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Mr. Embargo
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New for 2003

Addition of a five-door hatchback version
High-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamp option
Body-color hatch trim

The SVT Focus returns to the SVT lineup for 2003 with the addition of a five-door model. The five-door SVT Focus is based on the Focus ZX5 body style and provides all the performance that has earned the SVT Focus high praise from a number of independent sources.

The SVT Focus made a strong statement last year in the usually import-dominated compact performance segment and returns as this year to attract new customers with the five-door model and wider availability. Minor changes keep the SVT Focus fresh.


Modifications to the SVT Focus exterior include 17-inch, five-spoke wheels, unique front and rear fascias with honeycomb grilles, distinctive rocker moldings, and a small spoiler on the top of the hatch.

The smoked-glass appearance of the headlights also is unique to the SVT Focus, as is a 75mm chromed exhaust tip tucked into the lower rear fascia. Round, crystalline fog lamps are set in the lower front fascia.

SVT Focus exterior color choices for 2003 are Infra-Red, CD Silver, Pitch Black and Sonic Blue.

Interior elements unique to the SVT Focus include pedals with metallic covers placed to facilitate heel-and-toe downshifting; a black leather-wrapped steering wheel with perforations in the three- and nine-o'clock grip positions; a black leather-wrapped parking brake lever with a satin aluminum release button; and a black leather-wrapped aluminum shift knob.

All seats are trimmed in black leather, and the front seats have added foam pads and frame wires to increase lateral support. The driver seat is six-way adjustable, with a rotary recliner mechanism, manual fore/aft movement, and a power up/down adjustment system. The passenger front seat is four-way adjustable, with recline and fore/aft movement. Both seats feature a manual lumbar control.

There are two interior color choices to complement the black leather trimmed seat bolsters and head restraints. Red or blue cloth is available as an accent in the seat backs, seat cushions and door-trim panels.

The unique SVT Focus seat trim continues into the rear seat as well. The seat is a 60/40 split with folding back, flip-up cushions, as well as left, right and center head restraints.

Bold, clean, titanium-faced electro-luminescent gauges include a tachometer and 160-mph speedometer. Silver climate control bezels accent the black center stack, and oil temperature and pressure gauges are fitted in place of the regular coin storage compartment.

The standard audio system features a 60-watt peak power AM/FM stereo radio and single-disc CD player. The optional Audiophile Sound System is powered by a 290-watt peak power AM/FM stereo radio, with upgraded speakers, an eight-inch powered subwoofer, and a six-disc, in-dash CD changer.

Both systems have fingertip controls on the steering column for changing volume, radio stations and CD tracks.In addition to the Audiophile Sound System, two other options are available: a power sunroof, and a Winter Package consisting of traction control, heated front seats and an engine block heater.


The SVT Focus powertrain starts with a 2.0-liter Zetec Ford engine. In standard Focus models it produces 130 hp at 5,300 rpm and 135 foot-pounds of torque at 4,500 rpm. This engine's cast-iron block already has the strength, rigidity and durability necessary for the increased power SVT engineers were developing. The SVT Focus engine has 170 horsepower and 145 foot-pounds of torque.

Component changes in the block include new forged-steel connecting rods with 20mm wrist pins and lightweight, cast-aluminum pistons. The new pistons increase compression from the Zetec's 9.6:1 ratio to 10.2:1 in the SVT Focus.

The aluminum cylinder head has enlarged intake ports for increased flow. The intake valves measure 33.5mm in diameter, 1.5mm larger than those in a standard Zetec.

Intake and exhaust valve springs are stiffer by 27 percent and 19 percent, respectively, compared with the Zetec I-4's. That allows the engine's redline to rise from 6,750 to 7,200 rpm.

The intake camshaft is equipped with an electro-mechanical control mechanism, which allows the cam's maximum opening point, relative to crankshaft degrees, to be varied between 85 and 145 degrees after top-dead-center on the intake stroke. The variability is dependent on engine speed and load, and is accomplished by changing oil pressure on either side of a piston in a helix between the cam and its drive pulley.

The other significant contributor to low-speed torque is the SVT Focus' dual-stage intake manifold. This device is designed to direct the intake air through four long runners below 6,000 rpm. Above 6,000 rpm, the manifold switches position to shorten the runners' length, which improves peak power output.

SVT engineers were able to reposition the catalyst under the vehicle, far enough downstream in the exhaust system to incorporate tuned 4-into-2-into-1 tubular headers. Engine calibration retards the spark during cold starts, which quickly heats the catalyst for a clean exhaust. The exhaust pipe diameter is enlarged to 58mm, with a 75mm polished chrome exhaust tip.

With this underbody catalyst system, SVT engineers achieved both their performance and emissions targets. The SVT Focus, like its ZX3 Zetec sibling, complies with the national Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard.

The standard six-speed manual transaxle was developed by the German manufacturer, Getragª. This unit's innovative design incorporates an input shaft flanked by two layshafts, and each layshaft has its own set of final drive gears. Layshaft number one carries first, second, fifth and sixth gears, and a 2.88:1 final drive ratio, while layshaft number two carries third, fourth, reverse, and a 4.25:1 final drive ratio. All six forward gears, plus reverse, are fully synchronized.

This design gives the SVT Focus the performance advantages of a close-ratio, six-speed gearbox in a remarkably compact and lightweight package. Dividing the output shaft into two allows the transaxle to be much shorter than a conventional single shaft six-speed, thus occupying the same space as the ZX3's 5-speed gearbox.

Suspension and Brakes

For a controlled yet compliant suspension, SVT engineers selected springs that are stiffer by 10 percent on the front and 20 percent on the rear, compared with those on the Focus ZX3. Spring rates on the SVT Focus are 129 lb./in. on the front and 157 lb./in. for the rear.

There are solid stabilizer bars front and rear, with a diameter of 21mm for both. The front bar is one millimeter larger in diameter than the one on the Focus ZX3. The shock absorbers have been retuned for agile handling, with softened impact harshness and improved roll damping.

The boost curve on the power rack-and-pinion steering system has been retuned to give the driver heightened feel and precision control.

The SVT Focus has standard power four-wheel disc brakes with a four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock system.

The car's impressive braking capabilities are the result of increased swept area under the 17-inch wheels. The 300mm (11.8-inches vented front rotors are 42mm (1.65 inches) larger in diameter than those on the ZX3, but use the same single-piston caliper positioned to take advantage of the increased diameter rotor. These brakes are specially made for the SVT Focus and require a special steering knuckle.

Solid rear rotors measure 280mm (11.0 inches) in diameter and also have single-piston calipers.

The wheels are fitted with Continental 215/45R-17 ContiSportContact tires that provide a high level of grip and directional stability, making the braking system remarkably effective.

Safety and Security

SVT Focus has Ford Motor Company's Personal Safety Systemª as standard equipment. The Personal Safety Systemª is actually a number of different features working together to help protect the driver and right front passenger in the event of a collision. It does this with the help of several components:

Electronic crash severity sensor
Personal Safety System restraint control module
Dual-stage driver and right front passenger air bags
Driver's seat position sensor
Front safety belt energy management retractors
Front safety belt pretensioners
Front safety belt usage sensors

SVT will expand its model line for 2003 with the addition of a five-door hatchback version of its performance model, SVT Focus. The five-door will meld the performance and technology provided by SVT with the utility and packaging of Ford's popular Focus ZX5.

With the success of the 2002 SVT Focus, the expansion of the product line to include the five-door version makes the SVT Focus relevant to a new audience. Now, the performance enthusiast who needs the functionality of five doors can enjoy a hot new car in the compact performance segment.

Like the three-door model, the 2003 five-door SVT Focus features an SVT-tuned 2.0-liter Zetec 4-cylinder engine producing 170 hp and 145 foot-pounds of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The SVT-tuned suspension includes unique spring rates, dampers, and bushings. Also enhancing the handling are Continental ContiSportContact tires wrapped around 17-inch 5-spoke wheels, which expose some of the largest brakes available in this segment. The four-wheel disc brakes measure 300mm in front and 280mm in the rear with ABS standard.

The SVT Focus exterior and interior themes from the three-door model will carry over to the five-door with little change. The exterior features include unique front and rear fascias, rear hatch spoiler, and body color-keyed side mirrors, rub strips, and door handles. The five-door SVT Focus will retain the rocker panel moldings from the Focus ZX5.

The interior features front sport seats with leather-trimmed bolsters, along with cloth seating surfaces available in red or blue, depending on exterior color chosen (Sonic Blue, Infra-Red, CD Silver, and Pitch Black). The color theme continues into the rear seats and also the front and rear door panel inserts.


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