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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, let me say that I come from a family of car nuts/engineers. I have been fooling around with cars ever since I was a wee tad, and I am now a member of the Geezer Generation. I was a Charter Member of the National Hot Rod Association. I have owned just about every kind of car from BMW's and Porsches, Cadillacs and Lincolns, to Hondas and Toyotas, and whathaveyou in between.<P>My 2001 Volvo V70 T5 is my 70th automobile. After spending some amount of time crawling around, under, over, and through it, I am prepared to make the following statements:<P> * It is the most thoroughly engineered vehicle that I have ever owned.<P> * The fit and finish is the best that I have ever observed on any vehicle.<BR> ( my vehicle was assembled in Ghent, Belgium ).<BR> * The quality of materials, inside and out are excellent.<P>Now, if I can just get a few niggling little problems worked out, I will have a superb automobile.<P>Notwithstanding all the above, I have a further report to offer:<P>Since Ford and Volvo are now all part of one big, happy family ( the Ford Focus and the Volvo V70 officially kissin' cousins, so to speak ) I thought that it would be acceptable to discuss the following on this website.<P>Recently, my family was in the market for a new economy car, a budgetary consideration of out the door for under $15,000.<P>We were fortunate to locate a Ford Focus sedan with the "Street" package. I know, what is a "Street" package? It consists of the following:<P> + 205/50-16 H-rated tires on alloy wheels.<BR> + European High Line instrument cluster.<BR> + 6 Disc in-dash CD player.<BR> + European suspension, including sport dampers, springs, swaybars, etc.<BR> + Polished SS exhaust tip.<BR> + Sport seats.<BR> + Black lower body cladding, including chin spoiler, lower body sill moldings, and rear bumper lower molding. Very similar in appearance to the V70. The Focus ordinarily looks a bit, shall we say, strange? but this totally transforms the appearance.<P>Of course, also included are the requisite leather steering wheel, foglights, tilt/telescopic steering, 16V DOHC engine, etc.<P>Out the door, including all taxes, title, etc. for under $15,000.<P>When we first got it, we thought that we had bought a good reliable economy car. We have been pleasantly surprised to discover that we had bought one of the better handling production cars in the world, and one very high on the "Fun to Drive" scale. I'll pause here for a moment, and wait for some of you to stop laughing...<P>OK, let me explain: When the 2000 Focus sedan was tested by Motor Trend ( on 195/60-15 T-rated tires ) it went through their handling slalom faster than a '95 Corvette ZR-1.<P>Looking at R&T Road Test Summary, one finds that the 2000 Focus outhandles every Volvo tested, including the 2001 S60 T5 on 17" Pirellis; every VW; all MB except the E55, BMW M Coupe, Z8, and 540i; all Jaguars; '98 Porsche 911 Carrera; and a host of others, even a couple of Ferraris - you get the picture.<P>And here are a few things to chuckle about concerning the Focus:<P> + All doors lock automatically at 3 MPH. Every time I hear them lock, I wonder how the Think-Tank in Gothenborg is coming with this software development project, and how much they're going to charge to install it.<BR> + You can unlock the driver door, passenger door, or trunk using the key or the remote.<BR> + Wheel lug nuts are clad with SS.<BR> + Wheel center caps are polished SS.<BR> + The instrument panel icon for cruise tells you when the system is engaged, <BR> not when it is turned on, as in the Volvo.<BR> + The icon for low fuel is big enough and bright enough to catch your attention.<BR> + The sitting position and the overall feel at the wheel is more sporting than the V70.<BR> + Front & rear mudflaps immediately available.<BR> + Factory Service Manual and Wiring Diagrams immediately available.<P>Now, please don't take me wrong. In spite of all this praise of the Focus, it does not diminish in any way the fact that the 2001 V70 T5 is IMHO the best at what it is: A solid, safe family wagon with good all-around traits, and blazing straight line performance, with power to spare when needed.<P>Anyway, I don my nomex suit and helmet, so flame away, if this thou so desireth...<P> <P>
 

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Yeah,<P>I was looking at the Focus wagon when deciding on the XC, when my strategy was to get two cars instead of the one. Instead we opted for the XC, and probably a Jetta/S40 or something in 2002.<P>Ford's done a great job of improving their 'economy' class with that car. <P>Also, notice the Focus' fuel economy? Almost 50% less than my XC!!
 

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Roger, I think your comments about the Focus raises another interesting issue: as economy cars get more and more features, it is going to be difficult for the "luxury" car makers to come up with designs and exclusive options to justify the huge price differentials and profit margins.
 

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Yes, that's a very interesting point. Cars like the Focus, and moreso the Volkswagen Golf/Jetta lineup are getting much better. I think this can only be good news as the high end cars have to add more to stay ahead.
 

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Roger,<P>Funny thing that you mentioned the "Street Edition" Focus, because I drove one of those about 4 weeks ago. I wanted to find out what all the "hoopla" was about concerning the Focus.<P>I was pleasantly surprised. I really like the way that the "Street Edition" looked in red. I felt that the suspension system was actually better than the Mazda Protege, another car that I like. Last week I had a chance to drive a Focus ZX3 back to back with a new Honda Civic Coupe and felt that the ZX3 had a better manual transmission setup than the Civic. Surprise!<P>I think that the Focus really deserves all the praise that it is getting IMHO.<P>-Drew
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One thing about the Focus that I forgot to mention: <P>A major goal of the engineers/designers of the Focus was to make it roomy, which it is. That is one reason the roofline is so high, and the general appearance is, as I mentioned earlier, IMO, strange. Enter the " Street " cladding, which does an amazing job of tying down the appearance.<P>As to vehicle content, pricing, corporate profit, etc. I have read that Ford makes a profit of approx. $15,000 on a full-size SUV or loaded pickup, wheras on the Focus, it is probably on the order of $2,000 or less. Of course they a selling a million or so Foci a year worldwide.<P>I have always suspected that Volvo's corporate profit on their upper level vehicles is probably in the order of $15,000 or even more. They have a reputation and a following which are willing to pay that kind of $$. That is what Ford wanted to get their teeth into when they bought Volvo. Look at the S80 pricing -IMO it is way out of line with what someone gets for the $$. And BMW and MB are even further up on this cash cow stool, milking up a storm!!
 
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