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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Ford Focus Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Ford Focus Overview

The Best World Car Yet

The Focus represents a tremendous amount of car for the money. This European transplant replaced Ford's aging Escort, and the difference is like night and day. Though there were a few quality control stumbles when the Focus was first released, Ford has moved quickly to correct them. You'll likely find, as we did, that the Focus is free of rattles, its seams are tight and its body panels are accurately aligned. Even more impressive is the lack of cheap and flimsy plastics so commonly associated with an entry level car. The Focus, even in its simplest form, is a comfortable automobile that can handle just about any need—short of heavy towing or off-road adventures.

The Focus is available as a 5-door wagon, a 4-door sedan, a 5-door hatchback and a 3-door hatchback. There are a number of trim levels and option package that range from the most basic transportation (LX sedan) to an all-out performance vehicle (SVT). Prices range from $13K to $19K, depending on model and equipment. The sporty ZX3 is actually one of the lowest priced Focus trims and represents an outstanding value. The ZX3 is a 3-door hatchback whose edgy styling has gone over very well with both young and old alike. For just a hair over $13K, the ZX3 comes equipped with a 130-horsepower ZTEC engine, a 5-speed manual transmission, rear defroster, illuminated entry, fog lights, dual remote control mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy wheels. That's a lot of car for the money and for just a bit more, you can add such luxuries as air conditioning, power windows, a tilt wheel and cruise control.

Once you get into the Focus, you'll find a large, very tall cabin. The seating position feels higher than in other cars, almost like driving a small SUV. The wide front windshield offers outstanding forward visibility, aided by the narrow A-pillars. The seats are very comfortable with good lower back and head support, though the seat bottoms themselves could do with a bit more length. On SE, ZTS and ZX models, the front seats have a cool flywheel-like device that raises and lowers the angle of the seat bottom; these models also offer a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, making it easy for a driver of just about any size to get comfortable. The wagon and hatchback models, with their large fifth door openings, offer the best configurations for taking advantage of the Focus' generous cargo space. But even the standard sedans have good-sized trunks and feature a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, for those times when you find yourself saying "It didn't look that big in the store."

The modern dash is easy on the eyes and even easier to work with. Instruments are clearly marked; the ventilation controls, air vents and the radio and are all within easy reach of the driver. For those few who are fortunate enough to get hold of the limited edition SVT Focus, you'll be treated to an additional 50 horsepower, a stiffer suspension, 17-inch wheels and tires, sport seats with color inserts, SVT-style gauges and a killer sound system complete with a built-in subwoofer. Even if you don't get the SVT, you'll find your Focus handles great. The heavily-weighted steering is devoid of play (those few degrees you can turn the steering wheel and nothing happens) tight chassis and stiff suspension work hand in hand to deliver go-cart-like thrills. If you get one of the lesser horsepower engines (LX and SE are rated at 110 horsepower), you may want to consider the 5-speed manual, to make the most of the power on hand.

The bottom line on the Focus is that it is a terrific little car that has wide appeal to many audiences (translation: your kids will want to borrow it all the time). It has terrific driving characteristics, a respectable standard equipment list and a price that about anyone can afford.

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