The 2003 Ford ZX2, also called the Ford Escort, is an aging model for the Ford line. In fact, the Ford ZX2 is so old it is starting to see competition from younger models in the line, including the similarly positioned Ford Focus ZX3. It struggles to compete with the Focus. Even with its low price, the ZX3 has a lot more to offer, including a roomier interior and greater standard features. It is best to skip the aging Ford ZX2 and find a younger partner.
Body Styles: two-door coupe
Engines: 2.0-liter Zetec four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Ford ZX2, Ford ZX2 Premium, Ford ZX2 Deluxe
The Ford Escort ZX2 receives a few updates this year to revitalize the aging vehicle. The front and rear fascia receives a slight overhaul. Fog lamps are now standard. The seats receive a new cloth covering. The standard model receives a cassette player–not exactly something to excite the audiophiles. Two new colors are introduced this year, as well as standard 15-inch wheels. The Deluxe and Premium trim lines are also new. The in-dash six-cd changer is no longer available.
The Ford ZX2 has received some minor exterior changes this year. The front and rear fascias have received some minor changes, including standard integrated fog lamps. All models now ride on 15-inch wheels. The Ford ZX2 is a two-door coupe with an elongated hood for a narrow nose effect. It’s not exactly an attractive car, but it is functional. Standard features on the base model include fog lamps and a rear spoiler. Optional items include anti-lock brakes and a power sunroof for those wanting a little bit of wind in their hair.
The interior of the Ford ZX2 is a major downside of the vehicle. The instrument panel blends into the door panels in a swooping motion that is either clever or too flashy, depending on who you ask. Either way, it makes reaching and reading some of the instruments unbearable. The interior is a bit cramped compared to the Ford Focus, but it measure in at about average for the class. The trunk will hold 11.8 cubic feet of cargo compared to the 18.5 cubic feet carried by the Focus. The rear seatbacks of the Ford ZX2 flip down to extend the cargo area.
The Deluxe model offers a CD player instead of the cassette player of the standard, a leather wrapped steering wheel, tilt steering wheel, and cruise control. The Premium model offers power accessories, remote locks, and keyless entry.
Performance & Handling
The Ford ZX2 is only available with a two-liter, Zetec four-cylinder engine. This is the same engine that the Ford Focus utilizes. It produces 130 horsepower with 127 lb-ft of torque, power that makes the Ford ZX2 a class leader. Although this might be a selling point if it were a different year, the engine is shared by the far superior Focus. The engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission as standard, with an available four-speed transmission option.
Handling on the Ford ZX2 is not exactly pristine. There is a lot of under steer marring the performance of the Zetec engine, which pushes hard off the line and handles well on the freeway. The manual transmission is sloppy though, which is a shame–it is the obvious choice for a sportier drive.
The Ford ZX2 comes with front airbags, trunk release that glows, seatbelt pretensioners, and optional anti-lock brakes. Traction and stability control, and side airbags, are not available for the Ford ZX2. The NHTSA has not performed a frontal crash test on the two-door coupe Ford ZX2. Previous models received fairly decent front crash scores. Side impacts were tested, and the results were dire: the ZX2 received a single star out of five for front-side impacts. Rear-side impacts received four out of five stars.
EPA Fuel Economy
2003 Ford Escort ZX2: 23/30 mpg highway
2003 Ford Escort ZX2 Deluxe: 23/30 mpg highway
2003 Ford Escort ZX2 Premium: 23/30 mpg highway
- Cheap to buy and run
- 130-horsepower engine standard
You Won't Like
- Lags behind the Ford Focus
- Small and cramped cabin
- Seating uncomfortable
The 2003 Ford ZX2 is a decent car, but the Ford Focus ZX3 is a better choice.
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