2003 Ford Focus Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Ford Focus Hatchback

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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 (12 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

7 yr review: a reliable

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Just reaching the 140,000 mile mark, car has been very dependable and easy to maintain, and much MUCH cheaper to maintain than the 99 Civic i had before. My Focus has been used as a commuter car, sees a mix of highway and city miles and all four seasons (cold brutal winters) Had a few minor problems along the way, but it never left me stranded or cost a fortune to fix. I would recommend this car, it would be a great vehicle for a student because its reliable and economical.




Pzev only lasted 98,826 miles!

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Quite funny to get a car that is designed to be maintenance FREE for 15 years or 150,000 when in reality it does not make it to 100,000 ! The 2.3 L engine with Timing Chain supposed to be an improvement over the 2.0 L with timing belt! Except when the plastic slippers wear out it jumps timing and bends all valves - hence a JUNK! Now at to that clutch that lasted only 36,000 miles, Audio system that had to be replaced 5 times, Steering wheel that just locks and can not be unlocked again without replacing the key switch, RIGHT engine mounts that break, and host of other things like worn out Front Struts at 78,000. This vehicle has problems that YUGO never had! Simply a BAD CAR




Good ride for the $$$

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I've had my 2.3L 5SPD ZX5 for about 3 months now. Overall it's a VERY well equiped car for the money with Ford's rebates ($3K.) One of the very few 5 doors hatchbacks on the market it offers a lot of cargo space with the back seats (which fold virtually flat) down. One major gripe is the driver's seat. Don't know who designed it but the shape is HORRIBLE. I'm average hight and build and cannot make it comfortable... tried all possible adjustments.




Great little vehicle

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I have had my Focus about a month now and like it better every day. Handling is great - surprisingly comfortable and more room than might be expected from this sharp looking small vehicle. The mileage hasen't gotten up yet but I know it will. Planning on a fairly long trip with this car shortly and really looking forward to it.




Bellissima macchina!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

i bought the zx5 in late july and have just over 600 mi. i love it! i had a honda accord and a nissan sentra but this is the best by far. it seems so sporty and refined




Great car

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I just bought the car on the 27th of June, and I have had the car for a lil under 3 weeks now and I have to say I love my car thus far, its everything I expected it to be and more. I purchased it for $14,000 flat with license, title and fee's. I felt as if I got a great deal and thats including the destination charge, weather package, and the 6-disc changer with audiophile package, not to mention I did get the best ZX5 available in the Premium, so I did well in my mind. The car is faster then I expected also. Over all, the car is great and with the new powertrain warranty, things are looking well!



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