Used Ford Focus Hatchback (1998 - 2004) Safety & Reliability

Review by David Ross on
Last Updated: 02 Apr 2013
The Focus was nothing short of a revelation when it was launched, offering a superb blend of practicality, comfort and keen handling. A great all-rounder, it continues to be a hugely popular model and with a wide range of engines and trims there's something to suit everyone.
3.5 out of 5



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  • Adult Occupant Rating

    4 out of 5
  • Pedestrian Test Rating

    2 out of 5

All models come with twin front airbags, but ABS and traction control are options on many. However the Ford gained a respectable four-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Strong deadlocks (on all but the base model CL) make it secure and the bonnet can only be opened using the key while top spec models also come with an alarm.

3.5 out of 5


Early cars had problems with stalling, caused by iffy electrics but most should be fixed by now. Other problems usually stem from high-mileage cars not being properly maintained. It was rated in first place in German TW reliability tests for cars one-to-three years-old in 2002.

Car check problem points


Check for bumps and scrapes.


Fast idling problems on some petrol models, occasional stalling or misfiring due to ECU faults.


Noisy heater recirculation motor, squealing rear brakes, cracked windscreen, faulty electric windows.