2003 Ford Focus ZTS 2.0 from North America


Offers nice handling and a tight ride


I have not had any problems with the Focus.

The only nuisance is that I have to pull pretty hard on the door handle when I want to unlatch the door.

General Comments:

Overall, I really like the car. It has a peppy little motor, handles very well, and what I like most is the tightness of the car and the handling. The interior is comfortable, and I feel the materials fit/finish is above average. My car is pretty much loaded with options and I am happy that it's loaded; the traction control, 16 inch sport wheels, and sunroof add a lot to the car. My only criticism is rear visibility, but I have noticed that most newer cars seem to have poor rear visibility.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2004

2003 Ford Focus SVT from North America


The driving definition of a pocket rocket


Nothing has really gone wrong with my SVT Focus, but there is a couple of events worth mentioning:

1. Ford released a Technical Service Bulleting requiring the "re-flash" or in other words "reload" of the computer module. The dealer at the first service stop fixed this and there was a big change in the engine performance for the better.

2. The same day I was taking the car for its first service I noted an unusual sound while depressing the clutch. I mentioned to the dealer and the whole clutch was replaced, no question asked, no problems ever since. Both events occurred at the same time about one year ago.

General Comments:

This is the American equivalent to Europe's ST170. I like the SVT looks much better.

Even though the SVT Focus is a very understated car, it looks really good. I got praise from the Valet Parking guy at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. At first I thought he was kidding me. But no, he wasn't.

Full of amenities and safety features only available in much more expensive cars (i.e. heated seats, side air bags, traction control, etc.)

Power is amazing and is great to have it ready available at high speeds. It could use some more low-end torque, though.

The cabin is really nice, considering the Focus low budget origins. I especially like the leather and cloth seats. I will look for this feature in my next car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th September, 2004

2003 Ford Focus from North America


A great car


This is a great car. Although there were a few problems.

The gearshift broke off at 10,000 miles.

It's slow to pick up speed.

The seatbelt reminder is the most annoying thing in the world.

The interior is great and so is the body. A very smart and dependable car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2004

2003 Ford Focus ZX3 Zetec 2.0 Zetec from North America


Great style, good fuel economy, good comfort, great car!


Second day of ownership, the fuel gauge quit, then started working properly. The day after, the fuel gauge did the same thing.

At around 2,000 miles the engine would stall out when started after a short trip.

I take my car in at 14,000 miles for service and come to find out my tires are wearing badly. One tire was feathering.

Since 10,000 miles the engine will shudder, or act like it wants to stall when coming to a stop.

And 2 weeks ago, about 24,900 miles, my belt started to screech when I start the engine.

General Comments:

I love the engine performance. Acceleration is quick for being 4 cylinder.

Fuel economy is good, but could be better.

I really like the interior, it is roomy enough and is laid out nicely.

The handling is very good, crisp and sporty.

This car is very fun to drive.

I don't like bumpy roads in this car, the rear end likes to "loose grip" if you will. It shifts slightly side to side when I hit minor bumps.

I've replaced 2 tires because of the Firestone tires that are on the car. They have a case of rapid wear syndrome. I replaced 2 tires at 15,000 miles because the tires were so horribly feathered my fuel mileage went down, not to mention they gave a horrible ride.

I'm still working on getting 2 more tires. Ford wouldn't do anything about the tires so I'm having to buy them myself of course and these tires aren't cheap!

I like the styling of the Focus ZX3 and the black accents against the Cloud 9 White paint. It's cool in the summer, too.

I have a gripe about the sloppy shifting the automatic transmission has. It is a bit rough, but gets me through the gears. It jumps into gear rather than shifting into gear, but I don't bother to take it to Ford since there has never been enough "evidence" to prove there is a problem with the car.

Overall this is a nice car. I like the ZX3 model much better than the sedan model.

I would recommend this car to anyone who likes American made cars. If you have a foreign made car, keep it or go with another foreign made car. You'll be happier.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th August, 2004

6th Aug 2004, 10:16

This American made Focus you talk of doesn't exist. The Focus was designed by Ford Europe and is built in Germany. I believe it was never intended to be exported to the US, but it was so successful and Ford US was loosing so much money they decided to give it a go.

You are right though; the Saloon (or Sedan as you call it) is pig ugly.