Ford's "budget" sporty coupe based on the 1997-2000 Escort returns for 2003 with slight styling revisions. The ZX2 lineup consists of Standard, Deluxe, and Premium
models. All have a 4-cyl engine teamed with manual or optional automatic transmission.
For '03, torque is increased by 8 lb-ft to 135. The horsepower rating still remains the same at 130. ABS is optional. Other changes include new front bumpers with integrated fog-lamp cutouts, new radios, and revised wheels and exterior colors.
Deluxe and Premium offer an optional sunroof. Available only on Premium is optional leather upholstery.
Ford still builds Escort sedans for the fleet market, not consumers. That's why the related ZX2 keeps hanging on in showrooms despite modest sales at best. We don't have separate figures for ZX2, but we'd be surprised if sales exceed 20,000 a year, meager for a low-priced car.
ZX2's future is cloudy right now, but this old soldier must eventually march off into the automotive sunset. We'd guess that will happen by
2005, when a redesigned Focus may add a coupe body style to replace ZX2. Meanwhile, Ford dealers are evidently doing good business with Focus's current ZX3 and ZX5 hatchbacks, which cater to the same audience as ZX2--and probably siphon off some of its sales.