2002 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0 litre from North America


Could have been the perfect car, but something went terribly wrong


Transaxle has eaten 2nd gear twice, despite replacement (1st time) and rebuilding (2nd time).

Car seems to eat pads and rotors every 15,000 miles.

Car also eats tires. You're lucky to get more than 20,000 miles out of a set of 40,000 mile tires.

General Comments:

After owning a Ford Contour, which was nearly flawless, I decided to trade in for a Focus while it was in for alternator replacement. I had a very good experience from the Contour, as it had been a Ford of Europe product that was adapted for the United States, and assumed that since the focus has the same pedigree, it would be the same experience. I was wrong.

The car is on it's third transmission. Despite being the same manual transaxle as used on the Contour (MTX-75), the focus seems to eat through them quicker than the Contour did. Both of the prior transaxle failures were due to 2nd gear wearing to nothing, and now the car is working on needing a third transmission. I never experienced this issue with the Contour, despite the same clutch/transaxle combo.

The car has excellent handling and braking, unfortunately the brakes wear out too quickly (15,000 miles).

The layout of controls and feel of said controls is great. Everything fits in my hand perfectly, and is in easy reach.

It's larger than it looks, which makes the 3 door hatchback the perfect delivery vehicle.

The seats, while great for short drives, are incredibly uncomfortable if you spend more than 2 hours in them, and the padding degrades quickly.

The car had the potential to be perfect, somehow something went really wrong in development. The brakes wear too quickly, it eats tires, and the seat cushion material degrades too quickly.

It's better for around town driving and short trips, the interior is not suited for any kind of distance driving.

One saving grace is that the car drives very well in snowy, winter climates. Sadly, the heater takes too long to produce any warm air.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th January, 2005

27th Apr 2005, 11:07

Have you found any one else who has had the problems with the tires? I have had to put 12! tires on my 2002 ZTX focus in less than 30,000 miles or normal driving!

14th Jul 2005, 02:50

Why don't you avoid budget tyres & make sure you keep them inflated at the correct pressure - they may last longer then!

5th Jun 2006, 19:44

And also don't floor it, cuz it wears out your tires...


29th Dec 2007, 04:59

I have had so many problems with my 2002 Focus, that I would not recommend it to anybody, it has just 120,000km AND!!: The transmission is gone, moon roof doesn't work properly, stabilizer bars gone at 45,000km, windshield wipers motor burned at 90,000km, all FOUR! wheel bearings have been replaced already. Rotors and breaks pads replaced twice already. This pretty lemon does not impress me at all. In my 45 years old I have driven many vehicles and I will swear that this one have been the worst!

2002 Ford Focus ST170 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Faster than people say it is. Awesome


The gear linkage cable snapped after 2 weeks of ownership. Car taken to ford repair center, then I had to beg, and wait 3 hours for a courtesy car.

Inlet manifold module cable snapped (ford cables are weak!) waited 2 weeks for the part, got a loan car much easier this time.

At same time a light came on in the dash so they rebooted and upgraded the cars software. Runs like a dream now!

General Comments:

Forgetting the initial problems, this is a very nice car to own. It is comfortable on long journeys due to its supple ride quality, and down country lanes is impreza or evo quick due to its awesome handling and grip. The chassis balance is staggering.

The cars gearbox is an absolute joy, smooth, precise and well weighted with a mechanical feel. The ratios are wide for a 6 speed box, but that's never a problem.

One line for the steering. It's like a Porsche, what more can I say.

Ignore the 170 (actually 172bhp), it drives more like 185! I have timed 0-60 in just under 7 seconds, and 17 seconds to 100mph! very good indeed, power above 5000 rpm to the 7200 cut out is very good, a bit like a vtec!

The look of the car is understated, meaning it looks sporty, without shouting "I'm an idiot, and wanna race" it has the advantage of being a bit of a stealth machine.

The interior is comfy with all the kit I want, or even need, and is well screwed together with a very good sound system.

Consumption is about 330 miles to a mixed driving style tank full of unleaded, but super unleaded makes it a bit more nippy!

I recommend this car to anyone with a £10k budget for a fast yet practical car without being uncomfortable. I LOVE THIS CAR.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th November, 2004

17th Nov 2004, 03:06

This car has been timed at 8.6sec to 60mph and 24.3sec to 100mph! Slow if you ask me..

I like your overblown claims though! lol.

23rd Nov 2004, 12:48

Who got 24.6 seconds for the 100 mph sprint???

Evo magazine got 8.2 and 23.2 seconds in 2002.

But when they retested the car a few months ago, they got 8.0 seconds to 60mph and 20.8 seconds to 100 mph.