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The Focus manages to be both logical in its design as well as fun to drive. This European-developed car offers ride comfort and agility on par with respectable sport sedans. Access, rear seat room and trunk space belie the fact that this is a small sedan. Interior quality and pronounced road noise mar this otherwise capable package though.
Alerts
There are 6 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags available. ESC available 2001-2003, 2009; standard from 2010. Side and head protection air bags standard from 2008.
Road Test

The Focus manages to be both logical in its design as well as fun to drive. This European-developed car offers ride comfort and agility on par with respectable sport sedans. Access, rear seat room and trunk space belie the fact that this is a small sedan. Interior quality and pronounced road noise mar this otherwise capable package though.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
2-door hatchback
wagon
4-door hatchback
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (170 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (130 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (110 hp)
  • 2.3-liter 4 (144 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 Ford Focus owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Bushings

“There is a noise that happens when driving, and I was told the bushings will need to be replaced at some point during this year”

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“Power steering hose (actually pipe) corroded at junction and Ford said they no longer carried the part for a 2004. I bought a 2005 part that Ford said would not fit and it was the exact same part, bend for bend”

Michael K., NH (2004 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

“#2 most dangerous - Rear end of this car unstable/slides out quickly on wet or slippery roads or bumpy cornering. Private shop replaced rear struts two years ago and did not correct problem”

L P., MI (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace both front shocks and rear struts”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“The struts are going to need replacing”

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“I had to replace the right strut and spring, as well as the tire after the spring broke and tore a hole in the tire. My mechanic said springs breaking are common on these cars”

Anonymous, OH (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“lots of squeaking/creaking before fixed”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“We have essentially rebuilt the entire front suspension system”

James W., IL (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“A tie rod end required replacement”

Anonymous, QC (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

“I have replaced ball joints, tie rods, gotten the car aligned and still the tire wear uneven and the car makes an unusual amount of noise when you go over bumps. I have purchased six new tires in the last 2 years because they wear out so fast (cheap”

Jeff C., TX (2004 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Left rear tire had a bald spot on it from uneven wear”

Anonymous, OH (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

“Hardened engine mounts caused car to be very loud. Replaced mounts removed almost all noise”

Sam S., PA (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine has been vibrating roughly for about a year. Mechanic said the motor mounts look OK, however tune up and other maintenance has not corrected the problem. Apparently this is a common issue. Will replace motor mounts next month”

Anonymous, ME (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

“needed to change valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket”

Ray T., CA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“the 2.0 Zetec motor has a problem with Valve Cover Gasket leaks. Some of them are due to PVC valve Rubber lines collapsing due to age under suction creating excessive crankcase pressure”

Robert S., PA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“oil pan leaked due to corrosion. Replaced oil pan. no current problem”

Anonymous, AE (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The car has leaked very small amounts of oil shortly after being purchased in 2007”

Anonymous, SK (2004 Ford Focus ZTS Unsure)

“Valve cover gasket leaking. Replaced gasket at minimal cost”

Sam S., PA (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Difficult to fill up gas tank

“Actually this has been a constant issue in this vehicle. The gas comes back up when filling so you have to fill at a snails pace by hand”

Scott K., CA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

“250,000 miles...of course it's going to knock and ping!”

Scott K., CA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

“The clutch burnt out at 55000 miles. This is WAY too early”

Russell S., IL (2004 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“It seemed reasonable that the clutch wore out as it had done a lot of miles!”

Anonymous, AB (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“At 175k original clutch finally had a enough but was great all the way through- after OEM replacement and OEM replacement of master cylinder and slave - even w two dealers unable to have clutch engage properly- as before - currently has short area of engagement”

Anonymous, MD (2004 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

“Dropped the entire transmission. Replaced with a rebuilt”

Steve H., VA (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Was shifting roughly. Low mileage over 10 yrs. caused build up that created problem”

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 Unsure)

“Car stopped on freeway. Towed to repair shop. Pinion gear broke. Three days in shop”

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“second gear bands are known to break after 120k miles”

Robert S., PA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“In neutral idle, since new, transmission had a whirring noise that disappeared when the clutch pedal was depressed. This year, the transmission threw a shaft and cracked its casing. Rebuild was impossible.Replaced w/used, 60K km. Noise still prese”

Anonymous, BC (2004 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

“RF headlight low beam burned out cost $30 to replace”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Once every 6 mo. I have to replace a headlight. The taillights also burn out but not as often”

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“burn out”

Wally P., AB (2004 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Currently have a short in the brake lights, fuse is blown”

Anonymous, AE (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

“rear tailgate does not work from switch”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“clutch failed”

Robert S., MN (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Hole in compressor. Won't hold coolant gas”

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Focus ZX3 Unsure)
Blower (fan) motor

“Fan is broken. Needs to be fixed”

Michael L., CA (2004 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Heater core clogged”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Focus ZTS 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“A worn spot in a hose caused the AC to stop working. Although minor item, repair was fairly costly”

Jack H., CA (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“right rear trunk underbody rattles”

Anonymous, CO (2004 Ford Focus ZX3 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“rear shocks make noise after installation”

Robert S., MN (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Suspension squeaks over bumpy surfaces. The fan for the heat/air conditioning whines constantly if it is on one of the lower settings”

Anonymous, SK (2004 Ford Focus ZTS Unsure)

“Very noisy, rattles despite new high end tires and balance. Worse in cold weather”

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“engine misfiring due to EGR hose leak”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel pump

“car would buck at times going thru the gears...engine was starved for fuel...to fix it they had to drop the gas tank as the pump is inside of it....not cheap”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Focus ZX3 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Fuel pump issues when less than 1/4 full tank”

Anonymous, BC (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“I have replaced both upstream and downstream O2 sensors three times each. There MUST BE a design problem with this system. It costs $350 per replacement”

Russell S., IL (2004 Ford Focus SVT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

“Drivers seat heater pads don't work”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Focus ZTS 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Locks and latches

“Rear door locks will not operate with the electric switch. Switch is good but linkage inside door keeps failing”

Anonymous, TN (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“replaced inside drivers door handle and connecting hardware inside the door almost a year ago. It is now having difficulty opening again. The plastic parts are a poor design. It seems something stretches and you have to pull the latch further and fur”

Jeff C., TX (2004 Ford Focus LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Mirrors

“The exterior side view mirrors do not rotate so they easily get broken on a side swipe with garage or other parked car”

Scott G., WI (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“The interior hooks and handles snap out with very light pressure. You can barely hang a shirt on them and if you grab one to re-position yourself it will pull out. We are not big people, max weight about 170 lbs so this is under designed”

Scott G., WI (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Paint peeling beneath doors. Also rusting where paint has peeled”

Michael B., AB (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“#1 most obvious - Rust has eaten through both side rocker panels, starting on doors including wagon door and fasteners for wheel well liners. Replaced driver's door with used one as hole through outer skin”

L P., MI (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“10 years old car is in its last year of safe use owing to corrosion of unibody and some front suspension elements. This has been an entirely reliable vehicle in every other respect”

Anonymous, OH (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Coil

“engine miss at stoplights. Took to dealer several times to total $900 and still have problem. No more Fords”

Anonymous, SC (2004 Ford Focus ZTW 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced #3 Coil Pack”

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced Spark Plugs”

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

“It would not shift into Drive from a start up. I had to either go into reverse or low then shift into drive. I replaced the transmission”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Focus ZX5 Unsure)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

“The sender light was on. A transmission specialist felt that it was a corroded wire rather than the sending unit. The latter was diagnosed at a regular garage. The transmission specialist was correct”

Michael B., AB (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Exhaust leaks

“Exhaust coming loose at connector”

Kevin M., MA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“The previous owner had put in an after-market exhaust system. It had worn out and had to be replaced. Original materials had been removed with the earlier modification”

Mark C., MI (2004 Ford Focus SVT 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“the bleed screws were frozen I needed to flush out old brake fluid the bake brake bleed screws were fine”

Ray T., CA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“As the car gets older it seems to be getting noisier. Not a big concern”

Michael G., PA (2004 Ford Focus LX 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

“Does not always play CD. Used to be 6 CD changer now can only load 1. Continue to received error message 3 and 4”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Focus ZTS Unsure)
Radio

“volume control does not always work. While trying to increase volume it will decrease or increase at random”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Focus ZTS Unsure)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Thermostat

“Thermostat stopped functioning correctly and required replacement”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

“premature failure of cylinder gaskets twice”

Janice C., PA (2004 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

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