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2003 Thunderbird

Consumer Reviews

2003 Ford Thunderbird

$5,870 - $22,326  MSRP Range
2003 Ford Thunderbird

Review Score

4.5 out of 5 stars

4.5

34 Reviews
91% of drivers recommend this car
Score Breakdown
4.6 out of 5 stars Comfort
4.5 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
4.5 out of 5 stars Interior Design
4.4 out of 5 stars Reliability
4.6 out of 5 stars Performance
4.8 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

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What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 10 of 34 reviews

5 out of 5 stars

She saved my life

by Loved my T-Bird!! She saved my life! from Pueblo West, CO on Tue Feb 23 2016

I had always wanted a convertible. Once I sat in this beautiful 2003 T-Bird, I fell in love with her. I drove her off the showroom floor. Her performance was always more than I expected. I always felt safe and tucked close when I drove her. I kept her garaged and even at 53,000 miles she didn't have a scratch. Well, in June 2015 someone ran me off the hi-way and I ended up rolling twice, went over the guard rail and landed facing traffic on the other side of the hi-way. I didn't know how extremely well-built she was...the set belt, air bags, frame, soft top, roll bar all did their jobs. I walked away from that beautiful car...alive. Sooo, I am looking for another one like her. I just wanted to comment on the safety of the T-Birds.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

24 out of 24 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

FUNderbird

by Car Lover from Southern Indiana on Fri Feb 13 2009

I owned a 57 Tbird until the Vietnam War took me away. I always told my wife that I would buy another 2 seater Tbird if Ford would make one again. After a long wait, Ford finally made it. I didn't buy one the first year because I thought it needed fins. After a year of turning in at every Ford lot with one on display, my wife finally said, "you can get any Tbird you want as long as it is red with red and black interior and bun warmers." I got on the internet and found it 100 miles from home. I've never been sorry I bought it. It is all the car the old 57 was, but it is more civilized. It drives and handles beautifully. We have driven it about 38,000 miles now. We liked it so well that we bought a Lincoln LS, which is the same basic car with a different body. (Same engine, drive train, suspension and dash layout) We have driven it on some trips of more than 2000 miles. It usually gets about 27-29 mpg on a long trip. I keep a log of all gas which has been put in it. The lowest gas mileage we ever got was 19 mpg, and it usually gets around 23 mpg. The trunk is a little cramped, but is adequate if you pack well and leave non-essentials at home. I have done all maintenance work on it myself. I have had two problems with it, both repaired under warranty. The transmission valve body was replaced when the car had about 20,000 miles on it. The left light socket on the light in the bumper was replaced at the same time. No other problems with it. I think Ford should have put Homelink on this car. My F150 Lariat even has it! It is comfortable to drive, but the Lincoln and the F150 are more comfortable. The ride is comfortable. I notice a little bit of cowl shake when the hardtop is removed, but it is not that objectionable. It is great with the top down, and there is very little wind. The heated seats are great for night top down cruising. It is very quiet for a convertible, top up or down. We drove it in a Christmas parade and as we passed, a rather bored looking woman suddenly came to life, pointed at our car, and yelled at her husband, "That's what I want for Christmas!!" It is a beautiful, unique car, and is fun to won and drive.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

14 out of 14 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Fun and sophisticated

by Waited a long time from Alexandria, VA on Sun Nov 23 2014

I've owned 4 sports cars before, my 03 T-Bird is #5. Point is, I know what I expect in a sports car (looks, power, luxury, convertible, comfort, etc.). My Tbird has it all in spades. It is metallic gray with deep buckskin leather seats. I LOVE this car. Fabric top drops down and returns easily. EXCELLENT sound system. Eight cylinders gives you all the power you need. Lot's of memories are going to be made with this Tbird. I feel very fortunate to own such a car. And many thanks to Ford for making it an instant classic when they made the unfathomable decision to stop making them.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Dream Car

by Bird Mama from KY on Sun Jul 01 2007

I have longed for a Thunderbird since I was a little girl and bought mine in '03. I love the acceleration, road handling, comfort and breeze on a warm summer evening. The distinctive look 4 years later still made it a fun drive and kept me washing & shining more than I would most other cars, but a couple of weeks ago my little T-bird became history when another car made a left turn into me. The other driver I hear has multiple injuries and is still hospitalized. I walked away with some bruises and a few aches & pains. That little car, its seatbelts and air bags protected me well. I intend to look for another one.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Does recommend this car!!

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

fourth t-bird and the best

by graniteville dan from georgia on Tue Feb 05 2008

i am the second owner of a 24k mile mountain grey 2003 thunderbird with the removeable hardtop. over the span of many many years this is the fourth t-bird i have owned. the others were a 64, a 67 4-door, and a 76. this is more like what a t-bird should be like, 2 seats, v8 engine, rear wheel drive, and removeable top. i am completely satisfied with my purchase. it feels tight going down the road and when you put the pedal to the metal it really gets up and goes for such a heavy car. it gets lots of looks. i cant think of anything i would change. well maybe the top could be a little lighter,(it weighs 80 pounds).

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Personal Luxury and Excellent Performance

by Se’or Gar from North West on Wed Aug 02 2017

Quick Review ... Drove 3000 miles in four days in complete comfort. OK, it's not ideal for driving in snow and it doesn't have much trunk space but its understated style, excellent handling, power, smoothness and comfort make for ideal civilized personal transport (as a second car). Always draws admiring glances without being ostentatious. Economical to fuel; 18 US mpg running errands and 26 US mpg for weekend getaways. Longer story ... 2001 saw the introduction of the 2002 11th gen two seat retro Thunderbird. I noticed this car and did give it a passing glance but unaccustomed to dreaming beyond my financial means it soon became a vague memory. A few years ago on the internet I discovered that a 2003 Mountain Shadow Grey Thunderbird had suddenly become affordable for this pensioner of modest means. I began searching, learning and saving. In the spring of 2013 I found the right low mileage one owner car in Pennsylvania. After due diligence and a flight east I was able to drive it home in surprising comfort and in only four days. It has taken on the task of daily driver and elder limo (mom is in her 90's) with grace and aplomb. A few interesting facts about the 11th generation Thunderbird ’ 1. Although futuristic and European design concepts were considered, Ford’s Skunk Works team won the day with key retro elements such as the reverse wedge profile, round tail lights, hash marks on the side of the front fenders, egg crate grill and iconic hood scoop. 2. The 2002-2005 thunderbird was born or should I say modeled on a computer eliminating two generations of prototyping. Existing engineering, manufacturing and safety data helped quick model a car that could actually be built and operated as it eventually was in Wixom, 30 miles from Detroit. 3. Ford owned Jaguar at the time so the DEW98 platform (unibody chassis components) was created by engineers on both sides of the Atlantic for use in the Lincoln LS, Jaguar S-Type (another retro) and the Thunderbird. 4. The 11th gen Ford Thunderbird has a Jaguar V8 engine, Ford transmission and unique fully independent suspension to make up this platform. The engine’s short block (block/pistons/rods/crank) was manufactured in Ohio (the rest of the engine came from Jaguar in England) and the stroke is 1 mm shorter than the Jaguar S-Type’s equivalent so that the engine was marketed as a 3.9 liter vs. Jaguar’s otherwise identical 4.0 liter. 5. The 11th gen Thunderbird is a departure from the traditional feel of large V8 `American Muscle’ cars. Not so much forcefully powerful as it is smooth and quick yet acceleration as fast as any Thunderbird built. Not surprisingly this car has much the same feel as the Jaguar V8 cars of the same period. 6. The trunk will bring home only a week’s groceries for two people but you knew it was just a two seat car, didn’t you.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Transporting family

Does recommend this car!!

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful styling

by Surf guitar from San Luis Obispo on Mon Feb 18 2013

Standout styling with comfortable saddle leather interior. Dual heat/air controls, CD player sounds great, plenty of V8 power, great launches from a red light!

4 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

A fun car, but with some issues

by Lupulin from Baltimore, Maryland on Wed Jan 03 2018

These retro-style convertible Thunderbirds look great and are fun to drive, but are a bit expensive to maintain. Recommended that you need to use the highest octain fuel and the mileage is only around 15 mpg, so gas gets expensive. Also, getting harder to find parts for it when needed and there are 2 design issues that tend to crop up - one that requires a transmission rebuild and the other requires replacement of the ignition coils. Both are expensive. The car also is in a bit of an awkward position in terms of what it is supposed to be. Looks sporty and has a reasonably powerful V8, but the body is heavy, so it's not really a true sports car. Still on warm sunny days with the top down it is a lot of fun to tool around in!

4 out of 5 starsComfort
3 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Most Stylish car i've owned

by Duffy 71 from Lincoln Ne on Wed Jul 04 2018

This car is a class act.It drives nice, rides nice, and turns heads.Mine is a 2002 White bird with Hard Top.Only thing Ford should have done was make hard top Retractable in trunk.Beautiful,beautiful cruiser.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Drove 3000 miles in four days in complete comfort.

by Se’or Gar from North West on Mon Jun 26 2017

OK, it's not ideal for driving in snow and it doesn't have much trunk space but its understated style, excellent handling, power, smoothness and comfort make for ideal civilized personal transport (as a second car). Always draws admiring glances without being ostentatious. Economical to fuel; 18 US mpg running errands and 26 US mpg for weekend getaways.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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Our Take on the 2003 Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird still gets plenty of attention. People stop and stare, ogling its retro form with unabashed appreciation, looking it over stem to stern as it glides past in traffic.

The bright-red, 2003 T-Bird test car also garnered many unsolicited compliments.

Still, during my time with the Thunderbird last month, Ford announced it would cease production of its stylish roadster after the 2005 or '06 model year. The end is coming because Thunderbird has a critical problem: Despite the apparent adoration, not enough people are buying them.

Thunderbird made a huge splash when it was unveiled in 2001, complete with waiting lists and markups. But it was soon labeled a boulevard cruiser, with... Read More