Worried about gearbox reliability? We look at the options to get you the most life out of your purchase
QUESTION - IVAN:
I am looking at a dealer demo 2015 Ford Focus Ambiente. I like the car, but people keep telling me about transmission problems.
Can you enlighten me about this and what my options are? Thanks
RESPONSE - BYRON:
Assuming you are talking about a 2015 Ford LW II Focus Ambiente, yes, the six-speed dual clutch transmission known as Powershift has a reputation for alleged unreliability, and is the subject of a class-action lawsuit from a group of LW Focus Powershift and WT/WZ Fiesta Powershift owners.
Note that, with the Focus, this affects the petrol-powered versions only, and not the TDCi models fitted with the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel/Powershift combination. On the subject of the lawsuit, Ford’s response is that it cannot “...comment on litigation”, according to one media report. As a result of this uncertainty, we cannot recommend you purchase a 2015 Focus Ambiente Powershift.
However, your $20,000 budget should be able to accommodate a demo 2015/2016 Ford LZ Focus Trend automatic. This is the updated (and current) version of the Focus that has dispensed with the Powershift for a conventional (and presumably more reliable) six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. Our fairly extensive experience with the LZ Focus is very positive, and so it comes with a big thumb’s up.
Two more alternative demonstrators we also recommend are the 2015/2016 Mazda 3 and 2015/2016 Peugeot 308. Both feature excellent Japanese-built six-speed torque-converter automatic transmissions. A quick spot of research for all three vehicles has revealed several examples of each within or very close to your budget. A little bit of negotiation should be able to seal a deal.