2002 Ford Focus Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
February 27, 2002

Take it from experience — even with a fresh disposable razor and a jar of Metabolife, it’s highly unlikely you’ll discover any hidden inner Vin Diesel. Some heads just aren’t meant to be shaved and some abs just refuse to show themselves in public.

While buffness doesn’t come without work, you can have some of the performance of those fast and furious machines Vin seems to like, and pretty easily. You can steer clear of the 160-hp version and score a 200-hp Acura RSX, or sneer at the base coupe and go for a 170-hp Civic Si hatch, for example.

But even from those starting points, you might still spend a year’s worth of weekends in the garage embedding new chips and stringing new exhaust systems and fulfilling three of the five legal requirements for estrangement from your spouse. Have at it — or you can admit to yourself that all you really want is a little more power and some of the cool aero add-ons and buy something like the prepackaged hot rod that is the Ford SVT Focus.

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What Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) calls “the most technologically advanced vehicle SVT has produced so far” is really a shortcut. If you’re an enthusiast that wants an aftermarket-looking car, but you don’t know ratchet sets from Nurse Ratched, the SVT Focus is one quick way to street cred. You won’t have to spend a month of Sundays figuring out that a supercharger does nothing to get your cell phone back to life, nor do you have to spend much money doing it. Just $17,995 gets you 170 hp, a six-speed gearbox, good-looking add-ons and a factory warranty that no Pep Boys can match.

Mod mods

How does a mild-mannered Focus three-door become a sexier, faster piece of urban surgical equipment? It goes to SVT for the car equivalent of a two-week stint at a fitness resort. SVT’s mission is to take existing vehicles and give them a sort of American AMG treatment, boosting output, firming up suspensions and ladling on aftermarket cues like spoilers and unique trim, and the Focus benefits from a little of everything.

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