Used 2003 Ford Focus

2003 Ford Focus
List price range

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.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

vehicle overview

"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.

trim levels & features

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.

performance & mpg

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.

driving

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.

interior

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.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Ford Focus.

Clear sailing
matthewew, 3/26/2013
I love this car. The only issue is that it is rough on tires. I normally get about 40K out of a 60K tire. I average 26-27mpg in the winter and 29-32mpg the rest of the year. I have 149900 miles on my car. I have not experienced many of the issues that others have, but then I bought mine new and know what it has gone through. If you do the maintenance when the owner's manual says to do it then you will have very few problems. Word to drivers the rotors are not the best, but the pads are really good so if you have worn out your brake pads, that is on you. I went 89K before having to change rotors and it was a mountain pass that did in the rear brake pads.
TERRIBLE
poohbealov, 12/4/2011
bought this at 81,000 miles was good until about 85,000. New motor mount, then a new engine, then a huge exhaust leak, then the engine was misfiring, then had to take it back to ford to get the lifters replaced, now i am waiting on it in the shop because they had to replace the instrument cluster. a total of about 5,000 in repairs in just a year. It's rediculous! i spend more time without a car then i do with one. I just barely hit 97k miles!
awsome! then you have the paint...
devyn_hogan, 1/17/2012
this car has been great to me, i bought it used with 30.000 miles. the guy put a K&N and loud exhaust... sounded great, until i got caught with it (illegal in my state). the only problem with it was the alternator. except it was not, it was a fuse in between the alternator and the motor. Then the paint peeled, spotted, bubbled, and cracked on the bumper. the paint peel happened on the hatchback. right above the light. the BLACK car now had WHITE spots on the back. and the rear bumper is full of very small cracks. None of this is because of lack of care, i and very ocd on apperance.
Nice Wagon
Deb, 1/25/2008
This is a great little wagon with exceptional gas mileage. Right now has 100,000 on it an still running nicely. The ignition lock froze up around 70,000 and had to be replaced and the shift solenoid in the tranny was just done last week. Other than that, just general maintenance. Have driven this car all over the country and it's always started and run nicely. I do not go to dealerships for upkeep on my car, I go to Firestone so haven't had problems with recurrent brake issues, etc.
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Features & Specs

MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
130 hp @ 5300 rpm
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
130 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 2003 Ford Focus features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger1 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
    Poor
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested

More about the 2003 Ford Focus
Used 2003 Ford Focus Overview

The Used 2003 Ford Focus is offered in the following submodels: , , , . Available styles include SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SE Comfort 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SE Comfort 4dr Sedan w/Zetec (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A), LX Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX3 Premium 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX5 Premium 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZTW 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A), ZX3 Power Premium 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX3 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX5 Comfort 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZX5 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), ZTS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SVT 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6M), and SVT 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Ford Focus?

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Which used 2003 Ford Focuses are available in my area?

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