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The Forgotten Ford Focus SVT Was the Original Sporty Ford Focus

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2016

The Ford Focus RS and the Ford Focus ST recently captured our hearts and minds with their power, sportiness, practicality and varying shades of blue exterior colors. But let's not forget the original Focus hot hatchback, the 2002-2004 Ford Focus SVT. It was also sporty. It was also practical. It also came in blue.

For those who don't know the SVT Focus, it was developed in the early 2000s along with a glut of other SVT cars, including the excellent 2003-2004 Mustang SVT Cobra and the muscular F-150 SVT Lightning. It had a cool new front bumper with fog lights, sporty 5-spoke wheels with 17-inch Y-rated tires, improved steering, better brakes, a stiffened suspension and extra power with a tuned 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 170 horsepower (an increase of 40 horses over the regular Focus' 130 hp). It also offered a mandatory 6-speed manual transmission.

Now, I admit that 170 hp is hardly the 253 horses of the Focus ST and nowhere near the 350 hp of the crazy Focus RS, but you should remember the time period. When the SVT Focus came out in 2002, Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school. The flip phone was still looming on the horizon, waiting to be discovered. And the most muscular 3 Series had 225 hp.

It was a different time.

Plus, the Ford Focus SVT had a few other things going for it. One: It was quite tunable, to the point where people -- crazy people, of course, but people nonetheless -- owned 300-plus-hp SVT Focuses. Also, it wasn't very heavy. The Focus SVT was initially only offered in the Focus' 2-door body style, with a 4-door version only showing up in 2003 and 2004. Then there was that handsome shade of blue.

As I write this, there are nearly 30 different 2002-2004 Focus SVT models on Autotrader with an average price of around five grand, a cheaper alternative to Ford's latest hot hatches.

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Used 2002 Ford Focus LX Sedan
Used 2002 Ford Focus
$2,995
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Forgotten Ford Focus SVT Was the Original Sporty Ford Focus - Autotrader