Used 2003 Ford Focus SVT

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.

Top Flight Car - If Modified
svt_owner, 7/3/2013
Test drove an Acura RSX-S and SVT. RSX felt cramped with poor outward vision poor and didn't come "loaded" as the SVT - which had everything but traction control. Driving position, outward vision and ergonomics all superior to RSX, as are brakes. Body roll excessive and gear linkage slow. Worst feature is the dual mass flywheel, which is supposed to dampen out ham fisted shifting, but merely retards revs, acceleration, and obviates engine braking. Noisy car with practically no sound insulation, although it comes with a good sound system. MPG on the poor side, especially in mixed traffic, (22-23).
2003 Competition Orange SVT 2 door hatch
Marc Ceniceros, 11/25/2008
Love the Comp. Orange color, always the only 1 in a parking lot. The car is about balance. Adequate acceleration, good grip, excellent handling, fantastic brakes. I don't trust my Ford dealer so have not had the clutch knocking fixed but it continues to function otherwise so I'll wait to repair it. Euro package brings nice accessories, but body treatment adds useless weight to a car already weak on torque. I'd trade 15/20 Bhp for 5/10 more lbs./ft. Base car weighs less than SVT! Wrong. I'm 70" tall and my hair rubs the sunroof. Wish it had 16" wheels for improved ride/comfort without diminishing the turn in. 45 series rubber is ridiculous off track. Car is noisy on many surfaces.
Used SVT
Blaise Mikau, 8/15/2005
i was looking for a sports compact. However the focus SVT was nowhere near the top when i was deciding. the Eclipse, Tiburon, and Mazda Protege 5 were my top choices. However due to a mix up at car max the car i wanted was no longer there. So i looked around. I had heard good things about the SVT to i took a chance. as soon as he open the door i was in love. The leather trim seats were eye catching. Once he started it, the purr of the engine was beautiful. i test drove and was sold. the SVT suspension is surpieror to and other STOCK compact car. This along with the Kit and Exhaust tip, saved me alot of money on visual upgrades. I put a AEM shortram and my cruise speed went from 80 to 90.
My experience with my SVT
Kelly Majors, 5/27/2004
At first I really enjoyed the car. It is great fun to drive. The 6 speed provides good pull at every shift. I have experienced some problems with the car however. It has been back to the dealership 4 times with clutch problems. One of those times I had to be towed in. Finally all the clutch assembly, slave cylinder etc. had to be replaced. Needless to say with less then 20,000 miles on it, I have lost some of my confidence in the car. Gas mileage is good but the car requires gasoline rated over 91 (super premium). With prices over $2.00, it can cost well over $20.00 to fill the tank. I will not buy another Focus SVT again.
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 23 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
170 hp @ 7000 rpm
MPG
18 city / 23 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
170 hp @ 7000 rpm
See all Used 2003 Ford Focus SVT 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 SVT Overview

The Used 2003 Ford Focus SVT is offered in the following styles: 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 SVT?

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