Though the 2003 Ford Thunderbird is slotted into the 'near-luxury' class of cars, it really is a matter of splitting hairs. Suffice it to say, there is enough interior refinement to make the longest of trips comfortable. And with an increase in power for 2003, the award-winning Thunderbird looks to have another stellar year. However, it would be difficult to improve upon 2002, as the Thunderbird picked up Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year award and People's Choice Car of the Year, just to name a few.
The two-door 2003 Ford Thunderbird is available as a straight convertible and as a convertible with a removable hardtop. There are two trim levels to choose from: Deluxe and Premium.
The interior of the Thunderbird is right on track in creating a relaxed feel for driver and passenger alike. The black instrument panel is highlighted with bright accent colors and brushed aluminum appliqués, while the center stack flows out of the instrument panel and merges effortlessly into the console.
The features list on both models is almost excessive. The Deluxe model features such things as air conditioning with dual-zone automatic climate controls, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, leather upholstery and an AM/FM radio with in-dash 6-disc CD changer. The Premium model adds heated seats.
There is a noticeable reference to the classic style of the legendary Thunderbird in the exterior design of the 2003 edition. The reverse-wedge body shape is higher at the front fender and A-pillar than at the rear - reminiscent of the originals. The unique egg-crate grille with the same three-dimensional texture found on the '55-'57 Thunderbirds re-emerges on the new model, while the short front overhang will certainly catch the eye of those who remember the glory days.
And of course, the Thunderbird really performs in the driving department. The engine for the 2003 edition is a 3.9-liter V8 offering 280 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 286 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. The result is speed at any distance. 5-speed automatic transmission is standard, while the Thunderbird also gets a respectable 17 and 23 mpg (city/hwy). Traction control and a stiff body structure result in excellent handling.
Safety and Security
The Thunderbird is equipped with dual front and front side airbags and a theft deterrent system. 4-wheel antilock disc brakes ensure quick stops when needed.
New for the 2003 Thunderbird
Engine horsepower increased to 280 and torque to 286 foot-pounds
Electronic throttle control and variable cam timing improve engine performance, power and fuel economy
All-speed traction control now standard
Available heated driver and passenger seat
Newly styled analog instrument cluster
Two-speed, variable-interval wipers with heated wiper park
New exterior colors: Mountain Shadow Gray, Desert Sky Blue
New Saddle interior package includes full leather saddle seats, saddle leather steering wheel insert and saddle leather shift knob
New additional interior colors: Black Ink and Whisper White