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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 ST-3 2012

    £11,920 £11,920

    WWW.TAILORSMITHAUTOMOTIVE.COM ARE PLEASED TO OFFER THIS STUNNING FOCUS ST WHICH HAS HAD 1 OWNER FROM NEW AND EVERY SERVICE AT FORD, IT ALSO HAS A GREAT SPECIFICATION INCLUDING EXTRAS SUCH AS NAVIGATION, L WINDSOR LEATHER, CRUISE CONTROL, REAR CAMERA, MEDIA BLUETOOTH AND ST STYLE PACK GBP 27870.00 NEW., Sony DAB Audio System, Voice Control and Audible Text Messaging, Heated Front Seats - Heated Cushion and Backrest, Rear Parking Distance Sensors, Air Conditioning - Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC), Hill Start Assist, Leather Seat Facing, Bluetooth, Driver Information System, Thatcham Category 1 Perimeter and Volume - Sensing Alarm, Sony Audio System, 4.2TFT Display, Branded Integrated Control Panel, Ford SYNC - Includes Emergency Assistance, USB/AUX, Quickclear Heated Windshield, 18in 5-Spoke ST Alloy Wheels (235/40 Tyres) with Locking Wheel Nuts, Electrically - Operated Front and Rear Windows, with One - Touch Lowering/Closing and Global Closing, Automatic Wipers with Rain Sensor, Deflation Detection System (DDS). 5 seats, Blue, WE HAVE BOTH KEYS FOR THE CAR INCLUDING THE FULL BOOK PACK AND THE ORIGINAL BILL OF SALE COUPLED WITH A FULLY STAMPED SERVICE BOOK AND INVOICES. ALL OF OUR VEHICLES ARE CAREFULLY SELECTED BASED ON THEIR HISTORY, SPECIFICATION AND CONDITION, THIS CAR HAS BOTH KEYS SUPPLIED AND THE FULL BOOK PACK AND THE DIGITAL PRINT OUT CONFIRMING THE HISTORY, OUR CARS 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.**.,

    • Mileage: 63800 mi
    • Engine size: 1.999
    For sale
    Tailor Smith Automotive Ltd
    01442 767305 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 2007 Ford Focus ST 500 3dr

    POA POA

    FULL SERVICE HISTORY + LIMITED EDITION + FULL RED LEATHER + HEATED SEATS + XENON HEADLIGHTS + SPORTS EXHAUST, Alarm, Alloy Wheels (18in), Airbags, Alloy wheels, Air conditioning, CD Player, Electric windows, Folding rear seats, Electric door mirrors,

    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS ST-3 2015

    £18,980 £18,980

    A SUPERB ST-3, 1 OWNER FROM NEW WITH FULL MAIN DEALER HISTORY, IN STEALTH GREY WITH GLOSS BLACK ALLOY WHEELS, GREAT COLOUR COMBINATION, BEING THE ST-3 CARRIES A HUGE SPEC INC 8" SYNC 2 NAV, BLUETOOTH, DAB, HEATED RECARO INTERIOR, PRIVACY GLASS, RED ILLUMINATED DOOR SILLS, UNMARKED INTERIOR/EXTERIOR, GREY, 2 X KEYS, *** HPI CLEAR *** PROUD TO BE PART OF THE AA DEALER PROMISE *** FREE 12 MTH AA BREAKDOWN *** 3 TO 36 MONTHS EXTENDED WARRANTY AVAILABLE *** COMPETITIVE FINANCE ARRANGED ** ALL OUR CARS ARE HPI CHECKED *** DRIVEAWAY INSURANCE *** 5 STAR REVIEWS, CHECK OUR CUSTOMER REVIEWS *** 12 MONTHS MOT AND NATIONWIDE WARRANTY ON EVERY VEHICLE *** FOR LIVE CHAT FEATURE VISIT WEBSITE ***, VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY, CALL 0121 4484554, 07860251554 TO ARRANGE VIEWING, GBP 18,980;;THIS CAR COMES WITH:;;Stealth Paint, Premium Ford SYNC2 DAB Navigation System, Active City Stop, ST Style Pack, Air Conditioning - Dual Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC), 8in High Resolution Touchscreen, Cruise Control with Active Speed Limiter, Rear Park Assist, Ford DAB Audio System, Voice Control, Heated Front Seats, Rain Sensitive Windscreen Wipers, Electrically - Operated Front Windows with One - Touch Lowering on Drivers Side, Quickclear Heated Windscreen, Bluetooth, Upholster Leather - Black Leather, Ford Key Free System, Privacy Glass, 18in 5 - Spoke Alloy Wheels (235/45 R18 Tyres) with Locking Wheel Nuts, Ford Eco Mode Driver Information System/TFT Instrument Cluster Display, Ford AM/FM CD Audio System with USB Connectivity, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Thatcham Alarm Category 1, 8-Way Power Adjustable Driver and Passenger Seats

    • Mileage: 19000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.999
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS RS 2009

    £19,980 £19,980

    A FULLY SPEC'D SUPERBLY MAINTAINED RS IN FROZEN WHITE, HAS FULL HISTORY, GREAT SPEC INC LUX PACK 2 (NAV, CLIMATE CONTROL, REVERSE CAMERA, KEYLESS ENTRY+GO), DYNAMICA SEAT UPGRADE, RS500 ALLOY WHEELS, PERFORMANCE EXHAUST UPGRADE, LOOKS STUNNING IN WHITE WITH FULL REFURB'D GLOSS BLACK ALLOY WHEELS, Upgrades - Luxury Pack, Luxury Pack 2 with Bluetooth USB, Bluetooth Hands Free Technol./Voice Control System, Partial Leather Trim - RS Dynamica, 19" RS500 Alloy Wheels, Sat Nav, Reverse Camera, Keyless Entry + Go, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning, Alarm, Alloy Wheels (19in), Heated Front Screen, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD Autochanger/MP3), Tinted Glass. 4 seats, White, 2 X KEYS, *** HPI CLEAR *** PROUD TO BE PART OF THE AA DEALER PROMISE *** FREE 12 MTH AA BREAKDOWN *** 3 TO 36 MONTHS EXTENDED WARRANTY AVAILABLE *** COMPETITIVE FINANCE ARRANGED ** ALL OUR CARS ARE HPI CHECKED *** DRIVEAWAY INSURANCE *** 5 STAR REVIEWS, CHECK OUR CUSTOMER REVIEWS *** 12 MONTHS MOT AND NATIONWIDE WARRANTY ON EVERY VEHICLE *** FOR LIVE CHAT FEATURE VISIT WEBSITE ***, VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY, CALL 0121 4484554, 07860251554 TO ARRANGE VIEWING, GBP 19,980

    • Mileage: 67121 mi
    • Engine size: 2.522
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS RS 2010

    £25,480 £25,480

    THIS RS HAS TO BE THE CLEANEST EXAMPLE AVAILABLE, PREVIOUS OWNER IS A PROFESSIONAL DETAILER AND THE CAR HAS BEEN MAINTAINED TO A HIGH STANDARD, WARRANTED LOW MILES WITH FULL HISTORY, UPGRADED DYNAMICA SEATS, LUX PACK 2 INC NAV, CAMERA, KEYLESS ENTRY + GO, RS500 ALLOYS, SITS NICE ON EIBACH SPRINGS,, Upgrades - Bluetooth Hands Free Technol./Voice Control System, Partial Leather Trim - RS Dynamica, Paint - Ultimate Green, Luxury Pack, Lux Pack 2, Sat Nav, Reverse Camera, Keyless Entry + Go, RS500 Alloy Wheels, Short Shifter, K-Sport Big Brakes, Eibach Lowering Springs, Eibach 20mm Spacers, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning, Heated Front Screen, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD Autochanger/MP3), Alloy Wheels (19in), Alarm, Tinted Glass. 4 seats, Green, SHORT SHIFT GEARS, 20MM SPACERS ALL ROUND, K-SPORT BIG BRAKE UPGRADE, SECURED WITH A VIPER ALARM, HAS TO BE SEEN TO BE APPRECIATED, FIRS TO SEE WILL BUY, *** HPI CLEAR *** PROUD TO BE PART OF THE AA DEALER PROMISE *** FREE 12 MTH AA BREAKDOWN *** 3 TO 36 MONTHS EXTENDED WARRANTY AVAILABLE *** COMPETITIVE FINANCE ARRANGED ** ALL OUR CARS ARE HPI CHECKED *** DRIVEAWAY INSURANCE *** 5 STAR REVIEWS, CHECK OUR CUSTOMER REVIEWS *** 12 MONTHS MOT AND NATIONWIDE WARRANTY ON EVERY VEHICLE *** FOR LIVE CHAT FEATURE VISIT WEBSITE ***, VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY, CALL 0121 4484554, 07860251554 TO ARRANGE VIEWING, GBP 25,480

    • Mileage: 23000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.521
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £33,990 £33,990

    Xenon Headlamps, Sports Seats, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Parking Camera, Bluetooth Media, Sony Audio, Start/Stop, Satellite Navigation, Powerfold Door Mirrors, Heated Steering Wheel, Heated Front Windscreen, DAB Radio, 4x4 Ford Focus 2.3 RS 350PS AWD 6 Speed Manual registered September 2016 finished in Frozen White with Full Black Leather and Cloth interior, One Owner from New, Recaro Shell Front Sports Seats with Blue Stitching, Reversing Camera, Sony Audio System, Luxury Pack with Powerfold Door Mirrors; Rear Parking Sensors; Ford KeyFree System; Cruise Control with Speed Limiter and Privacy Glass, Premium Ford SYNC2 DAB Satellite Navigation System, 19 Black Forged Alloys with Blue Brake Callipers, Door Edge Protectors, Heated Black Leather Multifunction RS Steering Wheel with Blue Contrast Stitching, Bluetooth Media, Heated Front Windscreen, Start/Stop, Drive Mode Select, Automatic Xenon Headlamps and Wipers, Powerfold Heated Door Mirrors, Not Yet Due a Service. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Mileage: 6500 mi
    • Engine size: 2261
    For sale
  • Ford Focus ST 3 Ecoboost 2.0 Petrol

    £12,000 £12,000

    Additional Extras Blind Spot Information System Lane Departure Warning Lane Keeping Aid Traffic Sign Recognition  City Pack - Rear Parking Senors, Folding Mirrors, Keyless Entry  Door Edge Protectors Automatic Headlights, Rain Sensing Wipers, Dimming Rear View Mirror  Illuminated Scuff Plates Bluetooth Sync System Heated and Electric Full Leather Recaros Bi-Xenon Headlights, Adaptive Front Lighting and Headlight Washers Privacey Gl 

    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    • Engine size: 1999
    For sale
  • FORD FOCUS 2.0 ST-3 Focus 2015

    £18,500 £18,500

    2015Hatchback9,600 milesManual2.0LPetrol;2 owners, Last serviced on 12/07/2016 at 7,300 miles, Full dealership history, GREY, Superb AS NEW, Original Condition inside and out. Recently serviced. HPI Checked. AA approved Assured report. PX and finance available., 30 years experience selecting pristine cars. All of our cars are fully inspected and guaranteed., GBP 18,500;This car comes with;ST Style Pack, Ford SYNC2 DAB Navigation System, ST embosed Electric Leather Seats, Rear Privacy Glass, Bi-Xenon Headlights, LED Day Running Lights, Upholster Leather - Black Leather, Heated Front Seats, 18in 5 - Spoke Alloy Wheels (235/45 R18 Tyres) with Locking Wheel Nuts, Voice Control, Cruise Control with Active Speed Limiter, Ford DAB Audio System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Quickclear Heated Windscreen, City Pack, Air Conditioning - Dual Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC), Remote Central Locking, Rain Sensitive Windscreen Wipers, Rear Park Assist, Front Passengers Airbag, Power-Assisted Steering, Thatcham Alarm Category 1, Premium Centre Console, Front Fog Lights, Ford Key Free System, Bluetooth, Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror, Front Side Impact and Front and Rear Curtain Airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Torque Vectoring Control, Sliding Armrest, 8-Way Power Adjustable Driver and Passenger Seats, Privacy Glass, Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Headlights Jet Wash, Ford Eco Mode Driver Information System/TFT Instrument Cluster Display, Ford AM/FM CD Audio System with USB Connectivity, Immobiliser, Auto

    • Mileage: 9600 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
  • Ford Focus RS AWD

    £33,990 £33,990

    Ford Focus 2.3 RS 350PS AWD 6 Speed Manual registered September 2016 finished in Frozen White with Full Black Leather and Cloth interior, One Owner from New, Recaro Shell Front Sports Seats with Blue Stitching, Reversing Camera, Sony Audio System, Luxury Pack with Powerfold Door Mirrors; Rear Parking Sensors; Ford KeyFree System; Cruise Control with Speed Limiter and Privacy Glass, Premium Ford SYNC2 DAB Satellite Navigation System, 19 Black Forged Alloys with Blue Brake Callipers, Door Edge Protectors, Heated Black Leather Multifunction RS Steering Wheel with Blue Contrast Stitching, Bluetooth Media, Heated Front Windscreen, Start/Stop, Drive Mode Select, Automatic Xenon Headlamps and Wipers, Powerfold Heated Door Mirrors, Not Yet Due a Service. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • Ford Focus ST-3

    POA POA

    JUST IN - Ford Focus ST3 6 Speed Manual registered September 2007 finished in Blue with Full Black Perforated Leather Interior, Xenon Headlamps with Washers, 18 Inch 5 Y Spoke Alloy Wheels with Blue Brake Calipers, Heated Recaro Font Sports Seats, Black Perforated Leather Steering Wheel, Electric Door Mirrors, Sony 6 CD Changer with Radio and Bluetooth Telephone Connectivity, Climate Control, Integrated Heated Front Windscreen, Aluminium Pedals and Interior Trim, Rear Spoiler, ISO FIX, Alarm and Immobiliser, Full Service History at T.C. Harrison Ford on 11/09/08 at 7,541; 06/11/09 at 12,843; Finishline Ltd on 23/06/10 at 21,439 and LTG Motors on 06/10/12 at 26,740; 06/07/13 and 08/07/14 at 33,968 and New Rear Brake Pads fitted on 12/09/14 at 34,714. Finance available on request - subject to status. Fully Valeted; 12 Months MOT; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Year: 2007
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £18,993 £18,993

    Bluetooth, Keyless Entry, Cruise Control, Privacy Glass, Full service history **ALL VEHICLES COME WITH A RAC WARRANTY INCLUDED*** BLUE, We are delighted to present for sale this mint condition superb example of the stunning Focus RS painted in a gorgeous metallic Performance blue and comes with a full service history. The cars features include Luxury package 1&2, Upgraded leather Recaro seats, Stage 1 airtec intercooler, Stage 2 Carbon Fibre air box, Milltek non-resonated cat back exhaust, Clifford remote start alarm, 19 inch performance alloy's, Blue stiching seats with alcantara black, Power door dead lock with electric release, Super sport suspension, Xenon headlights, Carbon fibre interior trim, Race seats with RS Embossed, Gear change paddles, Bluetooth, Nav, Keyless entry with stop start function, Cruise control, Duel zone air con, Rain sensing wipers, R performance adjustable steering wheel, Rear parking sensors, Privacy glass, CD and AUX Input. All standard parts available. Category 1 alarm and immobiliser. ***This car is HPI clear, we accept credit and debit card payments, we can organise competitive finance for you and will would be happy to take your current vehicle as part exchange. Indoor viewing area. Nationwide delivery available. All vehicles are subject to a £80 admin fee. VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. *** (U633), £18,993, If somebody replies with the e-mail address leontommy6gmail.com, please disregard and inform us directly, as they are not associated to our business.

    • Mileage: 70000 mi
    • Engine size: 2500
    For sale
  • Ford Focus

    £19,947 £19,947

    Variant name:2.0T EcoBoost ST-3 Navigation 5dr ,Derivative:ST-3 ,Variant: 2.0T EcoBoost ST-3 Navigation 5dr 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,Upgraded Alloy Wheels

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 3338 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
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