Used Car of the Day: 2003 Ford Focus SVT

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today's UCOTD is a 20-year-old hot hatch.

This 2003 Ford Focus SVT comes to us from Wisconsin, with a reasonable price of $4,000.

The seller claims that aside from "minor rust in common areas but minimal", the car is in good shape.

The mileage is high -- at least 190K -- but the seller seems to have stayed on top of maintenance and replaced key components.

The tires have less than 10K miles on them, and there is a cat-back exhaust and cold-air intake to go along with Kenwood audio with Bluetooth.

We will let you click over to see all the things the seller has updated -- but before you do, remember that these cars can be pretty fun. Assuming it's in the shape the seller says it's in, you might be getting a fun car for very little money.

[Images: Seller]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 17 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 20, 2023

    The rims from these fit and look nice on a Fiesta ST

  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Apr 20, 2023

    I had a '03 3dr coupe in Screaming Yellow with the EAP package, primarily outstanding black leather Recaro's. I bought it with 13k miles on it and ran it to 136k with just tires, brake pads and a couple of battery's. Not fast but adequately quick once you got the revs up with a sweet but short geared 6-speed. Living north of Atlanta, the foothills of the Smokey's were just an hour away and I made plenty of pilgrimages to the Dragon and Hwy 129 in the Focus. The handling and brakes were outstanding and on super twisty roads I could keep up with just about anything. Sure a Corvette or Boxster would pull away on the straights but I could reel them in when the road got narrow and twisty again. Never had any issues, everything worked perfectly when I sold it and frankly, I wish I still had it. But it was replaced with a leftover '16 Focus ST that I gave to my teenage son, it now has over 60k on it with just one battery and one set of new Hankook Ventus V12s. A lot of people slept on the Focus due to the Powershift transmission debacles but my experience was they were superior small cars, certainly the equal of a Civic or Mazda 3 let down by that automatic transmission and Ford's indifferent marketing and upgrading of the platform.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...