I've typed out an introduction here which has ended up being quite long, so if you want to skip it scroll down to 'Problem' below for the reason I'm posting...
I've been driving Fords for most of my driving career - I started with a Fiesta, I had an Escort at one point and more recently I've owned two Ford Focus Mk1s (post facelift), the first a dark grey 1.8 petrol LX and the second a silver 1.6 petrol Zetec. Both of them I owned for about 3 years and did about 20,000 miles with very little mechanical issues other than normal service items. Great cars, drive really well. I actually preferred the 1.6 engine as the power difference to the 1.8 is barely noticeable but the economy was quite a lot better.
Alas, both my Mk1s were written off by some idiot crashing into the back of me. After the first crash I just went out and bought almost the same car. This time around, the damage was quite minor and I could (and probably should) have bought back the car from the insurer for only £300 (including re-delivery), but decided to take the grand they offered me and get something a bit newer with Bluetooth, cruise control etc.
I decided to get an estate as I no longer live with my folks so the extra carrying capacity would be handy, but I wanted a petrol as I do quite a lot of short journeys as my commute is only 3 miles. After looking at various makes and models, I read about the Mk3 with the EcoBoost 1.0 125 engine and thought that it would be ideal - it had all the gadgets I wanted in the price range I was looking in, the tax was cheap, it had good economy but still should have had enough power.
I located some on AutoTrader and went hunting. I test drove one which drove nicely, but had a lot of water under the carpet in the boot and under the rear seats, which I suspected indicated a problem with the seals or a leaking hose so I didn't buy that one.
The second I looked at was a 2012 Titanium X so top of the range with all the gadgets, with 80,000 miles on the clock. Quite a step change from my Mk1 Zetec! The interior and exterior was about as perfect as a 7 year old car can be. I was quite impressed, and gave it a fairly brief test drive. It seemed a bit slower than the other one I had driven, and I had a bit of a gut instinct was that something was wrong, but I was so impressed with the rest of the car I ignored it and bought it anyway. The dealer seemed very genuine, not pushy and the kind that would look after you if something went wrong. The dealer insisted on servicing it before they handed it over as it was due, so I paid my deposit and returned a few days later to pick it up. The garage was a fair distance from home so I would be driving it down the motorway and a mix of other roads to get home.
As soon as I left the dealership, it became clear to me something was odd. It had very little acceleration or power, especially uphill. I seemed to be needing to floor the accelerator quite a lot. At first I thought I just had to get used to the turbo engine and it required me to use the gears a bit differently and drive at a different rev range. But even at high revs it didn't seem to have much pull. The tyre pressure warning system then came on, and I thought that a flat tyre might be the problem. I needed to fill up anyway, so I stopped at a garage just before the motorway, filled up, pumped up the tyres and set off again.
It definitely wasn't anything to do with the tyres! Getting onto the motorway it took an age to get up to 70mph. I got there eventually and put it into cruise control, in 6th gear. But every time I got to more than a gentle uphill slope, the cruise control couldn't maintain 70mph and the speed started dropping. I would then change down into 5th, or even 4th, pushing the revs back up, but it was really difficult to accelerate back up to 70mph. At one point I even changed down into 3rd gear, doing about 60mph and about 5,000 revs, and I still couldn't get the speed up. It was actually a bit dangerous - at one point I had just overtaken at 70mph someone who was doing about 65mph, but hadn't pulled back in yet and then we got to a hill and I couldn't maintain 70mph anymore, forcing them to undertake me while I was being overtaken on my right.
I had a lot to do that weekend and did a couple of hundred miles in various roads and conditions and it was the same - the power was atrocious and the car couldn't maintain speed going uphill at faster speeds. I hadn't driven a car this slow since my 1994 Fiesta 1.1!
I contacted the garage at the next opportunity and they agreed to take the car back and have a look at it, giving me a loan car in the meantime. There were also a couple of other minor issues I asked them to fix. I went back today to get the car, and they've fixed the minor issues but they don't think anything is wrong with the car. The dealer drove the car with me in it and demonstrated how he thought it was fine (but not on a motorway or dual carriageway so we didn't go up to 70mph).
I'm not convinced, and let him know this. I've driven it home today and it's the same, just no fun to drive on the motorway at all. I hate having to slow down from 70 as it just takes an age to get back there and I can't just sit and cruise along in 6th gear like I expected. The fuel economy is not that great either - I am only getting on average 40mpg. I was getting 38mpg in my Mk1!
To be fair to the dealer, they haven't told me to do one, they have agreed to get a Ford garage to look at it and will get back to me to arrange this. But I'm a bit worried they're going to turn round and say nothing's wrong. There's nothing obviously wrong to back me up - no engine management light, no smoke, no funny noises and other than the lack of power the car drives really well. But it's just overall a horrible driving experience with no power.
Can someone who's driven a Mk3 estate with this engine please reassure me that I'm not going crazy here? I had expected to be able to cruise at 70mph in 6th without changing gear, and I expect to be able to accelerate from 60 to 70 or 80 fairly quickly, especially if I change down to 5th or even 4th gear! Flooring the accelerator even at low speeds and higher revs, I never feel that kick in the pants when the turbo kicks in. It is just gutless. My dad has driven a Fiesta with a 1.0 EcoBoost - lighter car obviously, but he sat with me while I drove it and agreed it was very slow in comparison. I even tested the 0-60. I'm not Lewis Hamilton and it was a slight uphill, so I would accept if it wasn't quite the 11.5 seconds official figure - but it took 28 seconds to get to 60! TWENTY EIGHT! That was with just me in the car and the fuel tank nearly empty, and the speedo's version of 60 which will be closer to 55. I'd be terrified of driving it on the motorway with 5 people and a full boot!
I'm not that mechanically minded (but I'm happy to change fluids and service items myself with a Haynes manual) but my suspicions are a problem with the turbo, or the electronic throttle. The car also has a towbar fitted - and I've read online that the turbo on the EcoBoosts from this era can get very hot after being driven for long distances under load, and to prevent damage to the turbo the car should be idled for 15-20 seconds or so before being switched off. Later models were fitted with an extra coolant pump which operates after the engine is switched off to prevent this. So that gives me suspicions. The dealer say they had a look and checked the tube hoses etc and couldn't see anything wrong, but they've not really taken it apart and looked properly.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any thoughts, suggestions or reassurances! I just want to be happy with this car, like I was with my two Mk1s before they were taken from me by bad driving from other people...