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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Ford ZX2 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Ford ZX2 Overview

Upgraded Economy Class

The ZX2 is Ford's entry-level coupe, slotted just behind the European-inspired Focus in both price and content. It offers buyers all the sensibility befitting a compact economy car with the added bonus of a sporty two-door configuration, racy front end and custom alloy wheels. Ford has gone above and beyond to make sure the ZX2 is not only competitive in this field, but that it roundly trounces the competition.

You've probably noticed that the ZX2 does not look like most entry-level cars. It's big for one, with a long hood and short rear deck reminiscent of the early Mustang design philosophy. The ZX2 also shuns the typical hatchback design in favor of a roomy and secure trunk; the rear seat can be folded down allowing you to load in longer items such as a ladder, surfboard or skis. The ZX2's long doors allow for easy entry and exit and also open up much of the car when their windows are rolled down. New for 2003 is a freshened front-end treatment that includes standard fog lights and color-keyed bumper faces while around back, Ford equips the ZX2 with a standard trunk-mounted rear spoiler.

Ford has given the ZX2 a peppy 2.0-liter engine that produces a healthy 130-horsepower and features a 16-valve DOHC (dual overhead cam) that helps to maximize the engine's power output. When teamed to the standard 5-speed manual, you'll find the ZX2 to be a sprightly drive, easily zipping around slower moving vehicles and darting up hills with little more required of you than a well timed downshift. Things slow down a bit when you opt for the four-speed automatic, but there is still plenty of power on hand to move the ZX2 well past the 55 mph mark. We should point out that as you add passengers, the extra weight will tax the little engine's ability to perform. EPA estimates for the 5-speed manual are 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Speaking of performing, the ZX2 excels in another area uncommon to this class: handling. A set of MacPherson struts at all four corners combined with a multi-link rear suspension and anti-sway bar give the ZX2 superb cornering ability. You'll still experience some body roll and faint understeer when the ZX2 is pushed hard, primarily due to the tall sidewall and narrow width of the standard 15-inch tires. We suspect that true driving enthusiasts will no doubt add more aggressive shocks, springs and tires that should turn the ZX2 into quite the little terror. During normal back and forth driving, you'll find the ZX2's ride to be relatively smooth so long as the road remains so too.

The passenger compartment of the ZX2 is also full of surprises. You'll find the front seats provide good legroom for taller persons, though when fully retracted the seats eat away what little rear seat legroom was present to begin with. The dash design is a bit dated, especially the center stack's oval pod with its rectangular radio; the shift lever could also do with a nice soft vinyl boot as opposed to the current accordion-like rubber cover. These minor nitpicks aside, the materials used inside the ZX2 are par for this price class and the fit and finish is first rate.

The base ZX2 comes standard with reclining cloth bucket seats, dual cup holders, AM/FM stereo with cassette, tachometer and a rear-window defroster. The Deluxe coupe includes air conditioning, sport bucket seats, speed control, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel and an upgraded audio system with CD player. The top-of-the-line Premium package takes the cake with power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry and an options list that includes leather seats, power moon roof, anti-lock brakes and premium wheels—all of this in a car that begins around $13,700 and tops out just over $16,500.

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