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Basic information about my car
Ford Focus Mk2 Facelift, 2.0 Litre TDCi
Reasons why I bought this car
Diesel power! Strong mid-range torque. I wanted a powerful car but at the same time easy on the pocket in terms of fuel costs and comes with a free maintenance package. The earlier generation hybrids (Honda Civic/ Insights) would give good fuel economy but you would need to be mindful of your right foot when you drive. With a high-tech (well as high tech as you can get at that point of time - the Ford 2.0 TDCi engine is only rated at Euro 2 and is in fact an engine developed by PSA group under joint development between Ford and PSA) common-rail turbo diesel engine, you can cane this car all day long, drive it fast or drive it slow and it will return more or less the same fuel consumption figure between 6.5 to 7.3 l/100km. This car gives me between 760 to 800 km range per full tank of diesel (53 litre tank) on combined cycle and on long outstation drives, it will easily give me high 900 km depending on average speed and traffic condition on the highway.
Plus the engine and fuel system is bio-diesel ready.
Car Selection Process
I had a budget of RM110k - thank god for hefty discounts by the dealer and SDAC since this was one of the last few pre-registered units/ run-out model
Model(s) that I have considered include: Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 and Golf 1.4 Tsi - again thank god I didn't go for one of these.
Reasons why I chose this car:
The distance on my daily commute from my family home in Kajang to my work place in Kuala Lumpur as well as the requirement to move around Klang Valley due to my work requirement and my driving style. And having had several turbo diesel powered pick up trucks in my family from all makes (Toyota, Isuzu and Ford), a turbo diesel sedan would be a nice addition to the family. Although a lot of people gave snide remarks such as, "your car smells like a lorry" (referring to exhaust), "your car sounds like an old taxi/ airport limo" and the best one.... "you car looks like a police car" - this is down to the side decals on the car.
I hated automatic cars growing up and had loads of fun with manual motor vehicles having learned how to drive in my Mom's Isuzu Trooper 3.2 and lucky enough to have my dad to buy me a Proton Putra as my first car, I was dreading the fact that not many manual propositions were in the market by the late noughties. The powershift DCT transmission is a good compromise. You get the instantaneous mechanical feel of the gearbox and does not feel lazy like a torque converter autobox (disclaimer - this was about 10 years ago and auto boxes were not as advanced as what we have nowadays - the BMW 8-speed sports auto-gearbox is an excellent example of how times and technology have changed).
I have already done 200,000+ km
Since the purchase, my thoughts about the car are:
It's a good all rounder car having bought the Sedan (Ghia) version of this car. Gives me enough power, good fuel consumption and a comfortable ride. At that price point, the specification of this car was loaded, power front seats, auto headlights, auto rain wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror (very important on Malaysian roads considering Malaysians are keen on retrofitting non-JPJ approved HID/ LED headlights), auto up/down windows on all 4 doors and not just the driver's side (it also has the function of winding down/ up all windows using the key fob which is very convenient). Also has a decent sound system and the car feels very planted to the ground. Like what a lot of Malaysians refer to as the "conti feeling".
She has served me well over the last 9 years and have not missed a single beat. Starts on first crank everytime and surprisingly really built "Ford Tough" - the same can't be said for some of her other brethren (read: Ford Rangers). Besides the usual wear and tear parts; brakes/ tyres/ wipers/ regular oil change (shes been spoilt with 5w30 fully synthetic every 5,000 km), DCT fluid change, oil filters, diesel filter, shock absorbers, timing & auxiliary belts, engine mountings and one air-conditioning system service done about 4 years ago, I have not had any mechanical/ parts failure on this car. Had an issue with a gear linkage that was easily rectified.
Pros & Cons
Powerful enough for Malaysian traffic and sips diesel. Handling is decent even with only 16 inch wheels/ high profile (55-series tyres) and stock standard suspension.
The laid back nature of the car/ engine but at the same time capable of summoning forceful shove when called upon thanks to the strong mid-range torque makes everyday driving a breeze and overtaking on the highway easy.
No HID / LED headlights (not a problem back then but am feeling it now due to age and high astigmatism), looking for spare parts can be a pain at times (but the Ford specialist that takes car of my car would be able to sort out almost any issues/ source for parts). And the one thing that made the car looked classy when new but is not really ageing well is the beige interior of the Ghia specced sedan. The dark / black interior was only available on the Sports / hatchback.
Total Score: 4
Quality & Features: 5
Ride Comfort: 4
Fuel Economy: 5
Price & Cost: 4
Made a stupid life mistake sometime in 2010 by consolidating all my cars and buying a second hand 7-year-old Impreza STi Version 8 as a weekend car and relied on using my sister's first gen New Mini Cooper (non-S and yes just with the 1.6 litre engine without the supercharger). Told myself that this car should be sufficient to get me to work and back but alas... it was too small and underpowered for Malaysian highways. the STi then started to be my daily driver which burnt a hole in my pocket paying for her Ron97 and at times Shell Vpower Racing. The hunt was then on for something else that's easier on the pocket (read diesel fuel economy) and above average power for Malaysian roads. The E90 320d was out of the question due to its price and all the money I wasted on the STi. The Focus TDCi was the next best choice as I cannot see myself in a Civic / Altis and the offerings from Volkswagen were a bit on the expensive side. I was eyeing the deals on the Focus for almost a year until an impromptu visit to a Ford dealer after seeing their ad on Mudah.my in late December 2011. My benchmark was, it has to come with the 3-year or 60,000 km free maintenance and a price after discount of not more than RM115,000-00 (this was my price benchmark because the Focus TDCi was sold in Thailand at this RM equivalent in price). I went to the stockyard of the dealer as was told they have the perfect car for me, pre-registered with a nice plate number, sedan and ready with Vkool tinting as well as all the Puspakom inspection forms for the change of ownership. I later learned that the dealer was getting ready to transfer the car for his own family use but at the last minute decided against it because his daughter wanted a BMW instead. And because of the validity of the puspakom inspection forms and the risk of ripping out the brand new Vkool tinting if it needs to go for another round of inspection, they were willing to give me an additional dealer discount on top of the SDAC discount with the full 3 years free maintenance package. A short test drive later sealed the deal and the dealer held out his hand at an agreed price of RM105k excluding insurance and registration fees. A week later on Christmas eve 2011, the dealer arranged for my "Christmas present" to be delivered to my office. I left the Mini Cooper in the office basement carpark for the long weekend and took the Focus home.
Since then it has been a joy, a lot of power, a lot of stares at the pumps - I even had one petrol pump attendant shouting at the top of his lungs once "Boss, itu diesel pump lah!", a lot of surprised faces from those "vroom vroom" riceboys in their B and C segment modified sedans when they eat diesel fumes on the highway. The car looks unassuming but the mid range torque from 110km/h up to 180km/h is really strong.
After the STi, I started to appreciate OE looks and kept all my cars standard with standard wheels, standard ride height etc. Blame this on age or the fact that having to service two mortgages forces you to grow up. The Focus has been flawless, never requiring any major repair, and only regular wear and tear parts. The only issue I had was a disconnected gear lever cable that was easily rectified by a specialist in USJ which has since taken over the servicing and maintenance of my car ever since the warranty period ended.
Having said that, it has already been 9 years and 200,000+km and I would expect some sort of major repair to come very soon. During the last few services I was alerted that the turbo is damp with engine oil and I am sure there would be other parts that will soon fail. Fingers crossed.
Shes been on endless runs up and down the peninsular for my "jalan jalan cari makan trips", been to Trang (a town on the west cast of the Thai Peninsular south of Krabi) twice and took her up to Bangkok/ Ayutthaya once in 2013.
Other than replacing the turbo / intercooler hoses and a Racechip everything else is stock standard.
She is getting on with age now having been on the road for almost 10 years but there's still no suitable replacement at this price range. I considered the Hyundai Elantra 1.6 turbo but decided against it. Since then I have purchased a German pocket rocket for the other half to drive and a Ranger XLT+ as my everyday workhorse. My Focus has been relegated to its position as a spare car for my household. But not-so-spare-car after all as it continues to be my go to car on a daily basis if I don't need the space/ load lugging ability of my truck.
Considering the current market and second hand value... I will continue to keep her and drive her until the day I write her off.
Interesting events that happened to my car
Interestingly the 4-digit pre-registered number that came with this car has been adopted as the "family" plate number. My two other cars, sister's and parents' cars have all adopted the same number.
A couple years ago, I had to make a dash to Penang for work and was driving the Focus with a bit of anger on the NSE due to time constraint. The NCT3 Goodyears that came with the car had blistered and thread separating from the tyre carcass on all 4 tyres. Was then told by a friend who at that point of time was working with Goodyear Malaysia that I may have overdid it on the highway and the tyres did not suit the car and my driving style. With the help from that friend, a dealer in Georgetown sorted out a claim process and installed a new set of Goodyear Eagle F1 D5.
Another event that I will always remember with this car is on the trip back from my Bangkok driving holiday. A "crazy" friend of mine who introduced me to driving holidays in Thailand saw my posting / check-ins on FB. Having lost touch with him for a couple of years due to work and business commitment, he messaged me and said that he will drive up to rendezvous with me in Hua Hin. On the night I met him in Hua Hin, then only I realised that he had come up to Thailand in his 997 GT3 RS. So from a solo car trip heading back to KL, with our respective other halves, it became an impromptu convoy back to KL with me thinking all the time that I'm gonna get left behind. With a full load in the Focus (shopping in Bangkok) and the Powershift gearbox on manual sports mode, I was pleasantly surprised that she was able to keep up with the RS in Thailand highway traffic with a few occasions of me eating smokes when the roads opened up. You would be surprised at how well a turbo spools up under heavy load. And on several occasions when we had to stop for fuel (mostly for the RS), my friend kept on asking if anything else besides the Racechip was modded on the car as she was able to keep up.
There is another story involving Penang, nasi kandar and me trying to impress my sister on the fuel efficiency of the Focus during my first year of ownership. We started our journey from KL with 3/4 tank of diesel and I boasted that we won't require a fill up until we get back to KL. Plus the driving around Georgetown, on the last day we had to do our customary "tah pao" of some nasi kandar dishes from 2 of our favorite restaurants for my parents. Drove back down on the NSE and I may have underestimated the fuel efficiency of the diesel engine, we drove for about 20km with the fuel indicator at "E" and the on-board computer registering zero km to empty until we reached the Petron (at that point was still Esso) station at the Rawang's Restoran Jejantas R&R. My sister was fuming mad and her main concern at that time was what if we were stranded next to the highway and her nasi kandar dishes all "basi"...
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