2002 Ford Escort Review


Pros & Cons

  • Affordable price, standard 130-horsepower engine.
  • Superior Ford Focus ZX3 competes in the same showroom, lack of cabin space, uncomfortable seats.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$482 - $1,103

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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. But allow us to be frank: The Focus is a much better car.

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 its longevity.

Escort ZX2 is available as a single model only. There are no trim levels. Options are available in Deluxe and Premium Groups and include a power sliding moonroof, a six-disc CD changer, leather-trimmed sport bucket seats, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry (with anti-theft) and 14-inch chrome wheels. Since the base price is so low, adding a host of options won't necessarily kill your budget.

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 useable powerband. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. 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.

The closest competitors to the ZX2 Coupe are the Focus, the Honda Civic Coupe, the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Chevrolet Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire Coupes. All have their own distinct advantages, the Civic and Mirage in refinement, the Cavalier/Sunfire in available horsepower.

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.

2002 Highlights

Other than a couple of new exterior colors, the Escort ZX2 is unchanged for 2002. The Comfort and Power Groups have been replaced by the Deluxe and Premium Groups, which include new items of standard equipment.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Ford Escort.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

great car
I had one of these for 4 years and 35,000 miles until someone hit me and tore the front end off, spinning me around and deploying the airbags. I walked away unscathed, The car surprised me by taking a hit that well. Tough little car. Was fun to drive, cheap to maintain, great MPG. Interior held up well. Not the most comfortable for highway cruises, to be expected. The car only left me stranded twice, a tie rod end broke at 100,000 miles (that could have been bad) and a loose grounding block on the negative battery cable kept it from starting (thought it was the fuel pump at first, phew) Lots of good forums and info out there on these cars, take advantage.
ZX2 fun
I love this car alot. i bought it for cheap with low miles. i did have some problems such as misfiring when cold but after a tune up, pcv valve replacment, fuel system cleaner, new fuel filter. the car runs great. shifts great with pennzoil synchromesh in the trans. Its just a great car al together for the money. Better then any old rusted civic that is for sure.
Really great car for the cost
I've owned a 2002 Ford ZX2 (5-speed) since 2004. I bought it used with 43k miles and am trading it in tomorrow with over 156,000 miles on it. Overall, it has been a GREAT car and I wish I could keep it but my needs have changed and I need to get a car with more trunk space. I think the car has broken down twice- once the fuel pump went out and the other time was a timing belt I put off replacing & it broke. The engine was great and I consider the car to be reliable overall. Also it was great in snow w/all-season tires. I never even had to recharge the A/C or buy a new battery. Great budget car.
Awesome Car
Hello. I am a junior in high school and needed a car by the time school came around for various activities. I have a white deluxe edition ZX2. I love it. I live 18 miles from school and this car is awesome on fuel mileage. I was getting about 30-33 mpg when I first got the car in August. However, after replacing the oil with Mobil 1 I now get 31-37 mpg. It has 96,700 miles and the only work done was replacing a wire. The only complaint I have is rough shifting when it is cold outside.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver1 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2002 Ford Escort

Used 2002 Ford Escort Overview

The Used 2002 Ford Escort is offered in the following submodels: Escort Sedan, Escort Coupe. Available styles include ZX2 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX2 Premium 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX2 Deluxe 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), Fleet 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), and Premium Fleet 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Ford Escort?

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Which used 2002 Ford Escorts are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 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
Check out Ford Escort lease specials