2003 Ford Focus Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Ford Focus Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
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Ford Focus Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 7000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/23 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.

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 18
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Great car so far!

by on
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Focus

Bought this 2002 Focus ZX3 5spd last summer with 201,000 on it...for $700 drove it home! Knew it needed a couple things...didn't realize it needed more....Took the cover off the timing belt for inspection (Zetec motor) looked like the timing belt had never been replaced after 201,000 miles...the cracks were on the outside of the belt ready to snap! Had my mechanic look at it and it was very solid car no rust at all..and the seller never told me it had all new brake and fuel lines!! After spending $1,500 to get most of it done, it seems to be pretty good so far. I take it long and very short drives and doesn't leave me stranded. Getting 37 mpg is pretty good too!



1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Worst car i've ever owned.

by on
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Focus

Before this terrible 2002 Focus, I owned a Pontiac G6 with a ton of problems to. But this is by far the worst car ever. Bought the car for 4,000 with 113,000 miles on it. Have put almost 3,000 dollars into it since then. Isn't reliable whatsoever. Me being a college student I need a reliable car and this one is not it. First cyl went out right after I got it. It started stalling with AC on. Then it started overheating while sitting at a light/parked. Had to get all new wiring in the engine, and timing belt, water pump, fuel filter, and now my current problem is the terrible vibration at 140,000!!!!!(more wrong than just this) I can't take this anymore. time to sell this terrible nightmare.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

After 9 years and 123k

by on
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Focus

So Bev, my 2002 ford focus 2x5, has been GREAT for the 5 years I have owned her. Last year is when it all began. Most of the repairs have been typical maintenance things you would have to fix on any 9 year old/123k mile car, but I wasn't expecting to fix the alternator $400, a/c $450, clutch $600, and 2 of the 4 power windows (the windows!? which are $300 EACH). CD player has been broken for a few years. I can usually get it to work (except the volume control has hardcore issues), but the CD player repair is LAST LAST on my list. My biggest recommendation: find a GREAT mechanic who will give you a deal with all these crazy repairs that will probably happen all at once.




Avoid the 2002 ford focus

by on
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Focus

1st of all this car has a automatic transmission not manual. I had 108,000 miles on the car and the head gasket blew and the entire cooling system failed along with the thermostat. This caused my temperature gauge to show me in the "normal" range when really I was burning my car up and did not know it. I had coolant everwhere and white smoke out of my engine. $2500 to $3000 to fix. This car had many problems over the years. All the power window motors were constantly breaking. Had to replace 3 and they are $300+ to fix. I hate this car, it ruined my life. Avoid it at all costs.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Our ford focus at 184k

by on
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Focus

We bought this car for our son a couple of years ago and we now have 184,000 miles on it. We have had to replace the coil pack, plugs, wires, shocks, front struts, alternator and several small parts, but overall we are 100% satisfied. This car is 8 years old with this many miles on it and still runs great, no oil leaks, no oil burning, etc. This is an economy car that is still economical to own and fun to drive. With this many miles, parts are obviously going to wear, but parts are cheap, the car is easy and inexpensive to repair and it's safe for our son. He was in a serious accident last year and the car held together and protected our son and daughter. We had a body shop get the car back.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Worst car ever

by on
Vehicle: 2002 Ford Focus

I have owned Fords before but this will be my last. All the tires needed replacing when I went over normal potholes and they developed bubbles or got flat. Then the slave cylinder went. 3 of the 4 wheel bearings needed to be replaced, the CD player died, the shifter cable died, the front coil springs broke (there's a silent recall on these fyi), the windshield just cracked for no reason, the plastic on the bottom of the windshield came loose and the car gets water in the passenger side, and then there is that mysterious exhaust smell when I turn into my driveway, there was some radiator problem too but I don't recall what, now the A/C needs to be recharged, then there's a broken fan resistor.



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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.

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Talk About The 2003 Focus

2003 Ford Focus Discussions See all Started By

hillsman
hillsman
12-21-2013
I am having issues with my side marker lights that stay on. I have removed the battery and have disconnected about everything possible on the car and they still are on. The only way that they turn of?...


sylviagm
sylviagm
04-05-2014
I don't understand anything on cars, but I do know that ever since I purchased a 2003 focus in 2008, I have invested or wasted at least $100. per mo. on repairs. For some weird reason, I've had to re...


amethyst_wm
amethyst_wm
09-13-2009
I am thinking of purchasing a used 2003 Focus Zx5 premium with 69K miles on it. The previous owner took care of the car meticulously. It is spotless--I mean, the car really looks like it is still new....



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