2003 Ford Focus Futura 1.6i from Romania


Great maneuvrability, a true driver's car; but with nagging electrical problems


The engine burns over 1 liter of oil per 10000 kms - apparently this is a common problem for this type. Thankfully, engine performance and fuel consumption are not affected.

Then there's some electrical faults: when I bought it, the (original) alternator died, taking with it the main instrument cluster. Front low beam bulbs fail every 2-3 months. Rear fog lamp stopped working. Otherwise, it's a very good ride.

General Comments:

Fun to drive on twisting roads. Chuck it into the corners, and it will eagerly take them. Suspension and feedback are great, and revving the engine is a pleasure; it's very responsive.

Economical on highways and open roads, with decent fuel consumption (6.5l/100km). There's adequate space for people in the back; and with the rear seats folded, a lot of cargo space.

The heated windscreen is a blessing in winter; it will de-fog it in 1 minute, and melt ice in 2-3 minutes. A must have, in hard winter areas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2013

2003 Ford Focus SE from North America




Horrible cooling problem.

Plastic thermostat housing corroded at about 86,000. VERY NOTORIOUS FOR THIS.

Plastic heater core hose splitter crumbled at about 90,000.

Driver's seat latch broke.

Left light behind gauges doesn't work.

Blower motor resistor always goes bad; it's on its 3rd one.

General Comments:

Good gas mileage.

Terrible ride.

Very noisy; vibrates a lot just idling.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th January, 2013

19th Apr 2021, 14:09

In the UK these are known as reliable cars. Sounds like you guys in the USA got a bad deal; quality control must be non-existent.

2003 Ford Focus ZTW 2.0 Zetec from North America


Would have bought another, but Ford stopped making a wagon!


Winter package included heated mirrors, which stopped working in the first year. Heated seats overheated and were fixed under warranty. No problem thereafter.

Third different Ford to need a new fuel pump under 150,000kms. Excuse from the dealer is these new-fangled high pressure pumps don't like near empty gas tanks. Kept mine above 1/4 full after that.

ABS went after 200,000kms. No effect on braking, so didn't bother fixing.

Went through two starters and three alternators in 6 1/2 years of ownership. First replacement, I was stranded in mid-January, snow storm, late at night on a highway frequented by logging trucks. The charge light never came on; the car just died!

Ford claimed no maintenance for 200,000kms. Finally replaced timing belt after 230,000kms.

General Comments:

Used this vehicle for 6 years travel over every back road Western Canada created, and some that were just mud tracks to oil pumps. Worked much better in reverse to get through deep snow and slop. Was easily looking forward to accumulating 400,000kms, when it was totalled at low speed by a F250 4x4.

Curse Ford for discontinuing the wagon. Moved a lot of stuff in that thing. Great height and length.

Curse Ford for dumping the Zetec 2.0L. It was a great motor.

Leather seats were comfortable and durable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th October, 2012

10th Feb 2013, 10:50

I've had an SE wagon for over a year and love it. It now has 133,000 miles on it and runs sweet. The only needed maintenance was a leaky thermostat housing, but that's a common, easy flaw.

I'd buy another in a heartbeat

2003 Ford Focus from North America


Lots of Friday car


Problems :

- Rattle noise.

- Accelerator pedal sticking.

- Engine management light (some lambda sensor).

- Dashboard light flickering.

- Accelerator pedal vibrating.

- Fog in headlights.

- Speedo light not working.

- More rattle noise from front and underneath.

General Comments:

This car seems so-so. If you are a mechanic and can lift your car with a hydraulic lift, this car should be no problem, but I am not a mechanic. I also don't feel safe with all the body roll.

The AC is good, and the space is also good. But the car seems so cheaply made; so many rattles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th October, 2011

2003 Ford Focus Zetec 1.8 TDDI turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Nice to drive, looking forward to seeing how it goes


I'll get the negative points out of the way first.

The interior design still looks great IMO, but you can tell it was make of only 'okay' materials.. there are a couple of creaks around the cabin, and feel of some of the controls is poor - the internal door handles for example, feel like they are going to snap each time you use them, they're really stiff, then they click as the catch is opened, feels very brittle, each door is the same, and most Focii I've driven are like this.

The door trim on the passenger side door has actually come away around the handle. It looks like it's been glued back on before, and it's heading that way again methinks.


The stereo sound isn't great.. but I think I'll maybe have to play with the settings a bit more before I can say it's not a good unit.

There's a couple of very small areas where rust is just starting to make an appearance on the rear wheel arches, bit disappointing, but not totally unexpected as this age, especially from a Ford who still can't seem to get rid of the issue of rust where others can.

The remote key fob isn't great. It didn't seem to work when I got it, so I put a brand new battery in - it's 'hitty-missy', the buttons most of the time need a few presses before anything happens. Could be the key that is dodgy rather than anything else.

As expected the engine is quite noisy, especially when cold.

..Oh, and there's a creak from under the front of the car, mainly when turning left at any speed. Creak is the perfect description for it.. it's like a creaky door being opened slowly... "creeaaaaaak" Possibly happens on right hand turns to, but definitely on left turns mainly, need to get it looked at.

General Comments:

As mentioned, the interior looks good, and you can see that time was spent thinking about where to put things. The columns stalks fall exactly to your fingers, and are nice to use, the gearstick and pedals are where you'd expect them, the steering wheel and drivers seat are multi-adjustable to get a good driving position - it's simply stuff that any car maker should get right, but not many feel this 'right' so early on.

The steering wheel is leather bound, and feels great to use, the steering is also very nice, as predicted, quite weighty and with a 'tight' feel on the straight-ahead, which gives it a very planted stable feel when travelling straight, no slack is what I mean, I suppose.

The gearchange is quite good, especially for a diesel, which I feel usually have the poor relation feeling change.

The ride is quite good. It's a little bit fidgety, I think the Zetec has firmer suspension than the LX, but is not too firm. I haven't had the chance to take the car for a proper 'drive' yet, but I can feel that independent rear suspension working, the rear wheels feeling around into the road to keep traction, with excellent damping. It really does give the car a secure feel, you can literally drive along the same stretch of road that you're used to, at the same speed as you're used to, and the car just goes without trying; it's smooth, grippy and confident. Looking forward to going for some longer drives on some good roads.

The engine quietens down during driving, but doesn't let you forget that it's one of the older generation. This has good and bad bits. The bad bits are that it's quite vocal when pressed when most newer diesels aren't. The good bits are that it has plenty of torque right from 1500 revs, when many new diesels driver more like petrols, you need to rev more to get more.

No point revving too much in this, the power and torque's all gone not far above 3500 revs.

I could never describe it as a quick car, but it's actually pretty decent, it gives a nice medium sized splodge of steady-as-she-goes pull up inclines, never blowing you away, but quietly impressive I must say.

Disappointly boomy at 70mph, but quieter at 50-60.

Tyre noise from the front of the car especially, even at low speeds. I'd read about this, so was expecting it, it's pretty much as I thought, a little louder than you'd like, but not too intrusive.

Unlike the Punto, this car doesn't have a trip computer, so I don't know what mpg it's done, or can do. I will have to use the good old fashioned accurate method after a fill up.

The space in the car is about right, it's big enough for me to sit in the back without feeling too squashed, we've tried the pram in the boot and it fits (just!).

So, my early report is good, the car hasn't blown me away as I pretty much knew what to expect, but it has pleased me, and has begun to confirm what a good all round car these are reported to be.

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

Review Date: 26th April, 2011

28th Apr 2012, 04:18

An update from the original owner, a further 10,000 miles in.

The car is still performing well. It's only ever done less than 50 mpg once, and that was due to mainly urban driving. Usually it does 52-55 mpg, and when I really, really tried a few months ago, I got 62.7 mpg average for the whole tank, which I was very pleased with.

It passes its MOT with some advisories, the front suspension bushes are starting to go, and the rear tyres are wearing more on the inside edges - it seems a common issue mentioned in a lot of Focus reviews here and on the web.

I've just noticed the reverse light has stopped working, and a new bulb didn't fix it, so it must be the switch; need to get that looked at.

The creaking from the front stopped not long after I got it. It seems the more you use it, the less it creaks. When I left it for a few days once, the creak came back.. but after a few days use it had gone again.

Still a great car to drive, really need to find an excuse (and fuel money) to take it out for a proper drive again; the handling and ride get better the faster you go; it's a car that feels like it's been made to drive fast!

The rust on the rear wheel arch has got worse. It's becoming a bit unsightly now, so I think I'll need to get it sorted soon. There is also a bit of rust behind each wing mirror. Quite disappointing really, I see a lot older cars with zero rust, even Focii.

The interior trim problems mentioned originally are still there, but it's holding together. Stopped using the remote as it became more 'missy' than 'hitty'.

Still enjoying the car, it's good on fuel, is nice to drive, and is spacious enough for the three of us.

26th May 2015, 12:08

Original reviewer again.

I had to sell the Focus a while ago, times were hard and we had to sell. However, I still rate it as one of the best cars (of the 19!) I've had. Very probably the best 'all rounder' - fun, practical, good on fuel, comfortable, reliable. So much so... that I'd like another. Most are very tired now though... and the clean ones aren't cheap considering they're getting on now...