Ford Focus vs. Cadillac Eldorado...

Discussion in 'Community' started by MacAztec, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. macrumors 68040


    Oct 28, 2001
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Hi. I am looking to get a car soon, and there are 2 cars that I am interested in. I can get a Cadillac Eldorado (1993-1995) for around 6000 dollars, with 70k miles. I can also get a Ford Focus Z-Tech hatchback 2 door for around the same price, with around 50k miles.

    I want a car with some zip to it, a nice ride, and fun to drive. I am turning 16, and both cars seem pretty sweet. Here are the pros/cons of each



    285-300HP V8 Northstar Engine
    Leather interior
    Looks VERY nice
    VERY smooth ride


    Older, may have problems
    Old person car (could be....)
    Not very good fuel economy (22mpg)



    Compact car
    Great gas milage
    Fun to drive


    Weird lookin
    Not as smooth a ride
    Not as luxurious

    What car would you recommend to get? I think they are both pretty sweet. I have about 6500 tops to spend. What other cars may be a good choice?
  2. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Personally I would have said go old fart car, though not one of the FWD cars.

    A Mercury Grand Marquis would be cheap, big, with low insurance and repair bills.

    I would have said Crown Vic, but that could get you in trouble. ;)

    And they're slightyly more expensive to insure than the Mecury -- because fewer old farts own them.


    The only thing you have to worry about on them is the plastic intake runner on the coolant crossover (where alternator ties in).

    Otherwise they are cheap, and relatively easy to keep repaired (plug wires when engine runs rough and tranny fluid every 20-30k when they hit 100k *).


    Might not be sexy, but they give you a lot less trouble than any Focus.

    * Basically easy to do either and the symptoms of needing either are easy to diagnose, vehicle run like crap and sounds/feels like it's broken bad -- change plug wires and tranny fluid...
  3. macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2002
    Near Chicago, Illinois
    I would totally go for the Eldorado. But that's just me...

    Millions and Millions of people have a Focus. There is nothing wrong with a Focus. But I would much rather stand apart and have a fast, cushy, roomy car.

    I am 22, and I don't think of the Eldorado as being an old fart car. Besides, what makes a car an old fart car? Get what you like because you like it, not because of what people might think of it.

    Plus, and take my word from experience on this one, getting a bigger car is a good idea for a first car anyways. Your chances of getting in an accident are higher right now as you are a more inexperienced driver. Having a bigger car with more steel surrounding you is a good idea.
  4. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    It's a high school thing that 80% of the people never outgrow.

    But things like the Cadillac, Lincolns, and Buicks tend to be purchased by the blue haired crowd.

    If you walk in with your father and grandfather -- they'll butter up the oldest person in the group.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northstars are crap. They have major malfunctions when the 2 unused pistons don't reveive lube. And ford? Thats the Dell of cars. Why not just get a jetta or a civic and put one of those loub mufflers on it? You kids have no class.
  6. macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Please please PLEASE tell me this is sarcastic!
  7. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Nope, just a sign of early senility.
  8. macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2003
    What year Focus? They had some troubles before 2003 I believe.

    Cadillacs...they have problems.

    I'm a bit biased because GM ticks me off (drove 1981 caddy, they're turning Saab into trash), but here are some things to think about.

    There is a reason Cadillacs depreciate so quickly. Fixing a Caddy isn't cheap. And it's usually not something your local mechanic can fix. Suspension might be sub-par.

    But damn, that Northstar is sweet. I haven't heard anything bad about the engines or transmissions. In fact, I've heard they are one of the best drivetrains available. My 1981 Caddy was in mint condition (it was my grandfather's). It wasn't fast, agile, or mechanically sound, but it was damn cool looking!

    Focuses (foci?) have their own problems. You'll probably be getting one of the early years which are known to have sub-par reliability. But it might still be under warranty. I don't really know of any specific problems, but most of them should be recalls. Engine definitely has less grunt than the Caddy.

    Suspension will be more fun. You'll probably be taking corners more than you'll be drag racing. There are probably engine kits and many more upgrades available.

    In conclusion...good luck deciding. I'd probably pay an independent mechanic $50 or $100 to look both cars over. If the Caddy passes the test, and you can afford to fix some potentially major electronic problems, go for it.
  9. macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location
    I say get the Focus.

    They're good cars (when they work). :p I believe its the most recalled car in the history of the auto industry. Something about a dozen or so recalls by Ford in its first 2 or 3 years. Make sure you don't get a pre 2001 model. ;)
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2004
    The Ocean Floor
    I've not heard of any big problems with the UK Focus but then the US ones are probably made somewhere different and to slightly different specs. I would go for the Focus myself but then they are bringing out a new one in a year or so, so prices will drop considerably. In terms of an investment the Focus will proabably lose alot in value, i can't really speak about the cadillac - we don't get many of them in the UK. its probably full of horrid grey plastic though!

    By the way the new Focus looks disgusting so don't hold out for it.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2004
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    you wanna be different
    you want luxery
    you need safety

    get a used saab 900 or 9-3
    tons of neat gadgets, a good hk sound system, leather, a turbo, and safety
  12. macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    chicago ex-toronto
  13. macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Nor me... I do infact recall it being voted Europes most reliable car during the late '90's early 00's. The U.S. version must be different.

    I've never driven a Caddy, so I can't comment on that, but every single review I've read of any model that was unfortunately shipped to our shore has got a serious pasting for being... well crap. Okay in a straight line, doesn't do corners. But the sums up alot of yank tanks with that jelly suspension that's fitted because of 'comfort' :eek: :p :p

    Aren't Caddy's pimp cars as well?? :eek: :p
  14. macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    The Focus is going to be much newer (2001? guessing by the price you listed) and likley had most of the recall-type problems it's going to have sorted out by the time you get it.

    The Caddy, on the other hand, is about to go into its prime (over ten years old) for very expensive and extensive repairs. Price out the (water-cooled!) alternator on a Caddy sometime. Tranny work? Head work? Brake/suspension work? You don't even wanna know how much that **** can run ya!

    Plus, spending $6000 or more on a ten year old car of any make or model isn't a wise choice, unless it's a specialty car (think Porsche 944, M3, Lotus), but in those cases you should be prepared to spend the price of the car again in repairs in the first year or two of ownership.

    Coupled with the crappy gas mileage, I'd say the ElDo would be your money pit. Go with the Focus, unless you really like your mechanic.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Apr 20, 2004
    I'm not really a ford fan but I would get the focus becuase its newer and will probably have less problems. Plus people might make fun of you for driving a cadillac because they are often considered as old people cars (except for the esclade series, lol)
  16. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Newer/fewer miles doesn't mean fewer problems...

    It all depends on the repair history of the vehicle.

    And it's unfortunate that the Ford Focus really hasn't had a good track record of hitting 200k miles with few mechanical problems.

    Sort of sad that the new Ford youth vehicle can sour owners on Ford for life, when some of their other cars do tend to have much better repair histories.
  17. macrumors 65816


    Apr 20, 2004
    Considering the focus has had a good repair historty. I have never owned a car that hasn't had a mechanical problem before 200k, 125k for that matter. Maybe its just my cars.

    How high are cadillacs repair prices?

    Maybe a Honda would be a good choice- innexpensive and reliable
  18. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The Ford Focus repair history sucks, so far, don't know about the newer ones -- but a lot of the reports said they won't be fixed until the replacement car comes out.

    The Focus was supposed to eliminate the problems of the Escort, and make the car as reliable and trouble free as a Toyota/Honda -- it fell far short.

    Of course it is much better than the Neon. :rolleyes:


    I game him the name of a car he can get with 70k+ miles and expect to have few if any powertrain problems (besides the need for plug wires and tranny flush).

    The only major problem with the Ford 4.6 modular motor is the coolant crossover, if it's not aluminum skip the vehicle -- or budget the cost of a new intake into the price.

    You can totally blow the motor and tranny and still get them replaced (junkyard or rebuilt) for far less than the cost of the same stupidity in a Focus.

    If it wasn't for the Police fleets, Ford would never have fixed the intake problem -- like they neglected to do so many of the Focus weak points.

    Plus, if he wants speed -- a lot of the Mustang stuff has found their way onto the sedans.

    They're not perfect -- but the brakes, shocks, tie rod ends, ect. are all far less on these than the Focus.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2003
    As an actual owner of a 2000 Ford Focus ZX3 (2 door hatchback, purchased new), here is my 2 cents.

    Space: The main reason I bought the car was that I wanted a compact hatchback, and the Focus was the only compact I found that didn't feel like a compact. Everyone who rides with me for the first time is always shocked at how roomy the interior feels (it being a compact and all). Due to the interior height, you'd be surprised and how much you can fit in the trunk, even when you don't fold the back seats down. And when you do fold the seats, I fit a whole Lazy Boy back there the last time I moved.

    Looks: Personally, I really like the styling, both inside and out. I think the hatchback looks way better than the sedan or the wagon (neither of which I like in this regard).

    Reliability: I have had zero mechanical/reliabilty issues. However, over the first two years I owned it, I received 5 recall notices. That was very annoying.

    Other: I think the Focus is a lot of fun to drive. It's no speed demon, but I live in Chicago, so I don't really need (or get a chance to use) a lot of horsepower. However, I recently drove it down to Atlanta and back, and it was fab. I got great gas mileage, too.

    All things considered, I would recommend the car to my friends.
  20. macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    come on aztek, we talked about this before. get the lac. just cause my grandma drives a deville doesn't mean i would drive it. plus with that northstar engine you can street race the riced our focuses on the road. what do you mean old fart car anyways, do you not watch mtv :p.

  21. macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location

    Yeah, the first time I ever got into one, I was actually quite amazed at the comfort of the back seat, size of the car in general, headroom, legroom, etc, in such a small looking car. You got a good car. My friend owns the same car, 1st year of release, and lets just say that he got a few more than 5 recall notices. Consider yourself lucky. :p
  22. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    There was a recent article on the Apple Netscape News that talked about this sort of thing. While getting a luxury car seems appealing, they are far more expensive to repair. Too many gadgets that go wrong.

    At 16, one should IMO look at reliability and cheapness of repair. Saturns are cheap on the used market, and are up there with Japanese cars in reliability.
  23. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Fords Trouble Prone Focus Hit With Safety Recalls, Service Campaigns & Investigations

    With 11 safety recalls to date and 6 defect investigations, the Ford Focus is proving to be an embarrassment to Ford Motor Company and its new President William Clay Ford, who are trying to stress quality in the wake of the Ford Explorer/Firestone ATX, Wilderness AT tire debacle. Not since General Motors introduced its ill-fated X-car in 1980 (Buick Skylark, Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Phoenix) which had 13 recalls in its first two years has a manufacturer had so many recalls. Among the Focus recalls are 351,000 2000 models whose roof pillars can cause head injuries in crashes and 203,700 2000 models whose left rear wheel falls off.

    The Focus' sinking reputation was further hammered hard by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) announcement of 6 major investigations from February to May 2002. Evening up the wheel problem, NHTSA launched a new investigation into wheels falling off the 2000 models, only this time it was both right and left rear wheels. The 2000-01 models were hit with an investigation into engine compartment fires, resulting in a recall. Airbags that deployed inadvertently and that burned drivers were the subjects of two investigations in 2000-01 models. 2000-2002 models were under investigation for collapse of the front suspension. 2000-01 models were investigated for engine stalling, but the investigation was closed after NHTSA assented to a pseudo-service campaign - See "NHTSA Gambles with Focus Owners' Lives."

    In November 1999, CAS wrote then Chairman William Clay Ford and warned him about Ford's overall reputation for poor quality and covering up defects to avoid recalls. The Focus fiasco shows Mr. Ford has a long row to hoe before he can restore some of the luster to his great grandfather's company.

    "A Low Cost Model Is a Big Headache to Ford" New York Time, 11/20/02

    "Ford To Repair Springs on Focus" Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/20/03

    "Ford's Warranty on Focus Extended: Engines Can Stall" Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/20/03

    Ford Focus Recalls

    NHTSA Identification Number: 99V-346

    Mfg Campaign No. 99S35 -Cruise control. DOM 7/99-11/99. Speed control cable end fitting can allow water to enter speed control servo assembly. Corrosion in servo assembly could develop and cause intermittent speed control operation or prevent throttle from returning to idle which could result in unexpected acceleration and crash. Correct by replacing speed control cable with new cable and inspecting assembly for internal corrosion and replacing servos with evidence of corrosion. Advise owners not to use speed control until vehicles are repaired.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 00V-218

    Mfg Campaign No. 00S20 - Roof pillar/FMVSS 201. DOM: 7/99-7/00. Vehicles fail to comply with requirements of FMVSS 201. The resultant HIC(d) value at one target location AP1, located on the trim panel at the juncture of the A-pillar and roof side rail, may be greater than design intent. Occupants in this location may not be provided with the needed impact protection. Correct by installing a new A-pillar trim panel.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 00V-302

    Mfg. Campaign No. 00S30 - Speed Control/Transmission. DOM: 3/99-10/99. Passenger vehicles equipped with speed control. Some control cables have a core wire that is long enough to catch on the sleeve at the throttle body end of the cable during wide-open throttle acceleration. A throttle that does not return to idle reduces vehicle control and risks a vehicle crash. Correct by inspecting these vehicles and, if necessary, replacing the speed control cable.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 00V-303

    Mfg. Campaign No. 00S31 - Wheel hub. DOM: 3/99-5/00. Some rear wheel hub retaining nuts loosen, allowing the left rear wheel and brake drum assembly to separate from the vehicle. Correct by inspecting the rear wheel bearings and installing a rear wheel retention cap to prevent left rear wheel separation.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 00V-411

    Mfg. Campaign No. 00S50 - Tail lamp. DOM: 3/99-12/99. on certain passenger vehicles, a decklid wire harness can fatigue and develop broken wires in the bend area of the wire harness. This results in either a loss of individual lamp functions, an electrical short in the broken wires that causes a fuse to open, or the loss of stop lamp or tail lamp function. Loss of stop lamp or tail lamp function increases the risk of a crash. Correct by replacing the decklid wire harness.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 00V-418

    Mfg. Campaign No. 00S55 - Seats. DOM: 3/99-10/00. Vehicles have a folding 60/40 second seat that becomes a load floor in the folded position. When the 60 percent portion of the seat is folded down and a load is applied to the front edge of the load floor, the outboard hinge pivot can disengage from the hinge. If the seat is then returned to the upright position without re-engaging the hinge pivot, the seat and seat belts do not provide the intended level of protection in the event of a crash. Correct by installing revised seat back hinge pivot.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 01V-108

    Mfg. Campaign No. 01S13 - Seats. DOM: 3/01. Some seat back recliner handle springs were damaged during an in-process test and the occupant may notice a chucking, or looseness of the front seat back. The seat back unexpectedly reclines. If the seat back unexpectedly reclines while the car is being driven, it results in loss of vehicle control. Correct by replacing the seat back recliner handle spring for the driver and front passenger seats.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 01V-258

    Mfg. Campaign No. 01S24 - Wiper Motor. DOM: (N/A). A switch in the plastic cover of the wiper motor gear case overheats and malfunctions, resulting in loss of wiper function and ignition of the plastic cover, increasing the risk of a crash. Correct by replacing wiper motor gear case.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 02V-117

    Mfg Campaign No. 02S37 -Speed Control. DOM 11/01-4/02. Speed control cable hangs up at the throttle body bracket during high, wide open throttle operation, preventing the throttle from returning to the closed position when the accelerator is released. Correct by replacing the throttle body and checking for proper operation.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 02V-288

    Mfg Campaign No. 02S41 - Battery. DOM 7/99-5/01. Loose or Broken attachments and misrouted battery cables lead to cable insulation damage, causing battery cables to short, and resulting in heat damage to cables. Smoke, melting, fire, engine light illumination or vehicle failure to start may result. Correct by inspecting cable insulation condition, proper torque at terminal ends, rerouting and replacing cables as necessary.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 02V-289

    Mfg Campaign No. 02S42 - Steering. DOM 3/99-5/01. Loose pinch bolts securing the lower control arm to the steering knuckle may lead to separation of the joint or fracture of the ball joint stud. Correct by verifying steering knuckle torque, tightening if necessary.

    Ford Focus Service Campaigns

    Service Campaigns are voluntary programs in which the manufacturer agrees to replace or repair a defect beyond the terms of the express warranty and may provide for reimbursement for prior repairs. Unlike a safety recall, the program may be limited in time beyond which the consumer receives no assistance. Sometimes the NHTSA accepts a Service Campaign in lieu of a safety recalls which means manufacturers and/or dealers are not subject to the enforcement provisions of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. When NHTSA accepts a Service Campaign in lieu of the more consumer protective Safety Recall, NHTSA lists the Campaign on its website.

    NHTSA Identification Number: 01I-017

    Rear wheel bearing seal race can experience surface corrosion, allowing contamination to enter the bearings, resulting in noise/wobbling. Limited to "Salt-Belt" states: CT, DE, IL, IN, IA, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, WV, WI.

    Ford Campaign No.: 01B85

    Terms: Replace rear wheel bearings through December 31, 2003 regardless of mileage

    Ford Campaign No.: 03M02 (See EA02-023)

    Terms: Covers front coil spring fracture through earlier of 10 years or 150,000 miles

    Ford Campaign No.: 03N01 (See EA02-022)
    Subject: Fuel Delivery Module
    Models Covered: 2000-01 Focus built at the Wayne and Hermosillo Assembly Plants from Job #1, 1999 through June 13, 2001.

    Defect Investigations

    PE02-016, Closed

    Subject: Rear Wheel Bearing Failure
    -Rear wheel bearings may fail, causing rear wheel to loosen and separate
    from vehicle.

    Investigation: EA02-017, PE02-020, Closed

    Subject: Air Bag Burn Injuries/Vehicle Fires
    -Air bag deployment may cause burn injuries and vehicle fires.

    Investigation: PE02-026, Closed

    Subject: Inappropriate Air Bag Deployment
    -Air bags may deploy in low speed impacts, causing injury.

    Investigation: EA02-014, PE02-032, Recall

    Subject: Electrical System, Engine Compartment Fires
    -Fires start in the battery area of the engine compartment.
    (See Recall 02V-288)

    Investigation: EA02-022, PE02-040, Open

    Subject: Engine and Engine Cooling System
    -Engine stalls
    (See Service Campaign labeled as Recall 03V-482 - "NHTSA Gambles with Focus Owners' Lives")

    Investigation: EA02-023, PE02-044, Closed

    Subject: Front Suspension Lower Control Failure
    - Front suspension may collapse, causing loss of control and crash.
    (See Recall 02V-289)
  24. macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2004
    I'd say you should keep away from american cars, as they are very unreliable. Not only that, things made by GM seem to be the worst, and to top it all off, of GM cars, Cadillacs tend to be the worst of GM, especially the old ones. So basically, by getting the Eldorado, you are getting basically one of the most unreliable cars you can buy. I think you should get a Honda or Toyota, or if you want more class/money, an Acura or Lexus. And no, I'm not a ricer, in fact I hate rice. I just think that when you're a teen and tight for cash, an old american car with a gas guzzling V8 isn't your best option.
  25. macrumors 68040


    Dec 25, 2003
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    wow i never heard that the focus is unreliable
    our army is actually switching from those old VW golfs to ford focus station wagons since a few years because they are cheaper and more reliable
    perhaps those european ones are different...who knows

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