Is the Ford Focus with a Powershift gearbox safe to buy?

28 Dec 2016 Car Advice

Is the Ford Focus with a Powershift gearbox safe to buy?

Worried about gearbox reliability? We look at the options to get you the most life out of your purchase.

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

BUDGET:
$20,000  

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.

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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.