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Ford Focus RS Mk1: Buying guide and review (2002-2003)

Ford Focus RS Mk1 Ford Focus RS Mk1 Ford Focus RS Mk1 Ford Focus RS Mk1 Ford Focus RS Mk1 Ford Focus RS Mk1 Ford Focus RS Mk1
Introduced in 2002, the Focus RS was the first Rallye Sport model in Ford’s range since the demise of the RS2000 five years before. Taking inspiration from the WRC Focus, the new RS curiously eschewed four wheel drive and instead put its power down through the front wheels, via a Quaife torque-biasing differential. 
This gave it serious grip and an uncompromising character when pressing on, as well as eliciting a lot of comment from the motoring press. Possessing a very sporty character it was certainly just as exciting as its four wheel drive competition and with a heavily reworked Duratec engine pumping out 212bhp it was right on pace too.
The first of a slew of Focus RS models, this first-gen MK1 may not be able to match the latest hot hatches for pace but it by most yardsticks remains a decently quick car. It offers an engaging drive and is an important part of Ford’s chequered motoring history.
Which one to buy?
With only 4501 units built and no colour or trim options to muddy the waters, your focus so to speak should be on finding the best condition RS within your budget. Essentially this first generation RS remained unchanged for the duration of its short production run, finished in imperial blue paintwork with black on blue leather and alcantara interior it was a sporty looking hot hatch. 
Mechanically the Duratec engine featured a modified cylinder head, uprated fuelling system and a GT 2560LS turbo with Chargecooler. The result was 212bhp of power which was channelled to the front wheels through a MTX75 5-speed gearbox and the aggressive Quaife LSD prevented most of it from turning into expensive tyre smoke.
Stock standard low milers are rare finds and command the highest prices, these are also the ones that will be the most likely to appreciate in value over the coming years. 
As the mechanicals are robust many have been modified over the years to take advantage of the motor’s latent abilities. Mild upgrades such as remapping and replacement exhausts systems can liberate up to 50bhp and should not detrimentally affect the cars reliability. More heavily modified cars should be approached with caution however.
Phase 2 cars which were introduced in late 2003 featured some very minor changes the most important of which was an update to the engine mapping to resolve a few fuelling issues. The earlier cars should not be overlooked though as these changes should have been carried out under recall.
Performance and specs
Engine 1988cc 16 valve DOHC in-line four-cylinder 
Power 212bhp @ 5500rpm 
Torque 229lb ft @ 3500rpm
Top speed 144 mph 
0-60mph 6.4 seconds 
Fuel consumption 27.9mpg 
Gearbox Five-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2615mm
Length 4183mm
Width 1762mm
Height 1440mm
Curb weight 1278kg
Common problems
• Ford issued a recall to resolve fuelling and cold starting issues on the earlier cars, however most owners would have remapped the cars themselves by now. Ensure that a reputable tuning house has carried out the work if this is the case.

• A number of panels such as the pricey front bumper are RS Mk1 specific, so replacements can be pricey.
Cars with uprated turbos, exhausts and intercoolers can boost power up to 400bhp, but mechanical longevity can be compromised in other areas and values tend to be lower for heavily modified cars.

• The Duratec engine is robust, however watch out for blown turbos or oil seals. Keep an eye out for blue smoke blowing out the exhaust. 

• The cooling system should be given a once over, especially around the thermostat housing. Wet patches in front footwells can either be a leaking pollen filter or rusted water pipe behind the driver’s side wheel arch. Both issues are easy to resolve.

• Suspension rubbers and dampers should be checked if the car feels excessively loose on a test drive. 

• The Brembo four pot brakes are well up to their task and should be more than adequate for road use, harder pads and uprated brake fluid can be used for track days.

• Check the Chargecooler reservoir to ensure that water is pumping into it and examine the bushes which can wear out and cause the unit to vibrate on its mountings. 

• Rust can manifest itself in the arches and around the door mirrors and plastic boot handle where it meets the bodywork. Paintwork quality in general is not particularly of a high quality so stone chips and small scratches are normal.

• Bonnet linings tended to pull away causing vibration at speed. An issue that affected all Focus models, and can be resolved by re-gluing the affected trim.
Model history
2002: Ford Focus RS introduced with Quaife LSD and heavily reworked 212bhp turbocharged Duratec engine. Available solely in imperial blue paintwork and black/blue interior trim
2003: Minor update introduced with changes to ECU, changing from AE to AF spec to resolve fuelling issues. Retrofitted to older models under recall. Production ends in November with 4501 units produced
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.mk1focusrsoc.com – Focus RS owners club
• www.grahamgoode.com – Performance Ford tuners
• www.rsownersclub.co.uk – Club catering for all Ford RS models
Summary and prices

High milers start at around £8000, ensure that a comprehensive service history is available and that any modifications have been carried out professionally. Those looking for the best cars will need to spend closer to £16,000. These are generally low milers and have the greatest potential for future appreciation. Choice is limited due to the relatively small 4501 production run, so it may take a bit of time to find the right car.
Rough around the edges in just the right measures the Mk1 RS combines contemporary levels of performance with an analogue charm and daily usability that makes it a compelling modern classic. Pick a good one and you could have your cake and eat it as values continue to rise.
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 14th Aug 2016
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    Ford Focus RS 2.5 3 door, in Performance Blue with Grey Alcantara. 57000 miles with Full Ford Service History. 19" alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres.Original spec car with Mountune Airbox. Keyless Go.We will carry out the due service with Ford to maintain the records, and naturally the car will have a fresh MOT before we supply it.. All our cars come with an RAC warranty, which can be extended for up to 2 years at additional cost. We welcome your car as part exchange and will always help you find the best way to finance your purchase. Andrew Shipp Autos are based 5 miles south of Horsham in West Sussex. Please contact Andrew on 01403 865645 to arrange a viewing and test drive

    • Mileage: 56900 mi
    • Engine size: 2.521
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    01403 865645 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • FORD FOCUS ST-3 2010

    £10,440 £10,440

    **WWW.TAILORSMITHAUTOMOTIVE.COM** ARE PLEASED TO OFFER THIS FOCUS ST-3 IN GREAT CONDITION AND FULL SERVICE HISTORY BOTH KEYS AND FULL BOOK PACK, HUGE SPECIFICATION INC, Upgrades - DAB Radio/6CD Player/Mobile Nav. and Bluetooth/USB, Heated Driver and Passenger Seat, Privacy Glass, Key-Free System, Park Assist Rear Sensors, Standard Features - Xenon Headlamps, Traction control, Sports seats, Seat Height Adjustment, Power-Assisted Steering, Parking aid, Height adjustable drivers seat, Adjustable Steering Column/Wheel, Air Bag Driver, Air Bag Passenger, Electric door mirrors, Electric windows, Air-Conditioning, Alloy wheels, Central Door Locking. 5 seats, Black, ALL OF OUR VEHICLES ARE CAREFULLY SELECTED BASED ON THEIR HISTORY, SPECIFICATION AND CONDITION, THE CARS ALL HAVE A PRE DELIVERY INSPECTION BEFORE THE COMPLETION OF THE SALE AND COME WITH A COMPREHENSIVE WARRANTY THROUGH WARRANTY WISE THE UK'S LEADING WARRANTY COMPANY. PLEASE VISIT OUR WEB SITE FOR MORE DETAILS OR CALL US ON 01442 767305. EXCELLENT METHODS OF FUNDING ALSO AVAILABLE ** VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.**, GBP 10,440

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  • Ford Focus

    £7,650 £7,650

    WWW.ST-FOCUS.COM, FINANCE AVAILABLE EVEN FOR THOSE WITH POOR CREDIT , FOCUS ST SPECIALISTS MORE IN STOCK SEE WEB SITE, Air Conditioning, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, Adjustable Steering Column, Trip Computer, Traction Control, Stability Control, Power Steering, Alarm, Central Locking, Locking Wheel Nuts, Radio, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Spoiler, ABS, Air Bag, CD Player, Full service history This car is in superb condition, it was a ford demonstrator and has had 2 private owners since, comes with Mountune 290 conversion which consists of Cat Back exhaust system , 3'' high- flow downpipe, 200 cell sports cat, K&N Panel Filter , Bespoke cast inlet plenum, Front mount intercooler, Mountune Remap , Rs clutch, Quiaffe differential ,Viper alarm, Lowered on Eibach springs, Certificate from Mountune included , this is one of Many More Focus ST's we have in stock please see web site for details.

    • Mileage: 74000 mi
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  • Ford Focus

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  • Ford Focus

    £21,000 £21,000

    Variant name:Diesel Hatchback ST-3 ,Derivative:ST-3 ,Variant: 2.0 TDCi 185 ST-3 5dr Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi 185 ST-3 5dr

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 4700 mi
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  • FORD FOCUS RS 2003

    £12,990 £12,990

    A1 Sports are pleased to offer this rare stunning Focus RS, 9 Service Stamps, this vehicle has only covered 3000 miles in the last 5 years Upgrades - 18" OZ Alloys, 1/2 Leather/Suede Sparco Sports Seats, Brembo Brakes, Push Button Start, Service history, Standard Features - In Car Entertainment (Radio/Cassette/CD Autochanger), Paint Metallic, Alarm, Alarm - Perimeter, 3x3 point rear seat belts, Electric windows, Folding rear seats, Remote central locking, Traction control, Air-Conditioning. 5 seats, Metallic Blue, ++ PART EXCHANGE WELCOME++BLACKHORSE FINANCE APPROVED DEALER ++ AA WARRANTIES AVAILABLE ++, **SELLING QUALITY CARS AND VANS IN BRISTOL SINCE 1998**

    • Mileage: 62443 mi
    • Engine size: 1.988
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  • Ford Focus

    £23,987 £23,987

    Variant name:2.0T EcoBoost ST-3 Navigation 5dr ,Derivative:ST-3 ,Variant: 2.0 ST-3 5DR 6SPD 250PS 5 Star NCAP Rating,6 Speed Gearbox,ABS,Air Conditioning,Anti Theft System,Automatic Headlights,Automatic Wipers,Bluetooth Prepared,CD Player,Climate Control,Cruise Control,Electric Front Seats,Electric Mirrors,Electric Windows,Engine Immobiliser,ESP,Front Fog Lights,Full Service History,Heated Mirrors,Heated Seats,iPod Connection,Isofix Seats,Keyless Entry,Leather Steering Wheel,Leather Upholstery,Manufacturer Warranty,MP3 Connectivity,Multiple Airbags,Onboard Computer,Parking Distance Control,Power Steering,Satellite Navigation,Traction Control,Upgraded Alloy Wheels

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 11 mi
    • Engine size: 2
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  • Ford Focus

    £11,995 £11,995

    Full Leather, Traction Control, Air Conditioning, Metallic Paintwork A Great Mk1 RS Example, Only 2 Previous Registered Keepers, Subtle Tuning Including Powerflow Exhaust And JS Performance Hoses, 3 months warranty, Next MOT due 01/02/2017, Last serviced on 01/12/2014 at 85,792 miles, Full dealership history, Black Full leather interior, Air-Conditioning, Alloy Wheels, In Car Entertainment (Radio/Cassette/CD Autochanger), Paint Metallic, Alarm, Metallic Paint, Alarm - Perimeter. 5 seats, Blue, PLEASE NOTE - Will Be Sold Without The Window Sticker In Place, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circumstances, including Sub Prime. HPI CLEAR - All vehicles are provided with full HPI reports. WARRANTY - At Velvis Cars we provide every vehicle with a standard 3 month RAC warranty. 6, 12 and 24 Month Policies are available on request. Call or Text up to 10pm. 7 days a week. Please call James, Tom or Andrew to arrange a viewing, viewings best by appointment, £11,995

    • Mileage: 94000 mi
    • Engine size: 1988
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  • Ford Focus

    £11,995 £11,995

    6 speed, ABS, Air Conditioning, Alarm, Cd/Stereo, Climate control dual zone, Colour Coded Body, Curtain Airbags, DAB Radio, Elec/Heated mirrors, Electric Windows, Folding Rear Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Front Fog Lamps, Full Leather, Headlamp Jetwash, Heated Front Screen, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Privacy Glass, Push Button Start, Rear Headrests, Rear Spoiler, Remote Central Locking, Side Air Bags, Sports Seats, Stability Control, Adjustable Steering Column, Twin Air Bags, Xenon Headlamps, 18'' Alloys Finished in Performance Blue Metallic with Full Black Leather trim. Two Owners. 29,000 Miles with Full Service History. Supplied with 12 Mths Warranty and New MOT. A Stunning Example. Great Value.

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 2521
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  • FORD FOCUS ST-3 2006

    £7,995 £7,995

    Electric Orange Metallic, 18 Inch Alloy Wheels, ABS, ESP, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Boost Gauge, CD Player, Central Locking, Centre Arm Rest, Climate Control, Colour Coded Bumpers, Electric Door Mirrors, Electric Windows, Front Fog Lights, Headlamp Wash, Heated Front Seats, IPod Auxiliary Socket, Isofix Seat Points, Keyless Entry And Go, Leather Recarro Trim, Multiple Airbags, Power Steering, Privacy Glass, Rear Parking Sensors, Rear Spoiler, Service History, Six Speed Gearbox, Sony Upgrade CD, Sports Seats, Traction Control, Xenon Headlights, Same Owner Since 2007, ONLY 61000 MILES

    • Mileage: 61000 mi
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