Used 2003 Ford Escort

2003 Ford Escort
List Price Estimate
$1,611 - $3,601

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable price, standard 130-horsepower engine.
  • Superior Ford Focus ZX3 competes in the same showroom, lack of cabin space, uncomfortable seats.
Ford Escort years

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2003 Highlights

The aged Escort receives a few changes this year. On the outside, there are stylistic changes to its front and rear fascias, including standard foglamps. Inside, new cloth spruces up the seats, and the standard model receives a cassette player. Fifteen-inch wheels are standard on all models, and two new colors make their debut. For 2003, Ford has renamed the options packages "deluxe" and "premium." The deluxe package gets you a CD player, a leather-wrapped steering wheel that tilts, cruise control and map lights as standard equipment. Premium models also get power windows, locks and remote keyless entry. Finally, the in-dash six-disc CD changer is no longer available.

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.


Overallundefined / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Ford Escort.

5 star reviews: 73%
4 star reviews: 18%
3 star reviews: 9%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 0%
Average user rating: 4.6 stars based on 56 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • fuel efficiency
  • driving experience
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • value
  • appearance
  • handling & steering
  • comfort
  • seats
  • transmission
  • spaciousness
  • acceleration
  • ride quality
  • doors
  • safety
  • interior
  • maintenance & parts
  • sound system
  • wheels & tires
  • road noise
  • climate control
  • steering wheel
  • brakes
  • emission system
  • engine
  • oil
  • towing

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.875 out of 5 stars, Domestic Sleeper

It's always fun watching imports pull up, and not only find out they are slower, but don't get better mpg. I can fit 3 people and luggage for a week in it and still get 35 mpg hwy. New fascia reduces cute factor, and increases enthusiast curiosity. Have aftermarket tires, rims, muffler, air intake, etc. and I never think its a rocket, nor can I hear it 3 towns away. Sure, larger people will want to avoid driving, but were not all lineman here! Although the car was well worth the 11 large, kind of wish I didn't have to install an armrest. Nonetheless, this car has more range than one might expect, as I can drive from Tampa to Miami, and still drive around the city; Fords the best US maker

3.125 out of 5 stars, practical sports car

i purchased this car for $6500 with around 23000 miles, 5speed, the whole package. accelerates and turns very well. a lil rough but it's a small car so no surprise there.

4.625 out of 5 stars, A great little car

Bought this car new (13 miles) and drove it 143,000+ miles. I love this car. Got standard transmision that makes it even more fun to drive. Vibrations from the motor can be rough in idle, but it's not too bad. Gets 34 MPG in stop and go traffic. Very comfortable inside and sporty outside. Never had a machanical problem with it, and it's been very dependable. The ride is very smooth even after all those miles. Plan to drive it until the wheels fall off! It is MY car! **Sorry for any misspellings**

5 out of 5 stars, Approaching 200,000 and counting,
ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I purchased my ZX2 new because I needed a car and this one fit my budget at the time. I had intended on keeping it 2 to 3 years and then trading up. Needless to say that was quite some time ago and I have no plans on getting rid of it yet. It is dependable, economical, and fun to drive. I drive in the mountains and the 5 speed manual transmission is a real kick. We go over a mountain pass to Yellowstone Park and the ZX2 handles it well enough to have the Harleys pull over to let me pass. I have done minimal repairs to it and do not expect that to change.

Write a review

See all 56 reviews

Features & Specs

ZX2 2dr Coupe features & specs
ZX2 2dr Coupe
2.0L 4cyl 5M
MPG 23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 5300 rpm

ZX2 Premium 2dr Coupe features & specs
ZX2 Premium 2dr Coupe
2.0L 4cyl 5M
MPG 23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 5300 rpm

ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe features & specs
ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe
2.0L 4cyl 5M
MPG 23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 5300 rpm

See all Used 2003 Ford Escort features & specs


Is the Ford Escort a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 2003 Escort both on the road and at the track. You probably care about Ford Escort fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Escort gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Escort has 11.8 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Ford Escort. Learn more

Is the Ford Escort reliable?

To determine whether the Ford Escort is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Escort. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Escort's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 2003 Ford Escort a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2003 Ford Escort is a good car. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2003 Escort is a good car for you. Check back soon for the official Edmunds Rating from our expert testing team Learn more

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
Learn more

What are the different models of Ford Escort?

If you're interested in the Ford Escort, the next question is, which Escort model is right for you? Escort variants include ZX2 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX2 Premium 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M). For a full list of Escort models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2003 Ford Escort

Used 2003 Ford Escort Overview

The Used 2003 Ford Escort is offered in the following submodels: Escort Coupe. Available styles include ZX2 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX2 Premium 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What do people think of the 2003 Ford Escort?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2003 Ford Escort and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2003 Escort 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2003 Escort.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2003 Ford Escort and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2003 Escort featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2003 Ford Escort?

Which 2003 Ford Escorts are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Ford Escort for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2003 Ford Escort.

Can't find a new 2003 Ford Escorts you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Ford Escort for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,365.

Find a new Ford for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,910.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2003 Ford Escort?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Ford lease specials