Used 2003 Ford Escort
Pros & Cons
- Affordable price, standard 130-horsepower engine.
- Superior Ford Focus ZX3 competes in the same showroom, lack of cabin space, uncomfortable seats.
Edmunds' Expert Review
We're surprised the ZX2 Coupe has lasted this long. It's not a terrible car, but the Focus ZX3 is so much better that we wonder what the point of this Escort-based econocoupe is.
The Ford Escort ZX2 Coupe must feel like middle management. It has some decent skills to offer, but it's getting old and definitely feeling the heat from younger and more dynamic members of the team.
The younger and more dynamic teammate would be Ford's Focus ZX3. Both the Escort ZX2 and the Focus ZX3 are aimed at attracting young buyers through a combination of an affordable price, unique styling, versatility and a fun-to-drive nature.
The ZX2 has been around since 1998 as the coupe version of the Escort Sedan. It shares the same basic front-drive platform and suspension components with the Escort Sedan (which is no longer available). The ZX2 has its own unique body panels, however, and its styling could be an attribute to some people, especially those who dislike the sharp-angled Focus, which might explain the ZX2's longevity. But allow us to be frank: The Focus is a much better car.
We see little reason to buy a ZX2 Coupe over a Focus. The ZX2's lower price might be attractive, but the difference isn't that great. All the while, the Focus has a roomier interior, better suspension and handling, and better crash-test scores. If the ZX2 were middle management, it would probably be fired by now.
Ford Escort models
The two-door Escort ZX2 is available in three trim levels: standard, deluxe and premium. Standard on all ZX2s are foglamps, a cassette player and a rear spoiler. Deluxe versions add air conditioning, cruise control and a CD player, while the Premium package includes power windows and locks. Options include ABS and a sunroof.
Performance & mpg
The only engine available is Ford's 2.0-liter Zetec four-cylinder. This is the same engine that's used in the Focus ZX3, and it's rated at 130 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The Zetec engine is competitive for this class, and its best attribute is a broad and usable power band. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional.
The ZX2 provides basic safety features like front airbags, glow-in-the-dark trunk release and seatbelt pre-tensioners, with ABS as optional equipment. It lacks modern advancements like traction or stability control and side airbags. NHTSA frontal crash testing hasn't been performed on the two-door, though the no-longer-available four-door earned three stars for driver and front-passenger safety. Rear passengers in a side impact may fare well with a score of four stars, but the ZX2 earned just a single star in side-impact testing for front passengers.
Understeer is the predominant handling trait of the aged ZX2. We do like the Zetec engine and the sufficient thrust that it provides. The manual's shifter is rather floppy and has long throws, but it's clearly the better choice for a more sporting drive.
Inside, the ZX2 has a swoopy (some would say overwrought) instrument panel that blends into the door panels. Both front and rear interior room is good for this class, though the Focus has even more. The same goes for trunk space. The ZX2 will hold 11.8 cubic feet of cargo, while the Focus can manage 18.5 cubic feet. As with most small cars, the ZX2's split rear seatbacks can be flipped forward to make extra space for longer items.
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- fuel efficiency
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Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 23 City / 30 Hwy / 25 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.7 gal. capacity
- 4 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 130 hp @ 5300 rpm
- Torque: 135 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 175.2 in. / Height: 52.3 in.
- Overall Width with Mirrors: N/A
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 67.4 in.
- Curb Weight: 2464 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 11.8 cu.ft.
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How much should I pay for a 2003 Ford Escort?
The least-expensive 2003 Ford Escort is the 2003 Ford Escort ZX2 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $13,205.
Other versions include:
- ZX2 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $13,205
- ZX2 Premium 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $14,810
- ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $14,355