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2003 Focus

 Features & Options
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New for 2003

  • ZX5 now available in three trim levels
  • Two new contemporary interior fabrics
  • New heated front seat and heated mirror option
  • New available traction control and ABS package
  • New gray headlamp surrounds
  • Silver instrument cluster and color-keyed trim on premium trims
  • CD/MP3 audio player standard on ZX3, ZX5
  • New design of 16-inch alloy wheel
  • Optional perimeter alarm
  • Improved interior quietness
  • Better engine response due to new throttle body calibrations
  • Improved refinement of 110-horsepower engine
  • Two new colors: Light Tundra, Arizona Beige, French Blue

The Ford Focus, the world's best-selling small car, delivers more refinement and features for 2003. New optional features include heated seats, heated mirrors, traction control, an MP3 audio system, and, later in the model year, an optional perimeter alarm system. New seating fabrics and trim details upgrade Focus' appearance, while powertrain changes improve performance and durability.

A major reduction in road noise for 2003 is the result of improved body sealing, a new underbody sprayable deadener and thicker carpet underlayment. The Focus is now nearly 2 decibels quieter on the highway.

Focus is versatile, fun to drive and easy to own. Since its introduction in Europe in 1999 and in the United States as a 2000 model, Focus has won praise for its performance, handling and package ingenuity. It has been elected as one of Car and Driver magazine's 10 best cars for three straight years since its introduction.

Focus is available for 2003 in four distinct body styles -- three-door hatchback, four-door sedan, four-door wagon and the five-door hatchback -- and three trim levels. It is built in Wayne, Michigan, and Hermosillo, Mexico.


The European, edgy design of Focus is upgraded for 2003 with painted gray headlamp surrounds and, on high-series models, body-color decklid trim.

Inside, the design theme continues with broad, sweeping shapes and an airy feel lent to the cabin by the vehicle's tall profile. For 2003 there are two new contemporary fabrics, and, on high-series vehicles, a silver instrument cluster. Sporty woven seat material is aimed at younger buyers, while the textured velour fabric offers a more upscale ambiance. Extensive testing has been done to both fabrics for color and wear durability, simulating 10 years and 100,000 miles of use, including ultraviolet radiation testing to ensure the fabric holds up to harsh sunlight that can fade materials.

Light Tundra Clearcoat Metallic and Arizona Beige Clearcoat Metallic are new paint colors this year. Focus ZX3 and ZX5 are now available in French Blue Clearcoat Metallic this year. A new 16-inch alloy wheel rounds out the exterior changes for 2003.


For 2003, the five-door ZX5 (introduced last year) gains two new trim levels, available as a Base, Comfort or Premium model. It offers the contemporary, European, edgy design of the ZX3 model with the added convenience of four doors for owners who prefer easy rear-seat access for passengers.

Heated front seats are part of a new winter option package for 2003 that also includes heated exterior mirrors. Rarely found in cars of this class, the heated seats, heated mirrors and the AdvanceTracTM electronic stability enhancement system make Focus a confident winter vehicle.

Also new for 2003 is the availability of traction control as a stand-alone option at a significantly lower cost than that of AdvanceTracTM.

ZX3 and ZX5 models have standard MP3 players this year, and a perimeter alarm is a new option.

All Focus models employ efficient design and package engineering to maximize interior room for passengers and cargo. For example, in a clever packaging solution, the hydraulic hatch hinges do not impinge on interior storage space. The high roof line increases front and rear headroom, while the long wheelbase offers greater interior volume and contributes to the Focus' smooth ride.

The driver's seat has a manual height adjustment for comfort and visibility. Rear-seat air ducts provide heating and cooling to improve rear passenger comfort.

The 60/40 split fold-down rear seat backs offer flexibility for carrying passengers and cargo -- including long items such as skis. The "flip-up" seat bottom provides a flat load floor when needed.

The sedan trunk can hold two standard-size suitcases, while the wagon offers more cargo volume than a Volkswagen Jetta wagon.

The Focus ZTW wagon is for those who have not lost their zest for driving even if their lifestyle has changed. The ZTW comes standard with the 2.0-liter Zetec engine and offers a standard four-speed automatic transmission. Customers can choose an optional manual transmission with a 3.82:1 final drive ratio.


The 130-horsepower Zetec engine has a new throttle body this year for improved part-throttle response, a new cylinder head that allows an increase in spark timing for greater efficiency, reduced-load valve springs and reduced-back pressure exhaust.

For 2003, the 110-horsepower split-port induction engine has a new dual-mode crankshaft damper for refinement. Both engines have recalibrated management computers for better drivability and response. The spark plugs and camshaft drive belt now have a 150,000-mile service interval.

The 110-horsepower, 2.0-liter SPI SOHC in-line four-cylinder is standard on Focus LX and SE models, with 125 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is matched with an IB5 five-speed manual transaxle that uses synthetic lubricant to help ensure durability and smooth shifting in cold weather.

The 2.0-liter DOHC Zetec in-line four-cylinder engine is standard on Focus ZX3, ZX5, ZTS and wagon models and optional on the Focus SE sedan. It delivers 130 horsepower and 135 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is matched with the MTX75 five-speed manual transaxle, which is designed with low-friction needle-roller bearings and uses low-viscosity mineral oil to help improve fuel economy and performance.

A four-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transaxle is available on all models.

Ride and Handling

Focus is engineered to provide a smooth ride, nimble handling and responsive steering, due in part to its Control Blade multi-link independent rear suspension. The space-efficient design of this suspension has the side benefit of contributing to cabin room.

Trailing arms offer precise longitudinal control to help resist braking torque and reduce rear-end lift under braking, while allowing enough compliance to absorb sharp-edged road irregularities. Control arms precisely control lateral movement, contributing to accurate steering. Precise, predictable steering also results from reducing friction and compliance throughout the rack-and-pinion steering system.

The zero-offset MacPherson strut front suspension helps reduce body lean during cornering. Focus also boasts a stiff unibody structure with rigid mounting points for the suspension. This contributes to its lightweight design.

Focus engineers used advanced tools to help stop noise, vibration and harshness from reaching occupants. For example, computer simulation programs helped to identify sources of powertrain noise that could be eliminated or insulated.

Safety and Security

Focus has Ford Motor Company's Personal Safety System as standard equipment. The Personal Safety System is actually a collection of features working together to help protect the driver and front passenger in the event of a collision. The system is able to adjust the deployment of the air bags to enhance protection for front-seat occupants depending on a number of factors. It does this with the help of several components:

  • Electronic crash severity sensor
  • Personal Safety SystemTM restraint control module
  • Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags
  • Driver's seat position sensor
  • Front outboard safety belt energy management retractors
  • Front outboard safety belt pretensioners
  • Front safety belt usage sensors

Head and chest side-impact air bags are optional. All models feature LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) in outboard rear seating positions.

The optional AdvanceTracTM interactive vehicle dynamics system is available on all models. It uses electronic sensors and computerized control of the vehicle's brakes to help maintain handling in extreme driving situations.

"Safety cell" body construction helps provide crash-management protection in the event of a collision. Specific body structure areas are designed to absorb and spread impact forces.

A glow-in-the-dark emergency release handle provides a means of escape in case anyone is locked in the sedan's trunk.

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