2003 Ford Focus Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Ford Focus

Ford Focus Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 24/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Ford Focus

  • The 2003 Ford Focus is a wonderful small car that's fun to drive, frugal with fuel and offered in such a wide variety of configurations it would be hard not to find one that suits your needs.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Thoughtful ergonomics, large interior, smooth ride, sharp steering, impressive selection of body configurations and features.

  • Cons

    Seats aren't comfortable for everyone, below-average reliability.

  • What's New for 2003

    Minor changes are in store for the 2003 Ford Focus. Two new trim levels increase the breadth of prices for Ford's economy car; a base trim for the three door hatchback renders air conditioning optional and only comes with a manual transmission. For the five door hatchback, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, front reading lights and a center console are available when you step up to the comfort trim level from the base level. Heated front seats are a new option, as is a traction control and ABS package. New colors for the exterior brighten up the color palette, and the interior is freshened with two new fabric trims. Finally, a CD/MP3 player is now standard on the ZX3 and ZX5. A SVT version of the ZX5 is also scheduled to appear later in the year.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (16 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Wow ! love it !

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

The 2003 Ford Focus Se Comfort is my first car.I bought it used on July 2010 for the sum of $ 3,200 from a dealer.The rust was starting on the bottom but I paint it completely and give it back a fresh brand-new look.The flexible part of the mufler' pipe juste broke.The oil seal broke too. I replaced 2 door locks. The suspension is very smooth, love it!The acceleration is poor but the car itself is maid to economize fuel and I like it. Great body look, unique one !After 78 000Mi in 9 years, the car looks new.The interior is simple but I love it that way.Hard plastic make noise but, the great 4 speakers sound system make me forget them. In overall, a great car but the body is fragile and rust.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Laundry list of problems!!!

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

My 2003 Ford Focus SE (Automatic) was my first car I ever purchased, little did I know that I should have done my homework before making the commitment. I bought it pre-owned through the Ford Dealership. I should have inspected it at first sight. It had two torn tires, the roof interior was covered completely in ketchup! I let that one go. Over the years, the ignition locked up, had to get that replaced, the engine gasket broke, the transmission went out completely, got that replaced $4,000 later (in March 2011), the sway bar started squeaking, now the having engine problems, the timing belt broke off, and valves need to be replaced (Sept. 2011) Mechanics quoted $2,000 for repairs.




I will miss you

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

My husband just totaled my 03 Focus. It had 93,000 miles, and i bought it brand new. It was paid off and i have never had any problems with it or put any money into it except for very recently. Just before he wrecked it, i paid $240 to have a new ignition switch put in since the key wouldn't turn. (had to be towed to fugate ford). What to buy now?




Poor quality & engineering-ford cops

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Fun car with great gas mileage if driven correctly. I average 34 MPG on the highway at 60 MPH. A major flaw of this vehicle has been the rear suspension. It has too much negative rear camber and not enough toe. This causes wear to the inside edges of the rear tires. This is not adjustable and must be accomplished with the use of aftermarket parts. It cost me $350.00 to get this problem fixed. It has stopped eating tires now and has improved the safety of the vehicle. I have 48,000 miles on my latest set of tires now. This vehicle was very dangerous when operated in snow and wet conditions. It always wanted to spin around before I got the rear end problem fixed. Trunk latch, ignition rp




Traded a gas guzzler for

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Great car for the first 45,000 miles! The tranny went out and was replaced under warranty at 3 years old. A year after the transmission replacement, the brakes went out and had to be completely replaced. About two months after the brakes, the struts went out. Also had to have them replaced. Upgraded stereo went out then, started hearing a terrible front end grinding noise-was told it was the transmission. Called the dealership and they said it was 3 days out of warranty. Took it to a different dealership and was told the motor mounts were also bad. Oh, and the ignition switch locked up. Was gonna just sell it, resale on the car isn't even $1500 but it gets great gas mileage.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great little car

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

This is my second Focus. I did have another 2003 Focus LX base model. That one had transmission problems and this one does not. I purchased it with 130k and now has 143k. I have enjoyed this car, only minor problems with it. It handles great, stops on a dime, very reliable and very roomy. Decent gas mileage..without A/C 28-29 mpg, with A/C..24-25 mpg, and that's with regular oil changes and adding B-12 to the fuel tank. Very few complaints, trunk doesn't want to latch when shut after being opened with the key fob or trunk button, but works correctly with the key.



Full 2003 Ford Focus Review

What's New for 2003

Minor changes are in store for the 2003 Ford Focus. Two new trim levels increase the breadth of prices for Ford's economy car; a base trim for the three door hatchback renders air conditioning optional and only comes with a manual transmission. For the five door hatchback, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, front reading lights and a center console are available when you step up to the comfort trim level from the base level. Heated front seats are a new option, as is a traction control and ABS package. New colors for the exterior brighten up the color palette, and the interior is freshened with two new fabric trims. Finally, a CD/MP3 player is now standard on the ZX3 and ZX5. A SVT version of the ZX5 is also scheduled to appear later in the year.

Introduction

"Smart design and spirited driving" were the guiding forces behind the development of the Focus. It debuted in 2000 with "New Edge" styling, a roomy interior and excellent road manners. These qualities, plus a wide variety of configurations, have made the Focus the best small car from a domestic manufacturer. It falls behind the Civic and Corolla in terms of refinement and reliability, but the 2003 Ford Focus is still worth considering for a fun and functional small car.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2003 Ford Focus is available in four body styles: a three-door ZX3 hatchback, a five-door ZX5 hatchback, a sedan and a wagon. The sedan can be ordered in one of three trim levels, starting with the base LX model and going up to the midlevel SE and highline ZTS trim. Wagons are available in SE or ZTW trim. The ZX3 can be had in base, premium or power premium trim, while the ZX5 allows for the choice between base, comfort and premium models. There's also the high-performance SVT Focus, which is based on the ZX3.

Powertrains and Performance

The base drivetrain for LX models is a 2.0-liter 110-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels. This same drivetrain is standard in SE sedans, but ZTS sedans, along with wagons and hatchbacks, get a more powerful 130-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as standard equipment. A four-speed automatic is optional. Both engines provide adequate power, though the higher-output motor is the clear choice for enthusiasts. Still not enough? Then maybe you should consider the SVT Focus. Based on the ZX3, this hot hatch puts out 170 horsepower and is equipped with an exclusive six-speed manual transmission. The SVT Focus also comes with 17-inch wheels, oversize four-wheel disc brakes and a sport-tuned suspension to keep it glued to the road.

Safety

For safety, the Focus has ABS, traction control and stability control as optional equipment. NHTSA crash test scores for the ZX3 are good with the car earning four stars in frontal impacts and front side-impacts. The rear side-impact test, however, resulted in a very poor one-star rating for the ZX3. However, the ZX5 and wagon also scored four stars for rear side impacts. In frontal offset testing (conducted by the IIHS), the Focus has earned a "Good" score.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Focus is roomy for its class, offering generous accommodations for its front and rear passengers. Inside you'll find plenty of headroom. Some options usually not found in this segment include an in-dash six-disc CD changer, MP3 player and a stability control system. Some may find the asymmetrical dash layout odd, but the well-dampened controls and correct ergonomic placement should forgive any faults.

Driving Impressions

Regardless of trim, the 2003 Ford Focus offers a smooth ride quality and above-average handling ability. The four-wheel fully independent suspension allows for noticeable body roll while cornering, but the Focus stays planted and inspires confidence. The steering system is surprisingly quick, fluid and responsive, always providing plenty of feedback from the road surface. Our experience with our long-term ZX3 has proven to be more than satisfactory, and the SVT Focus, with its aftermarket-sounding exhaust, short-throw shifter and optional audiophile sound system has proven to be our favorite sport compact hatchback.

Talk About The 2003 Focus

Read more about the 2003 Ford Focus

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 24
  • cty
/
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs