2003 Ford Focus MP3 1.8 petrol from UK and Ireland


Pure driving pleasure!


Central locking on drivers door failed, repaired immediately by dealer.

Tailgate developed rattle, dealer adjusted it at service.

Rattle from behind instrument panel, not yet repaired.

General Comments:

Not the quickest 1.8 on the road, but it can still put a smile on your face when you give it some! Handling is excellent, better than both the Golf & Astra, it just loves cornering. Ride comfort is good, even though it comes with 17" low profile tyres as standard.

Interior trim quality could be better, but does seem well put together. Interior cabin space is good, boot space is also good.

Fuel economy is OK providing you keep below 3000rpm which is easier said than done! On average I get between 28-30MPG, a hell of a lot less if you cane it though.

On the whole it delivers everything you ask of it and a little bit more!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th February, 2005

26th Jan 2010, 10:58

Update from original reviewer.

Now up to 60k miles, owned from 8k. still as good as gold. Have so far only had to pay out for a new suspension coil spring, due to a huge pot hole (not cars fault!) and a light bulb for the dipped beam in the near 5 years of ownership. So been a very trusty reliable motor. No creaks or squeaks or rattles, far better than my previous VW's that never even made it to this mileage.

Upgrading to a new ST, so unfortunately it's got to go, but it will be a sad farewell, and hope it brings some joy to its new owner :)

2003 Ford Focus Zetec 2.0 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Apart from interior plastics, seats and dealers, it's nigh on perfect!


Only one actual fault - a rattling tailgate which was adjusted by the dealer and has been fine ever since.

Gearbox oil leak caused by incompetent servicing at the dealer.

General Comments:

Excellent car let down only by poor dealers and some cheap and nasty interior plastics.

Still a thoroughly superb drive with a fantastic ride/handling compromise, lots of steering feel and great brakes. Even the gearbox is slick. You get the impression that the people who set up this car really care about driving. Performance is good, although maybe not as good as you might think given the power output and size of car.

The car is practical with good space inside and a large boot. The seats fold totally flat for large loads, and interior noise levels are low. Unfortunately, the interior is where the Focus shows its age however, with poor seats giving no shoulder support at all, and cheap, hard plastics everywhere. Build quality is good though, and it all feels very well screwed together.

Since the warranty ran out, I've stopped using Ford dealers. They are usually merely indifferent, but I (or rather my car) was the victim of two separate acts of unbelievable incompetence. The first was when they "forgot" to refit the gearbox oil level plug (causing an oil leak which was thankfully caught in time). Naturally I never went back there, but during the next service at another dealer, some idiot mixed up my locking wheelnut key with another car's which subsequently left me unable to change a punctured tyre (the AA guy had a master key, thankfully!). Got a gruff verbal apology and that was my lot!

It was this, plus getting sick of paying through the nose to have the car returned unwashed with oily finger prints all over it, and never being able to get a courtesy car that made me start getting the car serviced myself, with major work being entrusted to an excellent local independent. No small garage has a problem with working on a Focus, and my local mechanic tells me they're "bloody brilliant motors to work on". Maybe now I won't get charged UKP 4.20 + VAT for topping the screenwash up, and finding out two days later that they just used tap water. Incidentally, OEM Ford oils, filters and spares are available through many independent specialists for about 2/3 of dealer prices.

Purely in terms of the car itself though, if it were stolen or written off tomorrow, I'd buy another without hesitation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st February, 2005