2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0 Zetec from North America


The most fun you can have with 13 grand!


The rear wiper stopped working a week after I got it, turns out the computer threw a code, I took it to the dealer and haven't had a problem with it since.

General Comments:

This car is a lot of fun to drive! its one of the best handling cars I've driven.

I'm very impressed with the standard options, mine came with a 130hp engine, 16 inch alloys with a set of Firestone fire hawk tires, a leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, fog lights and a great stereo that plays Cd's and MP3's it sounds fantastic for a factory unit. to get the same options on a Honda civic or Toyota corolla you would pay at least 3-5grand more.

The build quality is pretty good for an American car, no rattles or squeaks so far. there is however some wind noise at higher speeds, but it isn't nearly as bad as my Mustang was.

The seats kinda suck, but they aren't horrible. for a cheap car they're decent.

The engine is peppy, good on gas, and works great for around town. but it's a little lacking at highway speeds, its usually not a bad idea to downshift to fourth or sometimes even third if you want to pass someone.

Get this car with a stick! its more fun to drive and you get better gas millage with it. trust me!

Overall I'm very happy with my focus!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th May, 2004

2003 Ford Focus SE 2.3 l4 from North America


Money pit?


At 2500 miles, the car started to stall right after it was started. Sometimes, it takes about 3 minutes to get it to fire. Dealer can't find any code in the computer, so they won't fix it.

AT 4000 miles, the heating system had to be replaced. (it leaked water inside the heat box) When I would start it in the winter and turn on the heat, water would blow into the car and immediately freeze everything!!!

At 6250 miles, the driver side wiper started skipping across the windshield. First, the dealer adjusted the wiper arm. Then about 2 days later it happened again. Took it back and they replaced the blade. At 10,500 miles and 5 trips back to the dealer it is still skipping across the windshield!!!

The car has been out of alignment since the first week. Pulls hard left. Dealer can't find any problem.

The blaupunkt radio always has static in all the radio stations. I can't get a clear signal from anywhere.

General Comments:

The car is very comfortable and I love to drive it. But I don't know if I can live with the constant problems it is giving me!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th May, 2004

21st Jun 2004, 19:52

Your problems are EXACTLY why I've become very shy of the North American manufacturers. Too bad their attitude is "What's gone wrong is your fault".

Contrast that with the Nissan / Toyota / Honda approach: "There is a problem with this car, let's fix it."

There's some interesting new North American product out there, but the same old dealers with the same old attitudes are delivering it.

2003 Ford Focus Zetec 1.8 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Practical, entertaining and reliable family transport


Temperature gauge went faulty at 12,000 miles. Fixed first time under warranty.

Creak from tailgate over bumps appeared around the 20k mark - fixed first time under warranty.

General Comments:

Fabulous car. Lively performance, good economy (35 mpg av) and fantastic handling.

Great "dual role" car. Practical and reliable for carting the kids about and doing the shopping yet entertaining enough to warrant going out for a blast on your own just for the sake of it. With the best will in the world, you wouldn't do that in a Golf or Astra, but the Focus rewards hard driving in spades. Still a sharp looker too.

Gripes are confined to just two things. Firstly the interior plastics look a bit cheap after my previous mk4 Golf, although the endless problems I had with that car show the core engineering isn't much cop. Secondly, the seats aren't the best after a couple of hundred miles.

Other than that, it meets or exceeds every criteria for an affordable family hatch. It's full of really thoughtful touches too. I really like the fog light switch that resets to off when you turn off the headlights, for example. Also the heated windscreen with heated washer jets, the steering wheel that adjusts for reach as well as rake, and the brilliant speed sensitive power steering which makes a mockery of the latest technological breakthrough being trumpeted by VW for the mk5 Golf's steering. The Golf has a tenth of the Focus's feel and weighting.

As a package, and especially if you enjoy driving rather than just wafting from A to B, the Focus is still the pick of the class. Buy one before they ruin it with the new model which is bound to be heavier, slower and duller.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2004