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Used car review Ford Focus 2005-2007

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    While the Focus was designed in Europe, those coming to Australia were built in South Africa and the build quality was variable.

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Ford Focus 2005-2007: its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when buying it.

It wasn't so long ago Ford that ruled the small car roost with its Laser perched atop the sales charts ahead of popular cars like the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Pulsar and the Mazda 323.

In more recent times the company has lost its way when it comes to small cars, preferring to focus on the larger Falcon and Territory. Along the way small Fords have dropped off the shopping lists of most small car buyers.  That's changed with the introduction of fresh new European-designed models like the Focus and Fiesta, but it's been a long, hard slog back.

The first Ford Focus got lost in the frenzy of the BA Falcon launch, which was a do-or-die model that could easily have spelt the end of the local Ford operation had it failed.  It took a new Focus model to get any attention, but Ford gritted its teeth and did the sort of promotion necessary to kick-start showroom traffic.

The new Focus launched in 2005 delivered European driving dynamics in a sophisticated, but still value-for-money package.


The LS Focus was a more rounded car than the first model Ford unveiled here in 2002.  That first model, the LR, was acclaimed for its sportiness, but the LS won more plaudits for its sophisticated feel, roominess and improved interior.

There were two body versions, a five-door hatch and a four-door sedan, with two levels of trim, the CL and LX, in each. In addition there was a sporty Zetec hatch and a luxury Ghia sedan.

Ford's designers moved away from the soft rounded forms that characterized the previous Focus, and gave the LS a sharper, more chiseled look.  The body was wider, the wheelbase longer, and overall the LS Focus was a little stiffer.

One engine was offered across the LS range, it was a 2.0-litre that generated 107 kW at 6000 revs and 185 Nm at 4500 revs at its performance peaks.  A five-speed manual gearbox was standard on all models except the Ghia that had a four-speed auto, but the auto was optional on the other models.

The CL range-starter had air-conditioning and dual front airbags, but not ABS anti-lock brakes, they came part of an extra-cost safety pack along with side airbags.

For a more geared ride there was the LX that had cruise, alloys, ABS brakes and side airbags.  The sporty Zetec hatch had all of that, plus 17-inch alloys, a groovy body kit and sports suspension.  If you wanted a smoother ride there was the Ghia sedan, which boasted dual climate-controlled air, six-CD sound, and leather seats.


For a CL pay $13,500-$15,000, add $2000 for the safer LX in either sedan or hatch form.  The Zetec hatch and Ghia sedan can each be had for $18,000-$20,000.


Owners are generally happy with the reliability of their cars, which on average have now done around 75,000 km. There are no general faults that are showing up on a regular basis. They should be aware of brake wear, as they should on all European-designed cars.

It’s worth paying close attention to the build quality of cars under consideration. While the Focus was designed in Europe, those coming to Australia were built in South Africa and the build quality was variable.

Check paint quality, panel gaps and general fit and finish. Also check for a service record that shows regular maintenance has been carried out.  It’s worth noting that the LS Focus has a timing chain, not a belt, and doesn’t need any maintenance until you’ve racked up 240,000 km.


Slide behind the wheel of the LS and you are instantly aware of the extra cabin space, it's wider in the front and anyone sitting in the rear would notice the extra legroom.

Look around you and you would have seen the new dash that was much better laid-out with controls placed more logically and within easier reach of the driver.  On the downside the plastics were rather hard and had an industrial feel.  The seats were also flat and could be unsupportive, particularly when driven hard.

The 2.0-litre engine was responsive and the throttle was very light, and needed careful application to avoid unintentionally exceeding the speed limit in a moment of inattention.


A stiffer body on an agile, responsive chassis platform is a fine beginning for a safe package; add front and side airbags and it became even better.  Front and side airbags, and ABS braking, were all standard on all models except the CL. They were added to the CL in 2008.  ANCAP rated the Focus at four stars, five with side airbags.


Road testers at the time of launch were generally positive about the fuel-economy of the Focus, the average reported at 8.7-9.2 L/100 km.  A more recent drive of a Zetec hatch had the better return of 7.1 L/ 100 km in average driving around town.


Tim Bainbridge has done 45,000 km since buying his 2006 CL Focus and says it's a great car. His only beef is that the air-conditioning struggles on very hot days.

Jayden Gebbie has racked up 105,000 km in his 2006 Focus, and apart from an oil burning issue in the first 10-15,000 km there have been no other faults. His criticisms are of the level of road noise, the flat and hard seats and the lack of a light in the rear of the cabin.

Lee James is generally happy with his 2007 LX hatch, which was bought for its extra safety features. He likes the handling, the nippy performance around town, the interior roominess and boot space, fuel economy, cost of servicing and its value-for-money, but he's not so enamored with the paint quality, the hard plastics on the interior, and some areas where he believes Ford skimped on material, and the spacer-saver spare wheel. He's also unimpressed at having to replace the water pump at 30,000 km.


. Modern looks
. Roomy cabin
. Torquey engine
. Comfy ride
. good level of safety


. VW JETTA - 2006-2007

Widely acclaimed for its style, comfort, performance and fuel- efficiency the Golf-with-a boot has carved out quite a niche for itself. Rates highly in almost all areas, from build quality to safety, practicality, roominess and comfort, performance and handling. Choice of petrol and diesel engines. Servicing costs tend to be higher than others in the same class, and can suffer annoying reliability problems. Pay $21,000-$27,000.

. MAZDA3 - 2004-2008

Attractive, well-built small sedan or hatch with great on-road manners. Good choice of family-oriented models and sportier cars, the Mazda3 is a premium model in the small to medium class, falls down a little in value-for-money terms and isn't the most economical in the class. Pay $13,500-$24,000.

. HYUNDAI ELANTRA - 2003-2007

Well-built, comfortable, spacious, with a long list of standard features, the Hyundai Elantra was good value-for-money with low running and service costs. On the downside the chassis felt vague and unresponsive, the engine lacking in torque. Pay $9500-$18,000.


. Safe, sound, solid package that rides, handles and goes well and has room for a small family.




Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 18 comments

  • HI ,Jonathan I have recently same issue as you mentioned in your history, my car same model LS LX 2005 with 77000 km approx., Have you or Did you fix the issue or find what cause this problem ?, I really appreciate your advise Thanks of Alice Springs Posted on 15 September 2013 11:03pm
  • 2006 Ford Focus Zetec, Automatic. Owned since 2007 from 6000K's. Just clocked up 255,000Km. Overall just ok, replaced water pump, radiator, battery, front rotors, CV boots, drive belts, TPS replaced, Vacuum hose replaced, few other bits and pieces over the years. If the thermostat plays up, this will also affect the operation of the auto transmission. Engine serviced every 20,000K's and i've only had the auto serviced twice, still going like new. I've learned an expensive lesson, stay away from backyard mechanics. Until taking it back to Ford, cars like new again. Ford certainly do know how to charge!!! I use iridium spark plugs. I have the wheel alignment & wheel rotation done twice a year to max the life out of the tyres. I use Bridgestone Adrenalins, quiet & responsive. I keep the paint in top condition by using Turtle Ice Wax, it's a synthetic wax but bloody awesome. I agree with an earlier posts, seats not very supportive, no interior light for back seat passengers, annoying buzzer if you haven't clicked seat belt when ignition on.

    Colin Boag of Auckland, New Zealand Posted on 23 July 2013 9:01pm
  • Got a 2006 Zetec that has only done 66,000 Kim's and just done main bearings. This was our second one and first had done 130k and no problems. This one is MAJOR though. Not happy

    Danny of Qld Posted on 12 June 2013 9:02pm
  • I have a ford focus 2007 LS LX with too many problems. The car has cut out and the steering locked whilst I was driving! On occasion the car will not start or lock, and have had "power steering failure", "ABS failure" and "Engine System Failure", all whilst driving. NOT SAFE

    Jonathan Posted on 03 June 2013 12:39pm
  • 2007 LX Sedan love it, not many problems 50 000 kms so far had to replace brakes and i found it a nicer touch to replace the stereo and suspension. i didn't like the hard plastic nor the seats but you can get upgrades which i am currently looking into paint was good tint is a must.

    dylan russell of perth wa Posted on 29 January 2013 12:10am
  • Bought a 2007 Ford Focus Zetec sedan with 34t kms on the clock. I'm generally satisfied with the performance but they are a bit thirsty on the fuel compared to my Toyota Rukus. 11.2L/100kms vs 10.3L/100kms using the same route from home to work for a week.

    JV of Sydney, Australia Posted on 14 November 2012 2:04pm
  • Can anone give me some idea of the cost of replacing a water pump. The symptoms that something was wrong was not being able to steer. So the RACQ guy said. Are there other symptons?

    Karolina of Brisbane Posted on 14 July 2012 4:51pm
  • Draining coolant to flush system where is draining point?

    brett armstrong of point cook Posted on 19 January 2012 2:42pm
  • I have a 2004 Ford Focus that had problem with gearbox had to send gearbox back to Ford to fix the problem $1700 or $3000 for a new box with no guarantee as they say every car has an achllies heal and the gearbox is this one.

    ray of epping Posted on 25 November 2011 1:38am
  • Just bought a LX 2007 from a ford dealership with 42000klm.The water pump has not been replaced yet,but wish me luck. A good car overall and has great boot space,very responsive. The RAA said the belt needs to be changed at 180000klm. Who is correct?

    Frank Notarangelo of Adelaide. SA Posted on 11 June 2011 11:23pm
  • Hi all, Has the ford focus got a timing belt or chain. My focus is getting around 10 to 12 lt per 100km. It seems to much fuel. Could some one please tell me what is right. Thanks

    Tony Interligi of Melbourne Posted on 16 May 2011 11:51am
  • Water-pump bearing failure at 25,800 kms, on the 2007 Ford Focus, bought from new, serviced regularly. Incidentally, pump-failure was soon after the vehicle was serviced by Bayfords, when the coolant was changed. I wonder if the fact that ccolant was changed had anything to do with it (i.e. air-bubble?). Otherwise, quite zippy and daughter loves driving it.

    Gabe of Reservoir Posted on 05 May 2011 7:18pm
  • I have owned a 2006 Ford Focus zetec now for 3 years as i bought it second hand with 30000klm on it. I really enjoy driving this car for its smooth ride, responsive throttle, the gearbox ratios are good, sporty feel and its good looks. The only issue i ever had with the car was at about 50000klm it started idling funny but after taking it back to the dealership they cleaned out the idol control valve and have never had any issues since. When i was looking at cars i was deciding between the Mazda 3 sp23 focus zetec and Mitsubishi lancer vrx. I was prepared to buy a Mazda 3 as the interior is much more modern then the other two rivals and matches the focus in all other ways but the Mazda 3's were a couple thousand more. One advantage of the focus over the Mazda as you have to service the Mazda every 10000klm where the ford is 15000klm and has a timing chain over a belt which on the Mazda and lancer must be replaced at 100000klm which can be expensive. The lancer is a not in the same league as either car and you can tell from your first test drive. My experience with the focus has been a happy one so far and its nearing the 105000klm service which has been quoted at 290 from ford.

    Justin of Sydney Posted on 21 February 2011 11:29am
  • 2007 focus has only done 71000 kms, with no warning at all rods have failed and blown out motor, motor requires replacemant, no warranty very sad

    johan zwolak of qld australia Posted on 31 January 2011 2:31pm
  • Jamie Have You Gone to Test Out a Mazda 3 or Nissan Tiida or Toyota Corolla to see how much better the Japanese Offerings are compared to Your Focus.I almost bought the Ford back in 2006 But a Drive of the Nissan coupled with a promotion of free alloy wheels power pack and upgraded seat trim sealed the deal for me when it came time to trade in my old 2002 Mazda Astina.I have always driven Japanese Cars and find them a lot less troublesome than anything else

    Franz Chong of SA Posted on 07 May 2010 1:34am
  • Done 47,000klm in my Focus. Here is my analysis: Good Points: - Engine/Gearbox combo - Fuel efficiency - Rear leg room - 15,000 klm service intervals - Easy to service - Paint work - Rear seats fold down completely - Good turning circle Bad Points: - Body stiffness could be better - Only one rear reverse light. Get tired of everyone telling me only one reverse light is working - Software errors and gremlins. - Dirt gets stuck under every nook and cranny of the bodywork - Brakes wore out after 45,000 klm - Cup holder is not waterproof due to retaining screw - A noisy car especially on the highway. - Seats are not comfortable for long drives - Indicator comes on for a few seconds at the slightest bump of the lever - Car sometimes has trouble starting up when the clutch is used when starting - Front wheels need constant cleaning - Cruise control buttons are not lit - Torx screws and cheap plastic pop in connectors used as well Warranty Issues: - Air conditioning compressor replaced at 3000 klm - Water Pump replaced at 5000 klm Conclusion: Despite the bad points, I am prepared to live with them, as it is an excellent city car. Zippy, fuel efficient, with plenty of space.

    Emilio Rodriguez of Sydney, NSW Posted on 27 April 2010 4:11pm
  • Yes i agree i have an 06 zetec only done 60'000 ks i have had it back to fords a few times with water pump problems and a very noisy gearbox they said it was just rollover noise and it was very common in the focus. But the noise was getting worse so i took it back and they agreed that it was a bit more noisy than it should be so they agreed to take the box out and put new bearings in it.After i got it back it was fine for about a week or two but the noise has come back so i think it is time to get something new. so no thanks no more focuses for me.

    Jamie Alnes of Craigieburn victoria Posted on 03 March 2010 9:52pm
  • Sure, the Focus is a great driving package - or at least it is in LX form. In CL form it is less convincing. But in both cases you're getting a car with build quality that truly is variable - it varies from barely acceptable to woeful. I had 2 Focuses - an 07 LS LX hatch, which had poor paint and quite bad panel fitment. It had some weird suspension noises but they never developed into an actual problem (for me at least - not sure about the current owner). It drove OK though, and it was that that persuaded me to buy another one - an LT CL. This one was much better built, with acceptable panel gaps but the paint was still mediocre. Initially it seemed OK but soon degenerated into a noisy nightmare that I bailed out of after 4 months. The Focus isn't bad - my experiences aside - but frankly there are much better cars out there for the money.

    John of NSW Posted on 01 March 2010 2:26pm
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