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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
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Last updated: 14th Aug 2016
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  • Ford Focus

    £13,495 £13,495

    Cloth Upholstery, Anti Lock Brakes, Curtain Airbags, Driver Airbag, ISOFIX, Passenger Airbag, Electronic Brake Assistance (EBA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Air Conditioning, Alloy Wheels, Power Assisted Steering (PAS), Traction Control, Alarm, Electric Seat Adjustment, CD Radio, DAB Radio, Front Fog Lights, Bodykit, USB and AUX, Adjustable Steering Column, Leather Steering Wheel, Roof Rails, 12v Socket, 12v Socket - Rear, Solid Paint, Front Armrest

    • Mileage: 35100 mi
    • Engine size: 1999
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    Viking Garages
  • Ford Focus 2.0 ST 170 5d 173 BHP cherished Example

    £1,450 £1,450

    FORD FOCUS ST 170,,,VERY RARE SPEC... 115k (5 DOOR MODEL)..IMPERIAL BLUE..LAST YEAR OF MANUFACTURE,,,THIS CAN ONLY BECOME A COLLECTERS CLASSIC...OLD M.O.T,S & RECEIPTS..NICE LEATHER INTERIOR,LIKE NEW..VOSA CHECKED..NICE EXPENSIVE EXHAUST FITTED..M.O.T OCT 2017...Please do your own checks...DO NOT OFFER RUBBISH...THIS CAR IS A VERY RARE FIND...(((( BE SENSIBLE ))) IF YOU THINK YOU CAN GET A BETTER ONE & CHEAPER... PLEASE GO & GET IT.. WILLING TO SWAP P/X OR OFFERS JUST ASK ITS NO PROBS 07933689130. MILTON KEYNES

    • Mileage: 114000 mi
    • Engine size: 1988
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS RS 2016

    £33,250 £33,250

    Ford Focus RS, 5 Year Extended Warranty, Mountune Factory Ford Power Upgrade, City Pack, Lux Pack, Black Forged Alloys, Door Protectors, Nav, Rear Camera, Sunroof, Front and Rear Black View Dashcam, Paint Protection, Recaro Seats, Delivery and Finance Available, Px Welcome

    • Mileage: 7000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.261
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £13,795 £13,795

    Ford Approved Used Car, Xenon headlamps with auto levelling & jet wash, LED daytime running lights, Recaro sports seats with drivers 8 way adjustment, Leather trimmed seats, Heated front seats, Style Pack, Red brake calipers, Rado grey finished alloy wheels, Privacy Glass, Bluetooth hands free , Sony DAB premium audio system with Radio / CD, USB connectivity, Steering wheel mounted audio controls, Dual zone electronic climate control, Automatic headlights, Automatic rain sensing wipers, Auto dimming rear view mirror, St bodykit with single wing rear spoiler, Unique St Steering wheel with logo & red stitching, Unique St leather gear knob, Key less entry, Key less start with power start button, Cruise Control, Electric front windows, Electrically adjustable & heated door mirrors, Quickclear heated windscreen, Multi function trip computer, External temperature sensor & display, Front fog lights, 18'' Alloys, Full service history A stunning car that has been truly cherished by its previous owner. Quite rare to find these with just one private owner and a full history from the supplying dealer as it was supplied and maintained by ourselves from new having had 4 annual services, the last one in October 2016 at 19,600 miles. With the all important options when new of Key less entry, Privacy glass and Style pack adding to the visual appeal of this lovely St. If this is the type of car you are after you would be hard pushed to find one in such good condition and with such low mileage, a viewing of this car is the only way to see for yourself.

    • Mileage: 21000 mi
    • Engine size: 1999
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS ST-2 2007

    £6,795 £6,795

    What a fantastic ST in excellent condition both inside out out, Full Ford service history, 2 sensible private owners from new, completely standard unmolested car, not many on the market in this condition, impeccably maintained, HPI clear, faultless drive, must be seen,, Upgrades - Metallic Paint, 12 months MOT, Last serviced at 66,900 miles, Full dealership history, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning, Heated Front Screen, Alarm, Electric Windows (Front), Quickclear Heated Windscreen, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Sony Audio Sys with 6 CD Changer, Alloy Wheels (18in). 5 seats, Blue, 12/ 24/ 36 months Autoguard nationwide parts and labour warranties available, Very competitive finance packages, No deposit required, Low finance rates, Pay nothing for 2 months, All major credit and debit cards accepted, For more information call any time 8am to 9pm, P/X Welcome.,

    • Mileage: 70000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.521
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £8,950 £8,950

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Xenon Headlamps, Anti-Theft System, Remote Central Locking, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Traction Control, Stability Control, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Quick-Clear Screen, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, CD Player, FOCUS ST SPECIALISTS MORE IN STOCK SEE WEB SITE, WWW.ST-FOCUS.COM This ST3 benefits from a MOUNTUNE MP260 conversion which includes a larger ALLOY INTERCOOLER and MOUNTUNE ECU SOFTWARE,( IT HAS ALL RELEVANT MOUNTUNE PAPERWORK) it also has a full MILTEK STAINLESS SPORTS EXHAUST, 200 CELL SPORTS CAT, RS CLUTCH, GROUP A INDUCTION KIT, It is in superb condition and has lots of paperwork and a good service history.

    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 2521
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS 2.5 ST-3 2010

    £10,495 £10,495

    Next MOT due 20/12/2017, Last serviced at 47,000 miles, Full service history, Excellent bodywork, Interior - Excellent Condition, Tyre condition Excellent, Air Conditioning - Manual, Quickclear Heated Windscreen, Power Front Windows - One Touch Up/Down, Alarm - Thatcham (Category 1) Approved Perimeter and Volume Sensing, 8J x 18in 5-Spoke Alloy Wheels, Sony 6CD Audio System, Electric door mirrors, Remote central locking, Traction control. 5 seats, White, OVER 40 VEHICLES AVAILABLE TO VIEW IN OUR INDOOR SHOWROOM, ALL VEHICLES GO THROUGH A 50 POINT MECHANICAL INSPECTION and UPTO 3 YEARS WARRANTY AVALIABLE, ALL PAYMENT METHODS ACCEPTED and PART EXCHANGE CONSIDERED, NO DEPOSIT and LOW RATES OF FINANCE AVALIABLE, DRIVE AWAY THE SAME DAY WITH OUR 5 DAY INSURANCE, NATIONWIDE DELIVERY ARRANGED. We would be more than accommodating should an out of hours appointment be required please call on 01642 847847 or 07909 678150.

    • Mileage: 51300 mi
    • Engine size: 2.521
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS ST-2 2007

    £5,650 £5,650

    Focus ST-2 in EXCELLENT Condition, FULL Service History, 12 Months MOT, 3 Previous Owners, Starts and Drives Beautiful, ** FINANCE AVAILABLE** VERY GOOD Example of a Focus ST, HPI CLEAR, 2 Keys and Full V5....Any Inspection is welcome Viewers will not be disappointed in this car! ;CHESTERFIELD MOTOR SALES is a friendly, family run independent car dealership, we pride ourselves on only selling only the best quality of stock and we provide a full range of facilities such as finance packages tailored for the individual, nationwide delivery and we supply national warranty packages that range from 3-36 months!;We take credit/debit card payments, offer drive away insurance and ALL our cars are HPI checked and clear!;You can even take advantage of our hassle Free Part exchange Service.... We are confident in what we do and ANY inspection is welcome, potential buyers can view the car of their choice in our indoor showroom and we are certain you won't be disappointed!;For more information on this car or to arrange a test drive don't hesitate to give us a call today.;Please Note viewing is by appointment only.

    • Mileage: 84967 mi
    • Engine size: 2.521
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS ST-2 2010

    £8,995 £8,995

    Here we have a Ford Focus ST-2 in Panther Black with very low GENUINE Mileage, Only 44000 Miles, The car will come with a fresh 12 Months MOT and a FULL SERVICE for the next owner! The Car Starts and Drives just like it should with No issues or problems, Comes with the V5 and 2 Keys, HPI Clear ** FINANCE AVAILABLE** Give us a call for a finance package that is suitable for you! ;CHESTERFIELD MOTOR SALES is a friendly, family run independent car dealership, we pride ourselves on only selling only the best quality of stock and we provide a full range of facilities such as finance packages tailored for the individual, nationwide delivery and we supply national warranty packages that range from 3-36 months!;We take credit/debit card payments, offer drive away insurance and ALL our cars are HPI checked and clear!;You can even take advantage of our hassle Free Part exchange Service.... We are confident in what we do and ANY inspection is welcome, potential buyers can view the car of their choice in our indoor showroom and we are certain you won't be disappointed!;For more information on this car or to arrange a test drive don't hesitate to give us a call today.;Please Note viewing is by appointment only.

    • Mileage: 44709 mi
    • Engine size: 2.521
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS ST 170 2003

    £1,995 £1,995

    FORD Focus ST 170 finished in Grey (Manual), ONLY 88,000 MILES with black/blue PART LEATHER INTERIOR, Serviced at 4K, 8K, 12K, 15K, 18K, 20K, 31K, 36K, 43K, 59K and 88K miles, CAMBELT and WATER PUMP changed 2016, 12 MONTHS MOT.;;Features include Central Locking, Remote Locking, CD Autochanger, Warranted Mileage, Half Leather, Alloy Wheels, Sports Seats, Electric Windows, Air Conditioning, Spare Key, Electric Mirrors, Adjustable Steering Wheel, Six Speed Gearbox.;;PART EXCHANGE TO CLEAR.;;VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.;;Only GBP 1,995;

    • Mileage: 88000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.988
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS RS 2.3 ECOBOOST 2016

    £36,999 £36,999

    **Just arrived, HD images to follow**;;R Sawyers are please to present this absolutely stunning Ford Focus RS in Frozen White. ;;The standard features on this car are fantastic and make it great value some of which are:;Launch Control System.;Drift Mode.;AWD Torque vectoring control.;Bi-Xenon HID headlamps.;Quick clear heated screen.;350mm ventilated front disc brakes with lightweight Brembo 4 pot callipers.;Performance gear shift light.;Dual zone climate control.;And much, much more.;;;This particular RS comes with the most sort after of extras which include:;19" Black forged alloy wheels.;Blue Brembo brake callipers.;Fords new Sync 3 Navigation system with 10 speakers and rear view camera.;Recaro shell sports seats.;Door edge protectors.;And Luxury pack which consists of Powerful door mirrors, rear parking distance sensors, privacy glass,cruise control with speed limiter and Ford key free system.;;It is supplied with 3 years manufactures warranty and delivery miles. This car is sure to be a future classic, they are in such high demand that if you were to order with Ford today it is still a 1 year waiting list. This car is in physical stock and is registered January 2017 on a "66" plate.;;Act now to make sure that you don't miss this stunning car and avoid the waiting list.;;Finance can be arranged subject to status.

    • Mileage: 33 mi
    • Engine size: 2.3
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £23,888 £23,888

    Variant name:2.5 RS 3dr ,Derivative:RS ,Variant: 2.5 RS 3dr 5 Star NCAP Rating,6 Speed Gearbox,ABS,Air Conditioning,Alloy Wheels,Automatic Headlights,Automatic Wipers,Bluetooth Prepared,CD Player,Climate Control,Electric Mirrors,Electric Windows,Engine Immobiliser,ESP,Four Wheel Drive,Front Fog Lights,Full Service History,iPod Connection,Isofix Seats,Keyless Entry,MP3 Connectivity,Multiple Airbags,Onboard Computer,Parking Distance Control,Power Steering,Traction Control

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 23438 mi
    • Engine size: 2.5
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £9,450 £9,450

    WWW.ST-FOCUS.COM, FOCUS ST SPECIALISTS MORE IN STOCK SEE WEB SITE This Tuned ST2 has had a lot of money spent on it with recognised ST TUNERS.....DEVIL DEVELOPMENTS and BD PERFORMANCE. It has a recently built FULLY FORGED ENGINE ( only 3000 miles11) this has PEC rods and WISECO pistons to enable it to run at 400 BHP. The head was also fully rebuilt and of course has the BLOCK MOD. RS FOCUS TURBO, It has 750cc injectors, MONGOOSE PERFORMANCE STAINLESS EXHAUST with DECAT, LARGE RS ST2 AIRTEC INTERCOOLER, BBS TYPE 18'' ALLOYS, QUAFFE LSD, RS CLUTCH, AND MORE ETC.......

    • Mileage: 1 mi
    • Engine size: 2521
    For sale
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