2003 Ford Focus 2.3 from North America


A super first car for a college student, and still fun for Dad :)


Automatic transmission was leaking when purchased.

Needed all new brakes when purchased. Shouldn't happen at only 23,000 miles.

Blaupunkt radio froze up, flashing off and on, which apparently is a known problem with these Blaupunkt's with CD/MP3 player. Apparently a problem with the RDS function that causes the radio to lock up. It's an easy problem to solve.

General Comments:

I bought this car for my daughter, a student in college. It was pre-owned, but with low mileage, 23000 miles. So I expected it to be pretty much problem free, not expecting the above noted issues. The dealer has been terrific working with us to correct all these issues, and it is now problem free.

The car is a joy to ride. It has terrific pickup, the ride is comfortable, and the handling is super.

I'm a fairly big guy, and it is quite comfortable for me, when my daughter lets me drive it.

The 2.3L 4 cylinder wants to go. It is an extremely fun car to drive.

I just hope we're done with these issues. But it was a pre-owned vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th June, 2005

19th Aug 2006, 22:10

Ford Focus Blaupunkt radio problem power cycle on and off.

This happened to me as well, and I found the following fix... months of no radio just because of bad timing.



I haven't yet got around to writing up a web page on this issue, but I do have the scans of the issue from Blaupunkt. It turns out it's a bug in the radio firmware that occurs when you are setting a radio preset with RDS on when the station is sending blank text for the station name. This often happens when the station scrolls between station name, artist name and track name in the RDS information.

7th Sep 2006, 19:34

My wife and I experienced this problem with the RDS function today. This site saved us from purchasing a new radio from Ford. We took our 2003 Ford Focus SE Comfort to a local Wichita, KS dealer to have them look at it. After a few minutes, the mechanic came back with a replacement solution as the only solution. After taking just as long to Google the problem, I came across this very helpful site.

13th Sep 2006, 21:37


I just found this web-page. Same operation, same failure. Yesterday a Ford dealer removed my radio and sent it to the radio manufacturer. It already costs me $150 for the diagnosis. Today I was told they can repair it for $260 total (diagnosis cost included). I think I will let them repair it because if the posted recovery does not work (I am not sure the quick turn on-off mode let me the time to do the repair procedure) then I will have spent my money for nothing.


3rd Oct 2006, 17:03

Using: http://focus.noegruts.com/blaupunkt/blaupunkt1.jpg I just got my radio to work again. It no longer flashes on or off. Thank you for whoever found this information. You saved me at least $200.

Very grateful.

2003 Ford Focus SE.

27th Oct 2006, 14:37

These links to the solution don't work. Can somebody copy and paste the solution?

28th Oct 2006, 20:30

Okay... the link above doesn't want to work, but I found it on another site...

Put a CD into your stereo... then pull the fuse... put the fuse back in and the stereo should then start reading the cd and playing... using your menu button go to system default reset... and you're done.

Man... I went all that way without my radio for such an easy fix--and my local Ford Dealership wanted $400 to replace it... wow.

Good luck!

2003 Ford Focus LX 1.8 TDDi turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Tough, well built and great fun to drive


When I collected the car, it drove OK, but felt more sluggish than the estate version of the car I had before. Thirstier too, with fuel consumption in the high 30's instead of mid-high 40's. I also noticed the brakes lacked bite. No great surprise really when I checked the service book - it had done 35k since its last service. Oh and the oil level was half way between minimum and the bottom of the dipstick!

General Comments:

I have to say, this old Endura DI might be an outdated, clattery old tractor of an engine, but is is seriously tough. Despite a 12,500 mile service interval, the previous keeper of this car couldn't be bothered to book it in for a service meaning it did nearly 3x that. To add insult to injury, it had been driving around with about 3 litres of oil in the sump for whoever knows how long.

After a thorough service it drives superbly. The part throttle pick up has improved immeasurably, and fuel consumption has improved to the 45-48 mpg which this model is supposed to cover. The poor brake performance was traced to horrendously worn pads and discs which, now bedded in, slow the car in a confidence inspiring way without being overly sharp. I can't think of many diesel engines that would run relatively happily for 35,000 miles, many of those with low oil level, and still clatter on regardless.

As with my two previous Focii, the car itself is a pleasure to drive. The interior looks cheap like it does on all mk1 Focuses, but in its defence, it does feel very tightly screwed together, and does not emit a hint of a creak or rattle from anywhere over even the most brutal surfaces.

This hatch has more agile handling than my previous estate, which I expected. Does seem keener to oversteer though - have had a couple of "moments" already, particularly in the wet and not through lifting either. The rear will break away without provocation. It's not too bad to catch and recover thanks to the superb steering, although it has to be said that the soft throttle response of the diesel engine does not lend itself to "on the limit" motoring. A shame because this chassis really is a peach.

Tough, reliable, safe, affordable family motoring with a dose of fun to boot. Badge snobbery and short term residuals apart, don't waste your time looking at anything else in this class.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2005