The editors of Car and Driver magazine have named Ford Focus one of the 10Best Cars for the fourth consecutive year.

Every all-new or redesigned car sold in the United States, along with past 10Best winners, is eligible to compete for the award, provided it costs less than $66,000 and is on sale by January 2003. Focus was selected over numerous competitors, including Mini Cooper, Toyota Corolla and Matrix, Saturn Ion, Pontiac Vibe and Sunfire, Honda Civic Hybrid and Civic Si, Dodge Neon SRT-4, Chevrolet Cavalier, Hyundai Tiburon, and Suzuki Aerio.

Writing in the magazine's January 2003 issue, editor-in-chief Csaba Csere and Executive Editor Tony Swan said, "Focus has been a gratifying success story for Ford ... Focus is designed to deliver solid, reliable, fuel thrifty transportation at the most affordable end of the price spectrum. Unlike most other compacts, however, the Focus also delivers a generous measure of driving fun, thanks to an exceptionally sturdy chassis."

The magazine also said Focus is distinguished by its high level of interior finish.

"Focus has gotten better every year since its first appeared on Car and Driver's 10Best Cars list in 2000, not just in terms of performance and driving dynamics, but also in customer choice, quality, and reliability," says Chris Theodore, Ford North America vice president of product development. "That's what it takes to achieve 10Best status four years in a row."

  • Since 2002, Focus has been available in four body styles: three-door ZX3, five-door ZX5, station wagon, and four-door sedan.
  • New standard equipment includes a CD/MP3 player on ZX5 models.
  • New optional equipment includes traction control with anti-lock brakes, and a winter package with heated seats and side mirrors.
  • A new five-door version of the high performance SVT Focus is available for 2003. The SVT Focus is powered by a 170-horsepower version of Ford's DOHC 2.0-liter Zetec four-cylinder engine with variable intake camshaft timing and a dual-mode intake manifold.
  • The Ford Personal Safety System™, which includes dual-stage front airbags, front safety belt pretensioners and energy management retractors, and a driver's seat position sensor, became standard equipment in 2002.
  • AdvanceTrac™, a sophisticated traction and stability enhancement system, was first offered as an option in 2000, and Focus remains one of only a handful of vehicles in its class to offer this dynamic and safety technology.
  • Originally posted on Fleet Financials