2003 Ford Focus st170 2.0ltr from UK and Ireland


Funky sexy machine


Nothing went wrong with the car at all. If maintained properley, things shouldn't go wrong with the worst of cars.

General Comments:

Cars are like people, if you take care of the body, it will take care of you. As a Ford registered Master Technician, every module update and Octane ratings have been set and I have gone out of my way to set the trackings and learn about what makes this particular engine happy. I'm appalled to hear such bad reviews on this site. Come on Focus owners, give them some TLC and you will be a winner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th November, 2005

2nd Jan 2006, 14:01

If you're a ford technician you should know how shoddy these cars are, as a trained technician myself in the years of workmanship I seen how these cars are built and testing and so on, and would never purchase.

7th May 2006, 15:18

Mine did 115,000 miles on routine services only. Never broke down, failed to start or had anything beyond a couple of blown bulbs go wrong with it. Still drove brilliantly at the end. All the stuff inside still worked. Used half a litre of oil between services, same as it did pretty much from new, sweet as a nut, no rattles inside. Shoddy? Mine wasn't. Much better built than the mk4 Golf GTI 1.8T that it replaced.

Needed more power, but boy did it handle.

16th May 2006, 06:43

I agree with Mastertechs point about looking after the car and it will look after you.

I am on my second Focus, the current one on 76k and both have been very reliable.

Ford have great build quality and reliability!

2nd Nov 2006, 22:38

I agree that the ST170 is a super handling car, but found the reliability and build quality to be very poor. I finally abandoned my 02 car at the dealers after they were unable to fix a string of problems which started to occur as soon as the car was delivered - maybe been a Friday afternoon car (Beware AU02WXO!)

2003 Ford Focus SVT 2.0 DOHC L4 from North America


Best bang for the buck - Sporty and still practical


My car has been through two other owners, and it seems to have had the interior bits ripped out, then stuck back on. Everything has been replaced under factory warranty, so all the little bits (like handles and such) have been replaced.

The clutch is known to wear out prematurely on this car, but Ford released a Technical Service Bulletin for revised clutch parts and assembly. I had to have the clutch replaced (basically the entire transmission actually), but it was free of charge. So far, the car seems to be very reliable.

General Comments:

When I first purchased this car, I wasn't as excited about owning it, even though I spent about two months finding the right one. It just grew on me, and I love this car, but with good reasons.

I fell in love with the Focus from watching the WRC (World Rally Championship) and reading the articles about it in magazines like Car and Driver. I used to just despise this car, but with time and reading, I just couldn't deny what everyone was saying.

I never really thought I'd wind up buying this car, but after I finally test drove one back in February (2005, same year I'm writing this) I was sold. The car just gives the driver confidence. The steering is precise and responsive. The body rolls a little, but the car never loses its feet (great multi-link rear suspension). It's also a relatively light car (weighing just under 2800lbs), giving it very agile behavior.

This is not a car you drag around in. Getting a good roll-out on this car is hard, and the gearing is just too tall to get the car in the powerband where it needs to be. Take it to an autocross or a track, and the gearing seems to make more sense. This car was made to be driven around corners, and it does it well. It lacks a limited-slip differential, but with out an abundant amount of torque, it's not necessarily missed. Not to mention the grip in the car is phenomenal, and when running on high performance tires, the car is glued to the road.

I think one of my favorite things about this car is the way it responds when pushed to the limit. The car rarely has understeer - mostly when pushed hard through low speed corners - but simply let off the gas to reacquire the line you were looking for. Though high speed sweepers the car is neutral and pushed hard enough, the rear end will step out in an easy control drift. I've never seen a front-wheel drive car that could be pushed into oversteer so easily and intentionally.

If you have the option when looking for a Focus SVT, try to purchase 2003 or newer. Based on Consumer Reports (2005), the 2003 and 2004 models received almost perfect reliability ratings. And if you're wanting the car to actually drive it the way it was built and intended, I'd track down the European Appearance Package with the Dark Argent alloy wheels - but most importantly - the deep bucket Recaro seats. The Recaros offer much better side-bolstering than the standard SVT's seat, and the all black interior looks a little more upscale.

This car is a great all around car. It has excellent trunk space with the fold down rear seats (I can fit two bikes at least in the back of my Focus) and good fuel economy. It also offers an awesome chassis and suspension that can be used for the weekend track runs or autocrosses, without sacrificing everyday driveability.

Drive it, you'll most likely want to buy it. Also with Ford's bad resale value, you can pick up a used Focus SVT for cheap. Do some research and find average values, and you'll save a lot of money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th September, 2005