From the heady days of the early 1980s, when just about every hatchback bought was a Ford Laser, the company has seen its share slide as newer and better alternatives from other makers have emerged. The downward spiral was so sharp that when Ford replaced the last Laser in 2002, it even dumped the Laser badge. In its place went the Focus tag. Built in Europe (the last Lasers had been Japanese-made with lots of Mazda technology), the Focus was a whole new ball game for Ford and hatch buyers in Australia. Holden had started to pave the way with its European-designed Barina and Astra (which were rebadged Opels) so the Focus was eagerly anticipated when it landed. Unfortunately, that anticipation didn't translate to huge sales volumes and the original Focus remains one of the best cars of its time not to sell up a storm. Inside, the plastics weren't up to the standard of a Japanese-made hatchback and the unrelenting grey trim was a bit of a put-off for younger buyers who would have otherwise been attracted to the Ford. The engines weren't exactly a highlight and if you want a remotely zippy-feeling Focus, you'll need to find a Zetec version, which used a 96kW 2.0-litre engine for a bit more punch. The upmarket Ghia version used a 2.0-litre with 85kW, while the LX mid-ranger and CL entry- level cars both used 1.8-litre motors with the same 85kW of peak power. The Ghia aside (it was automatic only), the best Focus is one with the five-speed manual gearbox. The Focus's trump card was its chassis. It steered accurately, cornered relatively flat yet still managed to ride comfortably and with a sure-footed feel. Of all its contemporaries, the Focus was the pick in terms of dynamics. And if you could live with a manual gearbox, then the performance was tolerable, too. The version to find now is clearly the Zetec model. It's more expensive than the others but not by much as depreciation has kicked a huge hole in retained values. Being a pricier car when new also meant the Zetec got a decent level of safety gear, including dual front airbags and, crucially, anti- lock brakes. The Ghia was fitted with the same safety package and added side airbags, while the LX ran the same gear as the Zetec. The loser, then, was the base- model CL, which missed out on a passenger's airbag and any form of clever braking, including anti-lock. Quality can be an issue. The first thing to check is the quality of the paint finish on the entire car, with particular attention paid to the plastic bits and pieces such as the front and rear bumpers. Some cars had flaking and peeling paint in these areas and while most would have been fixed under warranty, it's definitely worth checking in strong sunlight. Inside, check all the electrical components work as they should, including the power windows on those models fitted with them. Give the brakes a good shove when it's safe to do so and feel for any vibration or pulsing through the pedal or the steering wheel. Like a lot of European cars, the Spanish-built Focus was fitted with pretty soft brake pads and rotors, which offer good stopping abilities but also need replacing sooner than some of the competition. Any shuddering or pulsing suggests the rotors are worn out and will probably need replacing. The best thing about the Focus now, of course, is that the lack of buyer interest when it was new has made it a used car of great value. Prices have dropped further and faster than they should have and that means it's a great buy right now.
December 3rd 2010
December 17th 2010