2002 Ford Focus
This 2002 review is representative of model years 2000 to 2004.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Ford is keeping up with market trends by adding a 4-door hatchback sedan and hot-rod coupe to the European-style Focus line.
Hatchbacks are making a comeback, partly because they're very utilitarian—like popular light trucks. And fast versions of small, mostly Japanese coupes have become trendy and popular among young drivers.
The front-drive Focus is from Ford's overseas operation and was named European Car of the Year in 1999. It's been popular since it arrived in America for the 2000 model year in two-door hatchback, sedan and station wagon form.
There are no less than 14 Focus trims, with base prices ranging from $12,925 to $17,930. Most trims are under-$16,000 base price.
New Hot-Rod Model
There also is a sportier new ZTW version of the station wagon, which has such features as a tachometer, leather upholstery and wider tires. It's the most expensive Focus trim, with the $17,480 SVT not far behind.
Fun to Drive
Most recently, I tested the very well-equipped, rather sporty ZX5, which is one of the best Focus trims. It has a big windshield, prominent ventilation ducts and an airy interior. The decent size cargo area becomes very large when the split rear seat is folded forward. But, as with all Focus trims, there is excessive wind noise above 60 mph in the otherwise quiet interior.
Focus gauges can be quickly read in the best European tradition and large, well-placed controls work smoothly. There are large dual front cupholders and front door storage pockets are fairly deep.
The higher-line 130-horsepower 4-cylinder engine provides lively performance—at least to 65 mph. And the 170-horsepower 4-cylinder SVT engine makes that trim a pistol, although it's not an especially refined motor.
The base 110-horsepower 4-cylinder provides only lazy acceleration, especially when hooked to the automatic transmission. While quiet during cruising, the 2-liter Focus engines get noisy when pushed because they're small and work especially hard when the accelerator pedal is floored.
Good Fuel Economy
A power moonroof is offered for the first time for all body styles, and improved cupholders can handle larger beverage containers. There also is a new, optional 6-disc, in-dash CD changer,
Worthy New Option
Also new for the 2002 Focus is Ford's Personal Safety System. It adjusts deployment of airbags to enhance protection for front occupants (depending on a number of factors) with the help of components, such as an electronic crash severity sensor. Head and chest side-impact airbags are optional.
The Focus is solidly built, although not as refined as some foreign rivals. But it offers a lot for the money and there are enough body styles and trim levels to satisfy practically everyone.