2003 Ford Focus Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Ford Focus Sedan

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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 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 (135 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

Absolute piece of garbage

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

Bought the car back in 2011, used, about 65,000 miles on it. I should be able to get some life out of it, right? Wrong. About 4 months later, the alternator had to be changed. Figured that was normal - took it for inspection in June of 2012 - needed a tune-up. Then - the ignition started sticking, got to the point where I was coming out of a hair appointment and the car would not start. Had to call a mechanic - $400 dollars to get the ignition fixed! Now - the battery's drained and my transmission is sticking. I have no clue how much it's gonna be, but the car has been sitting in the driveway for about 3 months and I refuse to put another dime into it. Good riddance.




Underpowered, boring, but reliable.

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

We owned this car for a little over 5 years. It gave us very little trouble, and was very economical. We got rid of it with 100,000 miles. At that point it was a very rattly annoying car to drive. Also very underpowered, passing someone had to be all planned out. Awesome on fuel, but I think a Civic or a Mazda would have been a lot more fun.




Avg bang for avg buck

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

Whaddya expect... you're buying a used car! Granted I bought it 40km and am now past 130k, but its been a great car for the buck. ( had a Toyota dealer ask 10k for the used price at first though? what the..!!) But reading through these reviews its obvious too many poor quality parts were used given how many similarities in repairs: trunk latch has been replaced 3x now and still doesn't latch all the time. Door handles. Ignition locked up. Battery is being drained by something, replaced once already. Sway bar/bushings. But be realistic. Otherwise its been a great little mid level car.




Focus for average people

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

Cheap to buy used, good solid reliability, few issues, good mileage, fun to drive, very easy to service



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

As good as the japanese

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

I have a 2003 focus that just passed 160 kilometers and other than regular maintenance like tires, brakes, oil changes I have only had to replace the trunk opening latch ($150). It has the smallest engine (2.0 twin port), manual trans and I put 16 inch wheels and a hogher aspect than stock tires on it to maximize mileage. Even with this high gearing it still has reasonable torque to pass in high gear. Best steering and handing in a North American car and you sit up high not like sitting in a hole like a Honda. Styling is still fresh after all these years, going to keep for at least another 5 years. Hey it long been paid for



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



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