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 130 hp @ 5300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

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 (40 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

Very satisfied and impressed with

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

I owned my 2003 Focus ZTS for 6 months now. Im shocked but its performance for its affordable price. The steering is tight and feels very sporty and handles the corners very well. Gas mileage I get is at least 32 MPG Highway and 26 City. It has a nice stereo system with good bass It also has CD/MP3 player along with Traffic Reports and the and News Reports. Many Focus for this year has different Radio Units, This particular one is my favorite. Seats are Very soft and very easy to clean. Rides very stable at high speeds. The rear spolier gives it enough down force for better handling as well. Low Profile Tires give it a good look. DOHC engine has some pep.I would recommand this car to anyone




Really reliable

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

This car has been GREAT. I bought it with about 30k miles on it and now it has 90k with very little put into it. Give her regular oil changes and this car will just keep on going. I had to put new tires on it, new brakes and change the lock cylinder when I bought it, but outside of that, it has been perfect. It runs smooth and shifts beautifully. I get about 25 mpg with mostly city driving. Sometimes when I shut the trunk it doesn't latch, but I just have to shut it again. Great car, will drive it into the ground.




Still great after 3 years

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

I bought this car new and it is just as much fun to drive over 3 years later. I have the Zetec engine, it has lots of pep and I get 25 mpg overall and that's with over 20 stop lights between home and work. The original Firestone tires were...well, junk, and after lots effort on the dealership's part, I gave up and replaced them with Pirelli tires at 8000 miles. The back seat is roomier than I expected and the front is very comfortable. Huge trunk great for travel.I love this car!




This is a lemon

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

This vehicle performed superbly right up until the 40,000 mile mark. First of all, the Pirelli tires are horrible and will need to be replaced between 35-40k. Secondly, I had to replace the brakes and rotors because they were shot. Third, I had to replace a transmission part that caused my engine to skip (thankfully covered by the extended warranty). Lastly, and most important, the engine stalls in the middle of traffic with no warning. I have taken it to the dealer but they can't figure out what is wrong. I used to think "buy American" but in the case of cars, IT'S NOT WORTH MY LIFE or yours either! Do yourself a favor and STAY CLEAR of this one!




Very pleased with my '03

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

I purposely downgraded from years of full size pickups into a smaller vehicle. From the moment I drove the car home I have thoroughly enjoyed driving this car. It's quick, responsive, easy on the gas AND much easier to park than the pickups. I have not missed them at all, In fact, this car has enough room in it, that it has become my "truck". I've hauled everything from grass clippings bags, bags of mulch, plants, shrubbery and paving stones to 6' step ladders and not once have I ever had to leave something behind.




It's ok

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

I purchased this car two years ago new. So far I have been pleased with the car but it has had several issues and the dealership was a nightmare to deal with. Right after the warranty ran out I had a $1300.00 air conditioning problem that the dealership ripped me on. There has also been some other repair issues that I feel reflect poor craftsmanship; however I do like the car and I guess for an economy sedan it will do.



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

  • 22
  • cty
/
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs