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Formula413 05-19-2008 09:56 PM

Ford Focus aerodynamics question
 
I'm looking at (eventually) getting a 2005-2007 Ford Focus to replace my Escort. I want either a ZX5 (4 door hatchback) or a wagon. According to Edmunds.com both cars carry the same fuel economy ratings, but I tend to doubt this. In my eyes the ZX5 with it's sloping roofline is much more aerodynamic than the wagon with it's squared off rear. Am I correct in thinking the ZX5 would be likely to see higher highway fuel economy? Personally I like the look and added space of the wagon more but I do a lot of highway driving so highway fuel economy is important. For reference:

http://a332.g.akamai.net/f/332/936/1...20074406-E.jpg

http://a332.g.akamai.net/f/332/936/1...20074407-E.jpg

cfg83 05-19-2008 10:08 PM

Formula413 -

I would do a check on the curb weights. If they are the same, then the wagon is probably fine after you remove the roof rack. I think that the rear slope on the ZX5 is such that it would need kamm-back anyway, just like the wagon. I think that a "good slope" for a hatchback would need to be more like a Honda CRX/Insight.

CarloSW2

Arminius 05-19-2008 10:33 PM

They can't possibly weigh the same either. I'd buy one with a manual transmission, if possible.

cfg83 05-19-2008 10:58 PM

Arminius -

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arminius (Post 27083)
They can't possibly weigh the same either. I'd buy one with a manual transmission, if possible.

Yup, you're right :

CanadianDriver's New Car Buyer's Guide 2006: - Ford Focus
http://www.canadiandriver.com/overvi...ford/focus.php
Code:

Curb weight ZX3      1189 kg (2621 lbs)
Curb weight ZX4, ZX5 1223 kg (2696 lbs)
Curb weight ZXW      1257 kg (2771 lbs) => 2771/2696 = 1.0278 => 2.78% heavier.
...
Cargo capacity ZX3, ZX5        510 litres (18.0 cu. ft.)
Cargo capacity ZX4        419 litres (14.8 cu. ft.)
Cargo capacity ZXW        1008 litres (35.6 cu. ft.)
Fuel consumption 2.0
        City:  9.0 L/100 km (31 mpg Imperial)
        Hwy:  6.4 L/100 km (44 mpg Imperial)
Fuel consumption 2.3
        City: 10.6 L/100 km (27 mpg Imperial)
        Hwy:  6.9 L/100 km (41 mpg Imperial)

The wagon will cost you 75 extra lbs, which makes it 2.78% heavier than the ZX5. The benefit is that it will also give you almost 18 more cubic feet of cargo space. Sooooooo, it depends on how you use your car.

CarloSW2

RH77 05-20-2008 01:16 AM

From what I've read, both the wagon and 5-door have a Cd of 0.32. One article noted that the wagon actually has a slightly lower drag coefficient, actually.

I would take the manual as mentioned, but all things being equal, the convenience of the wagon would trump the extra weight. It all depends on your needs -- the wagon is a rare find...

RH77

Formula413 05-20-2008 05:53 PM

For reasons unknown to me Ford decided to kill both hatchbacks (ZX3 & ZX5) and the wagon and add a coupe to the Focus lineup. How's that for practicality? If the CD is the same I might decide to live with the extra 75 pounds and get the wagon. My Escort wagon sure came in handy when I moved. The tough part for me though is that I would really prefer an auto, but I'd have to give up 3 mpg highway to get it. :(

Daox 05-20-2008 08:23 PM

Are you really set on another Ford? There are other very good hatchbacks out there. Ones that get better mileage too.

dremd 05-20-2008 08:47 PM

I have a good buddy with an 07 Focus 3 door hatch, very well put together vehicle, not any extra parts, I'm generally impressed, fun/ stiff chassis as well.

RH77 05-20-2008 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dremd (Post 27300)
I have a good buddy with an 07 Focus 3 door hatch, very well put together vehicle, not any extra parts, I'm generally impressed, fun/ stiff chassis as well.

I'll agree that the new 04+ Focus series (US) is a good value. On the other hand, I've rented several and found some issues with initial quality, A/C mold issues, and the steering / front suspension being loose or vibrating.

Otherwise, it handles well, gets good FE, and is reasonably priced. My good friend bought a 2000 ZTS Sedan new, and has a mixed response with it. The first model year brought MANY recalls and hard-to-diagnose gremlins. Subsequent models improved quality. He still has it at 100K miles+ (dedicated Ford guy). I drove the 5-speed model that same year and was really impressed with it. I already had a '99 Civic Si at the time, which (IMHO) was the best combination of sport (160 hp from 1.6L), utility (fold-down seats), and efficiency when not driven hard (at that time, rarely :p). It was super-reliable until I traded it at 40K miles...silly me.

As Daox suggested, look at all the options. You seem to have a strong feeling to Ford because of a friend. I implore you to examine all the options, do some research, and be yourself -- choose the vehicle that you want.

My 2-pence...

RH77

Formula413 05-20-2008 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dremd (Post 27300)
I have a good buddy with an 07 Focus 3 door hatch, very well put together vehicle, not any extra parts, I'm generally impressed, fun/ stiff chassis as well.

That is the main selling point for me, I love "spirited" cornering and the Focus excels at this. Great steering feedback, very minimal understeer and body roll, handles more like a sports car than an econobox. I was actually set on the Mazda 3 for a long time but it's substantially lower mileage has moved me away from it. To me the Focus is the next best thing. I may try some other cars too but I can't really picture any of the other compacts out there being much better in ways that matter most to me. I could aim for even better fuel economy but I like the idea of having a little bit of pickup for freeway merging and such, and the Focus has around 130 hp depending on model year, which seems like a reasonable compromise between power and fuel economy.


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