2003 Ford Focus SVT

2003 Ford Focus SVT Rating: 8 / 10
  • Year: 2003
  • Drivetrain: FWD
  • Trim: SVT
  • Doors: 4
  • Speeds: 6
  • Seats:
  • Power (hp): 170
  • Torque (lb-ft): 145
  • Type: Hatchback
  • Country: US

Clutch and shifter feel: Clutch is one of the easiest to use of all the manuals I’ve driven. Clutch travel is relatively short and isn’t too stiff. The shifts are very mechanical and you can feel each one very clearly. Shifter feels well put together and I can find all gears with ease.

Interior: Decently equipped from the time
period. Came stock with a factory subwoofer, and upgraded Audiophile stereo. I have since upgraded all speakers and Headunit to Kicker/Kenwood. The dash is in great shape and is of great quality. Two tone leather seats with cloth inserts create a very sporty feel. Headliner is gray, while carpet is black for a nice two tone look. The seats are surprisingly comfortable for the age and wear and came factory with driver power height adjustment, along with lumbar support in both front seats. Rear seat is one of the most comfortable in any compact I’ve ever ridden in. Super plush. Headroom is very adequate in front and rear and leg room in the back is pretty good for the car size. The cutout in the rear seats allows for a little more legroom (I’m 5’9). The trunk has ample room for a compact and the sub does not take up much space, cargo net and cargo shade add a nice touch to the trunk area. The only downfall is even though the car has 4 cup holders, they are so oddly shaped that standard drinks and bottles don’t fit in them well. Go around a curve and they are in the floor. Storage space is limited as well, as there is no center console, and only the front doors have storage pockets. Glovebox is quite roomy.

Tech: Electroluminescent gauge cluster is a unique SVT trim specialty, and creates a really neat look when driving at night. Other than the upgraded head unit, which has CD, USB, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and iPod connections the cars tech is about as good as it gets in 2003.

Options: The SVT trim is the highest trim level of the Mark I Focus. It received an upgraded 2.0 DOHC I-4 engine, (tuned by Cosworth) and a 6 speed Getrag manual transmission, an upgrade over the standard 5-speed. Upgraded suspension and 4 wheel disc brakes are added for increased performance. A tuned exhaust setup allows for a raspy sound. Cosmetically the SVT gets a redesigned front end, with a honeycomb style grille and lower mesh. The front bumper also allows for a chin spoiler and honeycomb mesh, along with upgraded fog lights. HID headlamps were an option (mine has them), and provide considerable difference in nighttime driving. All door handles and trim are painted to match the color of the car, and 17 inch 5 spoke SVT wheels are standard. The rear hatch gets painted trim and a revised rear bumper with exhaust cutout and honeycomb mesh. Also added is a rear spoiler. The interior gets a custom two tone color scheme, along with SVT door sill plates and an upgraded leather wrapped steering wheel. Also included are upgraded HVAC controls.

Fuel economy: 21 City, 25 Highway, 23 Combined. I average around 22MPG.

Fuel type: 93 Octane
Horsepower @ rpm: 170HP @7000 RPM

Torque @ rpm: 145LbFt. @5500 RPM

Overall driving experience: This car is fun to drive, plain and simple. It handles corners in a way a FWD car shouldn’t. There is never any fear of understeer, and body roll is at a bare minimum. It’s not the fastest car out there, but can hang with the big dogs on winding roads. It’s definitely not afraid to wake up a little when given some gas, and can pass cars on the highway with ease. If these cars are maintained PROPERLY, they are very reliable. However, they are also very needy, particular cars. You better replace anything with Motorcraft, because if not, you’ll be replacing it again a month later. There are several common issues with these cars, but address them with regular maintenance, and it’ll last forever. The engines and transmissions in these cars are extremely durable, and I know of owners that have 300k+ miles on original parts. All in all, for the money, and with a little TLC, you won’t find a better hot hatch anywhere!