2003 Ford Focus Consumer Review: Whatta Steal w/the Special 2.3

2003 Ford Focus - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

354 Total Reviews

ZX5 Comfort 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4-cyl. 5-speed Manual)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Whatta Steal w/the Special 2.3L Engine
By wnyfordguy on


2003 Ford Focus ZX5 Comfort 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)


Bought this used on 3/31/09 w/58k miles for my eldest son to commute to college. I got it cheap after previous owner bought it damaged the prior fall - it was in a front-end collision; he did most of the repairs himself.
Regardless, this car is solid!
It's amazingly quick for a 4-banger.
That's because it was sold in NY, so it has the 2.3L Duratec PZEV engine that produces 145 HP, as opposed to the weaker 2.0L engines that came with most 03 MY 'Foci'.
Around the town gas mileage is OK-to-Very Good (21-24 MPG), but it's great
on highway trips (up to 29 MPG).
Also, it's very comfortable and fun/different to drive - maybe that's what others refer to as this car's "European" feel.

Best Features

Engine works great w/ the 4-spd Auto Transmission - shifts are very smooth, car moves very quickly. Suspension seems to have been tuned just right for great balance between performance and comfort, The interior is roomy, even in back seat. Respectable amount of storage area under the hatch. Despite the pseudo-geeky looks of its rear-end appearance, with the turn-signal/brake lights up high on the pillars, my sons like it a lot better then the '93 neon green Escort LX I bought a few years back. Now that my son is out of college and in the USAF, I'm definitely looking to help him get an '07 Focus hatchback as his first car, especially since Consumer Repts recommends it very highly.

Worst Features

The std 15" alloy wheels look nice, but their design and excessive brake dust from the front discs makes them very hard to keep clean. Even after replacing the headlights w/ Sylvania Silverstars, the coverage pattern is a lot different to what I'm used to. Also, when you switch from low-to-high beams, the lows cut out completely, leaving only the highs operating. I've never noticed this in any other car I've ever driven - it took a while to get used to. BTW, I couldn't replace the driver's side lamp w/o ruining the retaining clip - it was way too hard a job for me to do w/ my large hands. Replaced the factory-installed Blaupunkt Stereo/CD, which sounded great, but had bad LCD display.
Recommend (3) (0)

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