2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0 16v DOHC Zetec (3) from North America


Superb Car for the Price


Well, other than the damage I have caused from wrecks...

Horn fell off the mount about 2 days after I bought the car, but I just swiped a bolt from work and stuck it in there, left me alone since (the connector didn't break despite the horn hanging there at freeway speeds).

CD/MP3 player ignores song/displays wrong track/has severe skipping intermittently. It usually goes away by going back one song then back to the other song.

Power Steering leak developed at 24,000 miles. Ford fixed it no questions asked and it didn't cost me a dime.

General Comments:

The car accelerates pretty good for a 4-cylinder, and can beat most Civics.

MTX-75 manual shifts smoothly and the clutch engagement is very smooth.

Wish Blaupunkdt spent another year bug testing the CD/MP3 player, radio doesn't pick up frequencies as well as all other radios I've had in cars. CD/MP3 player glitches intermittently. Other than that the sound is incredible for a stock system, puts a lot of aftermarket systems to shame.

Cruise Control is smooth and doesn't jerk or hesitate.

Braking and steering are efficient and quick at low speeds, however the brakes are very sensitive at high speeds (very easy to lock up without ABS) and the steering becomes unstable at 85 m.p.h. and above... needs another degree of caster.

Tires grip well and last long.

Seats are very comfortable and the ride is very smooth.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep at the wheel at 3,000 miles (didn't even do my first oil change and I nearly killed it). I destroyed the driver side suspension, but Ford fixed it and it hasn't developed any other side problems.

Price is very reasonable ($15,500) and had more options than my friend's Cavalier ($16,400) of the same year. Fog Lights, 16" aluminum wheels, CD/MP3 audio, cruise control, coded key ignition system.

Overall, this car has taken a lot of abuse (destroyed driver side suspension and torn off front bumper cover) and still runs strong and like new. This is the first new car I've gotten, and I'm happy with the way Ford handled the power steering leak. I highly recommend this car to anyone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th February, 2005

11th Dec 2005, 13:33

ARGH! It may not be as great of a car as I originally thought. At 40,000 miles (4,000 miles after the warranty expired, mind you), a piece of trim flew off on the freeway, it developed an EGR valve leak that causes the idle to lope and almost stall intermittently (and caused my MPG's to drop 5 points), and my ignition lock cylinder seized up on me (all in the span of 1,000 miles). The trim I can do myself, no big deal, the EGR SHOULD be covered by Federal Law, but Ford is thinking otherwise, and the ignition lock cylinder (since it's equipped with PATS and microchip keys), is going to cost $600. I heard I'm not the only Focus Owner with this problem either. Ford should recall and replace the lock cylinders for free.

2003 Ford Focus TDCi 1.8 turbo diesel (115bhp) from UK and Ireland


A very 'Complete' car for the money


The electronic relay on the front wipers broke, but this was replaced under warranty by the local Ford dealer.

The front passenger-door speaker very occasionally stopped working; this is usually curable with a quick thump...

General Comments:

I have to admit that, before I test-drove the Focus, I doubted that I would like it.

The drive is surprisingly good; solid and stable with plenty of power from 2000 revs-per-minute onwards, but it sometimes feels like it needs a few more horses under the bonnet, so I'm hoping superchips will help me out on that one at some point soon.

Handling is GREAT for a car of its size - it managed the winding roads of the English Lake District and Pennine hills with consummate ease - the incident with the hump-back bridge was a one-off!

Having owned a 2.5 V6 Mondeo I was surprised that, by comparison, the Focus seems a far better all-round drive; basically due to it performing quite well in almost all areas. It is also far cheaper to run!

Its fuel economy is pretty good, though I've not reached anywhere near the Ford-quoted figure of 50.1 miles/gallon! It's perhaps my driving, but I don't think so!

The interior is functional, but little more than that. The velour upholstery is OK, whilst the plastic panelling is fairly solid, but, again, no more than just "OK". Dials and displays are clear and accessible enough.

The 6-disc multi-change stereo was appalling! It could just have been a flawed unit, but I replaced it very quickly with an MP3 unit.

The climate-control, more-or-less a thermostat controlling the heater/air-con, appears rather poor at keeping a constant environment, often producing a cold blast of air just when you were starting to get cosy on a cold morning's commute.

I feel like I'm really niggling to mention the minor flaws, but that's all they are. Minor. This has been a really good buy in my opinion, especially to think that running costs are so much lower; rather than spending 40GBP a week on fuel, I'm now spending 35GBP every 10-11 days.

Overall, I feel this car has been great value, doing pretty much everything I wanted from it. There are few cars that matched it for the combination of reasonable capital cost, running costs and performance - I've no doubt it isn't easy to bring those three features together in the way the Focus has, but I'm grateful to the designers for knocking this one together.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2005

5th May 2005, 12:47

I wish that Ford would bring the Diesel powered Focus to the United States. Or Diesel powered anything for that matter. The only Diesel option in the U.S. is either a big Pickup Truck (F250 Powerstroke) or GM or dodge's version, and Volkswagen has the Jetta, Golf, Beetle, and Passat TDI. other than that, Diesel is for the big rig trucks here. 50MPG is somthing left for the Hybrid cars.