Ford ZX2

Introduced in 1998, the Ford ZX2 was a sportier version of the Ford Escort and was produced for half a decade before being discontinued in 2003. The ZX2 was designed to be an entry-level sport model that was targeted at the 18 to 24-year-old demographic. Unlike the standard Ford Escort, the ZX2 featured a conventional trunk. The zippy ZX2 was priced to move when it was introduced and for a compact sports model with an entry-level price, it offered fairly impressive performance.

More on the Ford ZX2
Ford ZX2 Origins

In spite of the formidable acceleration offered by early models of the ZX2, it never really caught on with drivers and sales quickly stagnated. However, Ford continued to tinker with the ZX2 for a number of years, first offering an ultra-sporty S/R version and then Deluxe and Premium trim levels. By the ZX2’s final year of production in 2003, Ford appeared to have worked out several of the kinks in the design and implementation. Unfortunately, by then, it was too little too late, and despite showing promise, the ZX2 was discontinued before a 2004 model could be unveiled.

About the Ford ZX2

The Ford ZX2 was an affordable compact 2-door coupe that featured a bold, sporty design. The car was essentially a more sport-minded derivative of the Ford Escort. The car’s racy exterior, reasonably good performance, and entry-level pricing were meant to attract a younger demographic. The ZX2, indeed, handled well and early models could make it from zero to 60 in less than 8 seconds. However, the affordable, fun-to-drive ZX2 was never quite the hit Ford hoped it would be.

Affordable, stylish, and sporty, the ZX2 was nonetheless undermined by gaps in quality. These included multiple vibration sources: seatbelts that were hard to reach, an inaccurate fuel gauge, a grabby clutch, and seats that were overly firm. However, one area where the ZX2 excelled was fuel efficiency. Throughout its run of production, the Ford ZX2 offered an impressive 26/33 mpg city/highway.

Ford ZX2 Features

The 2003 model year was the final year for the Ford ZX2. In its final year, the ZX2 was made available in three trim levels: Standard, Deluxe, and Premium. The base-level Standard model was still a capable driving machine and like the higher trim level models, it boasted a redesigned front fascia and foglamps. Premium models boasted integrated foglamps, while other features such as AM/FM stereo with dash-mounted CD player, tilting leather-wrapped steering wheel, map lights, and speed control were made standard in both the Deluxe and Premium models.

The 2003 ZX2 was available as front-wheel drive only. The vehicle was powered by a dual-overhead cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that was rated at 130 horsepower. The ZX2 featured a standard five-speed manual transmission, but there was also the option of a four-speed automatic.

The two-door ZX2 was capable of seating four, although conditions in the back seat were cramped with limited head and legroom. Interior features included reclining bucket front seats and a full-length center console with dual cupholders. The rear seat back could be folded down for expanded trunk space. The ZX2’s standard audio system featured a cassette player; however, the option of a premium sound system with a six-CD changer was also available. The Premium model boasted leather-trimmed seats as an option. Other interior features that came with the Premium model included power windows and locks as well as a keyless entry system.

Safety features for the ZX2 were rather limited with antilock brakes being available as an option but no side-impact airbags. The 2003 ZX2 also boasted an increase in torque to 135 lb-ft, which was up from the 127 lb-ft that previous year’s models had produced. Reviews indicate that in its final year of production the ZX2 was quick, quiet, and felt reasonably solid from behind the wheel.

Ford ZX2 Evolution

The Ford ZX2 enjoyed a fairly limited run of production, having only been produced between 1998 and 2003. In its inaugural year, the ZX2 was made available with 15-inch aluminum wheels and boasted exterior features such as foglamps and a decklid spoiler. A peppy 2.0-liter DOHC engine that produced 130-hp powered the 1998 ZX2. For 1998, the ZX2 was available in two trim levels: Cool and Hot. Few changes were made for the 1999 model.

However, in 2000, Ford added a firmer suspension to the ZX2 and introduced the performance oriented S/R model. The S/R, which was a product of a collaboration between Ford Motor Company’s Small Vehicle Center Production Department and Ford Racing. The S/R boasted features like a sport-tuned suspension, anti-roll bar bushings, a Borla muffler and Roush intake system. This array of aftermarket parts, coupled with the car’s recalibrated computer system, boosted the S/R’s horsepower by 10 percent.

The S/R sport package was dropped the following year, but it wasn’t until 2002 that the Deluxe and Premium trim levels became available.

Select a Ford ZX2 Year

2003 Ford ZX2

Compact, Coupe

The 2003 Ford ZX2, also called the Ford Escort, is an aging model for the Ford line.

2002 Ford ZX2

Compact, Coupe

The 2002 Ford Escort ZX2 attracts young buyers with unique styling, versatility, an affordable price, and fun-to-drive features.