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

Ford Focus RS Mk1: Buying guide and review (2002-2003) Classic and Performance Car
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
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
Last updated: 14th Aug 2016
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Ford Focus
12 26990 GBP
  • Ford Focus

    £850 £850

    Ford Focus Ghia 2l petrol estate.51 plate - Year 2001, 97k miles, Mot till September 2018, Went straight through no advisories. Good condition for year, it’s been well looked after, previous owner was a mechanic, there’s some service history, and some self service receipts, and receipts for past work done. There’s a few scuffs, but only minor. It’s very reliable and an all round good car, I’m selling it as I don’t need an estate car. Call 07976060813 £850 Ono.

    • Mileage: 97000 mi
    For sale
    £850 £850

    £5,495 £5,495

    2006/06 Ford Focus ST-2 225 BHP, Only covered 53,000 Miles, 6 Speed Manual, 3 Door Hatchback, Service History , MOT;;Finished in Metallic Sea Grey with Full Grey Recaro Interior, Alloy Wheels, Twin Exit Exhaust, Bi-Xenon Headlights with Headlight Washers, Front/Rear Fog Lights, 3 Spoke Leather Steering Wheel, Quick Clear Windscreen, Oil Temp, Boost and Oil Pressure Gauge, Electric Front Windows, Sony CD Player, AUX Port, Air Con, Electric Mirrors, Folding Rear Seats, ST Sill Plate, Front Cupholders, Front Armrest;;HPI Clear / Part Exchanges Welcome;;01494 240 099 / 07378 835298

    • Mileage: 53000 mi
    For sale
    £5,495 £5,495
  • Ford Focus.

    £525 £525

    Ford Focus black limited edition, 1.6, leather interior, MoT, 86,000 miles, excellent condition. 51-plate. £525 ono. 01435 810182/ 07943 732912

    For sale
    £525 £525
  • Ford Focus

    £13,500 £13,500

    Variant name:ZETEC S ,Derivative:MK3 FL (C346) ,Variant: ZETEC S This stunning Ford Focus Zetec S comes equipped with a very punchy 1.5 litre engine that benefits from a generous 118 ponies galloping under the bonnet, making the Zetec S great fun to drive. With fuel returns of up to 83mpg and FREE annual road tax, you have the perfect balance between performance and economy. Other features include sports suspension to enhance handling and ride response; Sports seats for added comfort, Bluetooth for wireless connectivity to mobile devices for safe in-car interaction; Air conditioning; 17" alloys and much more. This premium car meets the highest quality checks having passed a comprehensive 160 point inspection by fully trained Master Technicians, ensuring total peace of mind! If you would like more information on this car you can discuss it further through our live chat facility or alternatively why not pop into one of our local dealerships to test drive the car - we look forward to seeing you.

    • Year: -1
    • Mileage: 11607 mi
    • Engine size: 1.5
    For sale
    £13,500 £13,500
  • Ford Focus

    £8,888 £8,888

    PRICE REDUCED FURTHER FOR SALE IS MY WIFE'S LOW MILEAGE AND RARE TITANIUM DIESEL FOCUS - 2013. IN ADDITION TO THE USUAL BASIC FOCUS ZETEC SPEC THIS CAR ALSO HAS - Titanium Navigator standard equipment  3x3 point rear seat belts  Alarm  Alloy wheels - 18” five spoke - FACTORY FITTED EXTRA  Ambient LED courtesy lights with theatre-style dimming, variable dimming on Instrument cluster and auto dimming rear view mirror  Aluminium-finish scuff plates with 'Ford' logo  Audio remote  Automatic headlights and headlight courtesy delay  Active Park Assist (Parallel, Perpendicular, and Park Out Assist) including front and rear parking sensors - FACTORY FITTED EXTRA  Bluetooth  Climate control – DUAL CONTROL  Cloth seat trim  Cruise control  DAB Radio + CD Player  Front fog lights with chrome surround  Heated mirrors - electric folding with puddle lights  Keyless Entry  LED rear lights  Lumbar support  Parking sensors – front & rear FACTORY FITTED EXTRA WITH PARK ASSIST  Power Start Button  Rear electric windows – (rear windows have privacy glass - FACTORY EXTRA)  Rear seat folding (2/1) + centre armrest  Rain sensing wipers (automatic)  Sat Nav System  Side airbags  Space saver spare wheel  Sports seats  Voice activation system THIS CAR IS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION AND LOOKS FANTASTIC WITH UNMARKED SILVER PAINT AND REAR PRIVACY GLASS, SET OFF WITH FACTORY FITTED FIVE SPOKE 18inch (unmarked) ALLOY WHEELS. COMES WITH FULL SERVICE HISTORY (NEXT SERVICE DUE MAY NEXT YEAR) & MOT TILL 30 NOVEMBER (CAN BE RENEWED EARLY IF DESIRED). GENUINE 19K MILES - ONLY £20 ROAD TAX - VERY ECONOMICAL 45+mpg around town 65mpg on a run. LOOKING FOR OFFERS £9950 ono NOW REDUCED - all reasonable offers considered EXCELLENT CAR, WITH RARE SPEC - ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE GET IN TOUCH

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 20500 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
    £8,888 £8,888
    Ivie Trousdale
    Ivie Trousdale

    £6,850 £6,850

    RAC INSPECTED and APPROVED Top Brand Cars Are Happy To Present This Stunning Ford Focus Titanium X 1.6 TDCi 5 Dr Special Order Car In Beautiful, Metallic Red, Full Repaired CAT-D This Car Had a Very Light Graze On The Drivers Side and Had A full Repair and Now Is In Perfect Condition, The Spec Includes, GBP 20 Road Tax per year, Directional Xenon Headlights (Turn with Steering), Factory fitted Zetec S Body Kit Bumpers Skirts and Boot Spoiler, Pearl Cherry Red Colour , 18" Alloys with GoodYear Tyres, Dark Glass, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Self Park System, Auto Stop Start, Heated Windscreen, Lane Assist, Interior Mood Lighting Dual Climate, Bluetooth Sony Stereo , Multifunction Steering Wheel, Dab Digital Radio, Electric Heated Folding Mirrors, Half Leather Interior Heated Seats, Electric Drivers Seat, Keyless Go (2 Keys), Alarm Immobaliser, Stainless Steel Sill Protectors, 4 x Electric Windows, Full Service History, Full Beam Assist, Auto Wipers, Sign and Speed Recognition, For Full Spec Feel Free To Contact Our Sales Team. Viewing By Appointment Only. Part Exchange Welcome.. Debit And Credit Cards Taken, GBP 7250

    • Mileage: 37000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.597
    For sale
    £6,850 £6,850

    £9,795 £9,795

    2008/08 Ford Focus ST-3 Finished in the most desirable Panther Black, 47,000 Miles, 3 Door Hatchback, 6 Speed Manual, Full Service History (Full Ford History except for one done at a Specialist), MOT;;Full Service History, Original Ford Wallet, Ford Owner’s Manual, Service History Booklet, Invoices, Previous MOT's and 2 Keys.;;Dreamscience Remap, Dreamscience Long Arm Air Intake, Dreamscience Intercooler, Dreamscience Exhaust, Focus RS Clutch, Deluxe ECU Mount, Wind Deflectors, Privacy Glass to the Rear 3 Windows;;Full Black Leather, Heated Seats, Keyless Go, Push Button Start, Bi-Xenons, Lumbar Support, Smokers Pack, Quick Clear Heated Windscreen, Projector Headlights, Oil Temperature Gauge, Boost Gauge, Oil Pressure Gauge, Headlight Washers, LED Rear Lights, ESP, Electric Windows, A/C, Heated Door Mirrors, Front Armrest, Isofix Anchor Points, 18” Alloys (With good Tyres All Around), Onboard Trip Computer, Remote Central Locking, Front/Rear Foglights;;In very good condition and drives as expected. Been sensibly modified by a reputable Ford Tuner who specialise in Focus ST’s (Dreamscience), Also have the ability to change between difference Map settings installed by Dreamscience, this car must be seen to be appreciated, a real credit to its previous owner.;;01494 240099 / 07378 835298;

    • Mileage: 47000 mi
    For sale
    £9,795 £9,795
  • Ford Focus

    £25,995 £25,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. An immaculate Mk1 Ford Focus RS with only 7,424 miles and excellent history EQUIPMENT Computer optimised unitary welded steel body, rigid occupant safety cell, energy absorbing crumple zones, wider front and rear pressed steel wings, auxiliary air intakes, aerodynamic splitter and rear wing, mounted side sills, modified lower rear apron, driver and front passenger airbags, air conditioning, leather sports steering wheel with blue inserts, carbon fibre centre console with start button, limited edition number plaque, Sparco aluminium handbrake, gear knob and pedals, boost gauge and ‘change up light’, bright metal tread plates with RS script, stereo radio/6CD model 6006E, Thatcham CAT 1 alarm. MODEL HISTORY Inspired by the now Late Colin McRae’s victorious Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, the Ford Focus RS was created as a no frills, no compromise road going rally car, a car true to its motorsport roots. Designed in conjunction with Ford Racing Engineers and M-Sport in Cumbria, the RS badge synonymous with the most desirable, high performance Ford vehicles was first introduced to the already accomplished Focus. Only 4,501 examples were built with only 2,147 sold to the UK market. EXTERIOR Finished in the only colour available, striking Imperial Blue Metallic, (Code Q2), perfection seekers will be amazed with the outstanding exterior finish of this low mileage example. With styling cues from the Focus RS WRC project more aggressive polypropylene front and rear bumpers were developed for the Focus RS for extensive downforce and are virtually unmarked with only a few tiny stone chips. The correct Hella fog lights and blue turn indicator bulbs remain fitted and all exterior panels unique to the Focus RS body are pristine. The original supplying dealer number plates and rear screen sticker are affixed as are rare and delicate manufacturer stickers in door shuts and other discreet places often lost with the first wash. The underside is factory correct and clean with factory blue production dabs of paint visible thanks to low mileage dry use and temperature controlled storage. INTERIOR Inside this competition-inspired performance Focus RS is an impressive list of motorsport-derived equipment from a pair of body-hugging Sparco road-race seats swathed in luxurious Racing Black and Blue Leather and Black Alcantara, (Code AR), to aluminium fittings, push button start and a numbered plaque. Having covered just 7,424 miles, the interior condition is flawless and undeniably showroom fresh. The instrument cluster features segregated and individually framed gauges with a bold blue band graphic scheme all functioning perfectly. The desirable and no longer obtainable Focus RS carpet mats remain unused and stored in the boot with a set of standard Focus mats having been used instead to protect the carpets from new. The boot carpet has also been protected by a Ford boot tray. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION At the heart of this Focus RS is the powerful 2.0 Duratec RS four-cylinder 16v engine which can trace its roots to the Focus WRC engine design. With an air-to-water aircharge intercooler, a water-cooled turbocharger and oil-spray cooled pistons, it boosts output to 212bhp at 5500rpm and 310Nm torque at 3500rpm. The maximum speed is 144mph while 0-60 is dispatched in just 6.4 seconds! The engine bay is factory perfect. The Ford MTX-75 gearbox with a heavy-duty AP Racing clutch and Quaife Automatic Torque-Biasing (ATB) differential offers the ultimate rally road car experience. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The pristine 8 x 18inch O.Z Racing wheels manufactured in light aluminium alloy are shod in premium Pirelli P Zero 225/40 ZR18 tyres. Peer through the large openings between the spokes and onlookers will be amazed at the beautifully detailed and spotless Brembo 4-pot calipers and 325mm ventilated discs which generate braking forces exceeding 1.0 g and can halt the car from 100mph in 4.1 seconds. HISTORY FILE Built on 29th April 2003 and registered new on 23rd June 2003, a new car sales invoice from the supplying main dealer, Sandicliffe Motor Group, reveals a purchase price of £19,970 to the first owner, Mr Teear. Ford reputedly made a loss of around £4,000 on each car sold, but such was demand when the cars were new that used examples were sold for more than list price! A further two custodians have cherished this car retaining and filing all documentation neatly and chronically in an A4 folder. The last cambelt change was carried out at Ford Lifestyle Motor Group in September 2013 at 7,288 miles. The warranted miles are now only 7,424. The history files also includes rare collector artefacts such as production cards, key tags and old tax discs. All original handbooks, service books and special RS supplements are contained within the Ford wallet and two keys with RS fobs are present. Virtually unrepeatable. MOT April 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/f8lyqHWbcjM To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskRV27Yp 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 7424 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £25,995 £25,995