2004 Ford Focus

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$12,965

starting MSRP

2004 Ford Focus

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Maneuverability
  • Interior space
  • Hatchback versatility
  • Distinctive styling

The bad:

  • Performance with automatic
  • Frontal-offset crash-test rating in two-door model
  • Resale value

7 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Ford Focus trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Choice of four-cylinder engines
  • Euro-style handling
  • Manual or automatic
  • Variety of body styles
  • Available high-performance SVT model

2004 Ford Focus review: Our expert's take

By

Is it souped yet?
Ford and others are making a furious push into the sport accessories market.

Sport compact “tuner” car culture – a la “The Fast and the Furious” – emerged in the mid-’90s when a generation of new drivers began fixing up their beloved first cars, mostly used Honda Civics, Preludes and Accords. These cars, while exceptionally sound mechanically, were about as sexy as corrective headgear.

Kids wanting to invest these grotty hand-me-downs with some style and performance had to rely on their ingenuity, for the most part. High school auto shop classes became crowded with kids laying up their own fiberglass air dams, welding megaphonic extensions to tailpipes and taking cutting torches to springs.

In this respect, sport-compact tuning materialized out of the same ether as hot rodding in the 1940s and ’50s. Both were grass-roots, anarchic, existentially D.I.Y. Both began as eyeball engineering, where if something looked fast, then it was fast.

And both movements quickly aroused vast, highly specialized industries to support them. By the late 1960s, hot rodders could draw from a pornocopia of high-performance goods found in the back pages of Hot Rod magazine or Hemmings Motor News; brands like Edlebrock, Hurst, Holley, Rochester and Flowmaster have become bits of gear-head Americana.

Likewise, current issues of Sport Compact Car magazine — what Guns and Ammo is to the rifle-in-the-tower set — are crowded with ads shilling everything from screaming “Stage III” turbochargers to carbon-fiber rear spoilers the size of blackjack tables. Some aftermarket companies are familiar, blue-chip firms like AP Racing, Eibach, Neuspeed and Momo. Some evolved out of racing, such as CompTech and NOS. Others are purely creatures of the tuner phenomenon, like Greddy, APC and Wings West. The sport-compact aftermarket is now worth more than $3.2-billion a year.

The limiting factor to all this rampant prosperity is that relatively few people have the tools or know-how to properly modify modern cars. This is a key difference between hot rodding and tuning: Most tuning is not D.I.Y., but D.I.F.M., “do it for me.” Bad things happen when inexperienced hobbyists stuff leaf-blower turbochargers, lumpy cams and Taiwanese electronic control modules under the hood. Such monstrosities often detonate in festive clouds of carbon-fiber shrapnel.

You may ask why anyone beyond a hormone-sotted teenager should care. It’s because the aftermarket is heading your way.

This I predict: Very soon, car buyers will be able to choose from a punch-list of factory-approved tuner parts available through your local dealer — HKS exhaust system? Check. Brembo brakes? Check — and all conveniently installed and financed as part of the car’s purchase price. No tools, no mess, just a checkbook.

It seems inevitable: What began as a fringy, outlaw car hobby — born in teenage status anxiety and bred in thousands of garages stinking of smoked pistons — will go mainstream as part of an increasingly sophisticated array of dealer options. Why? Because that’s where the money is.

It’s already happening. Toyota has its own aftermarket division, Toyota Racing Development, whose parts are sold through authorized dealers. You can now order its superchargers for most of the engines in Toyota’s paddock. The superchargers come with a one-year guarantee. If the dealer installs the unit, Toyota will honor the vehicle’s powertrain warranty.

Is your 230-hp Dodge SRT-4 feeling a little limp? DaimlerChrysler’s Mopar division will soon offer, through its authorized dealers, a thermonuclear turbo upgrade that will raise the engine output to 300 hp and 300 pound-feet of torque.

And last month, Ford Racing Performance Parts introduced its own catalog of aftermarket pieces for its Focus coupe, one of the best-handling and most popular hot hatches on the market. The “F t Focus” wish-book offers everything from whiteface competition gauges and carbon-fiber shift knobs to a Jackson Racing supercharger kit, all available through Ford authorized dealers, with optional installation.

Mass customization: It’s not just an oxymoron anymore.

I spent a couple of weeks recently in a Ford Focus SVT that had been breathed on by the folks at Ford and Roush Racing, using parts from the new Fast Focus catalog. It felt like the future. No screwy suspension geometry to make the car all wonky on straight roads. No strange noises or burning smells. The car felt bone-stock, only faster.

The Focus is a leading contender in the FIA World Rally Championship, and our test car had a distinctly Euro flavor to it. The aggressive body cladding — styled after the Focus Rally RS package — looked like it had grown in place. The test car was kitted with the European Appearance package, including high-intensity discharge headlamps, mirrored tail lamps, moon roof, rib-gripping Recaro seats and a stereo system fully capable of making manhole covers jump from their sockets.

With its glossy black wheels and glittering, prismatic eyes, the yellow car had the capricious malevolence of an angry bee.

The performance parts integrated seamlessly into the car. This car’s SVT engine — a 2.0-liter Zetec four-banger — had been fitted with the Jackson Supercharger. On the hot side of the engine, the car exhaled through a Borla cat-back system (a high-flow exhaust replacing the stock pieces from the catalytic converter back, for $479). Thus ventilated, the Focus gusted along on 220 horsepower, 50 more than the stock SVT and enough to slap-shot the car to 60 mph in just under seven seconds.

Beneath its composite-panel petticoats, the Focus had been modified with a lowered sport suspension — up-rated springs and struts — and shod with the black-anodized 17-inch wheels. These pieces didn’t change the Focus SVT’s handling so much as scaled the limits upward. Grippy, balanced and easy to drive on the limit, the catalog-enhanced SVT negotiated the coils of the Angeles Crest like a bubble-shaped BMW.

And there you have it: an off-the-shelf tuner car, no assembly required.

There are some curiosities to report. The Jackson supercharger for the Focus SVT retails for $2,795 if ordered directly from the company. Ford charges an additional $305 for the same piece. Also, Jackson offers a one-year guarantee on the unit, while Ford makes no such offer. Such price premiums and stingy warranty policies may change as more of the automakers compete in the dealer-side aftermarket business.

Hot rodding was never quite co-opted by the major manufacturers, though before the first oil crunch of the early 1970s low-volume performance vehicles like the Corvette LT-1 and Pontiac GTO did vie for enthusiasts’ attention. As the automakers move further into the tuner aftermarket, something of the culture ‘s raw exuberance and wildcatting spirit is diminished. But the engineering is getting better. Will this underground hobby survive when it’s exposed to the sun?

Stay tuned.

2004 Ford Focus SVT Tuner

Wheelbase: 103 inches

Length: 168.1 inches

Powertrain: 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder, supercharged, six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive

Optional equipment: European Appearance Package (sound system, Recaro seats ); Jackson Racing supercharger, Borla cat-back exhaust system, coilover suspension system, 17-inch rally wheels, Ford Racing floor mats

Horsepower: approximately 220 at 7,000 rpm

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in seven seconds

Price, base: $18,590

Price, as tested: $27,420

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.8
  • Interior design 3.7
  • Performance 3.8
  • Value for the money 4.1
  • Exterior styling 3.9
  • Reliability 3.9

Most recent consumer reviews

4.6

Have loved it, bought a 04 Ford Focus ZTS 5 speed.

In 2020 and a half I bought a 2004 Focus ZTS 5-speed manual. It had a 113,000 miles on it and 30,000 miles on it. I bought it for right at $1,900 and about a month after buying it I did put a new catalytic converter on it. That was a costly repair, just the part alone will be anywhere from $500 to about $800. Then you've got the labor. The labor cost is and can be very extensive because they have to loosen the motor mounts lower your motor to get to where they can take it out. I'm not sure what Ford was thinking when they designed this because for a car that brand spanky knew there's only $18,000, and it has a $1,500 repair for a catalytic converter because it bolts up directly to your manifold there is no pipe that comes down off the manifold to it and then a pipe to your muffler. I found a reputable muffler shop in my area that was willing and somehow able to do it for $850 and that included one O2 sensor that I wanted to have replaced the one that mounts right up on your converter the number one. In about 9 months later I have to replace the alternator. I chose to let a mechanic that has done work for me for 30 years tackle that one. Once again unless you have the really right tools like I'm sure the shops do, the job for the Pro. I wasn't willing to tackle this one. Got to loosen the motor mount dropped the motor down a little bit just not my cup of tea I mean I could have done it I just chose not to and the result was I spent like $700 but my mechanic also gave me a 2-year warranty on both the parts and the labor if it were to fail then the alternator itself has a lifetime warranty. Can't go wrong with a warranty on that like that! When I bought the car there was a little bit of surface rust around the front fender wells. I have absolutely loved my Ford Focus I'm in the process right now of taking care of the body work that I have to do which again it's nothing but surface rust I'm going to be easy peasy or it has been so far and I'm going to paint the front fenders and the hood with one coat and I'm going to give the whole car a coat of paint using exactly what it came out of the factory with. Not necessarily OEM but it is the factory paint Oxford White. The car has been so good to me that I feel that I owe it to this car to make it look really nice. I mean it looks nice now but it's a 2004 is 2022 the car is 18 years old. Has got to be the factory paint job what's the exception of a few scratches here and there looks awesome hasn't oxidized or anything like that It was pretty awesome I also tended to windows practically black and I got a sunroof and everything works on the car just like it should. It's paid for and if I have to put you know a few hundred dollars into it every year for upkeep I'm good with that. I changed the oil religiously. The only thing I didn't like but at the same time it does have advantages is the way that the catalytic converter mounts directly to your manifold. But the positive side of that is I'll never have to worry about someone stealing my catalytic converter LOL.

5.0

Very reliveable

Love it my grandson drives it now but have had problems with transmation have had to have it fixed three times have other people had trouble with it

2.0

Bought at 4k. Seven yrs later and 6k more...

Car had 75k mileage at used purchase. Spent lots in repairs. Do not recommend. I could afford the repairs because I didn't have car payments. I'm sure other focus models have more reliability. Research!

See all 45 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage Gold
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Gold Certified: Ford models up to 6 years old with less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12-Month/12,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Blue Certified: 90-Day/4,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Powertrain
7-Year/100,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty Blue Certified: Available Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Dealer certification required
Certified 172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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