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2002 Ford Focus SVT

Ford Focus SVT
Ford Focus SVT

The heart and soul of the 2002 SVT Focus - its powertrain - represents a technological tour de force for Ford Motor Company and its Special Vehicle Team. Variable intake cam timing, a dual-stage intake manifold, tuned tubular headers with an underbody-only catalyst, a dual-mass flywheel, and a six-speed, twin-layshaft transaxle make the 2002 SVT Focus the most technologically advanced vehicle SVT has ever produced.

The engineering team used this technology to produce power and driveability worthy of the high-performance vehicle SVT had targeted in its planning. "Typical DOHC four-cylinder engines with four valves per cylinder are great for peak power but not so strong in the low-end torque department," says John Coletti, chief engineer at Ford SVT Engineering. "Our team has made some very interesting modifications that give this engine performance that's atypical of DOHC fours, particularly as far as torque is concerned. It's just a very potent, responsive engine and a very smooth powertrain."  We have heard times of 15.40 @ 93mph in the quarter mile.

Coletti's team for the 2002 SVT Focus powertrain included his SVT engineers and Cosworth Technology. The collaboration has produced a naturally aspirated engine that produces 170 hp at 7,000 rpm and 145 lb.-ft.  of torque at 5,500 rpm. The engine has developed 85 percent of its peak torque by the time it reaches 2,200 rpm.  "This low-end, driveable torque will be a real surprise to a lot of people,


2.0L Ford Zetec SVT
Focus SVT Zetec
SVT Focus logo

The SVT Focus powertrain starts with a 2.0-liter Zetec Ford engine. In standard Focus models it produces 130 hp at 5,300 rpm and 135 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. This engine's cast-iron block already has the strength, rigidity and durability necessary for the increased power SVT engineers were developing. Component changes in the block include new forged-steel connecting rods with 20mm wrist pins and lightweight, cast-aluminum pistons with larger valve relief pockets. The new pistons increase compression from the Zetec's 9.6:1 ratio to 10.2:1 in the SVT Focus.

The new cylinder head is revised to increase flow through the intake ports, and the intake valve diameter has been increased from 32mm to 33.5mm while retaining the standard 28mm exhaust valve diameter. Intake and exhaust valve springs are stiffer by 27 percent and 19 percent, respectively, compared with the Zetec I-4's. That allows the engine's redline to rise from 6,750 to 7,200 rpm.

Focus SVT horsepower chart
Focus SVT torque chart

 The intake camshaft is equipped with an electro-mechanical control mechanism, which allows the cam's maximum opening point, relative to crankshaft degrees, to be varied between 85 and 145 degrees after top-dead-center on the intake stroke. The variability is dependent on engine speed and load, and is accomplished by changing oil pressure on either side of a piston in a helix between the cam and its drive pulley. This is the first application of variable intake cam timing at Ford in North America, and is a significant contributor to the engine's remarkable low-end torque.

 The other significant contributor to low-speed torque is the SVT Focus' dual-stage intake manifold, the first application of this technology at Ford.  This device is designed to direct the intake air through four long runners below 6,000 rpm. Above 6,000 rpm, the manifold switches position to shorten the runners' length, which improves peak power output.

Engineers could not have achieved their performance targets for the SVT Focus without an exhaust system flow that complemented the increased breathing on the intake side. Tuned tubular headers were the answer, but the Focus ZX3's catalytic converter is located only a short distance from the cylinder head. This position gives the advantage of quick catalyst heat-up times on cold starts ľa necessity for low emissions levels.

But it also made fitting tuned headers impossible. SVT engineers were able to reposition the catalyst under the vehicle, far enough downstream in the exhaust system to incorporate a tuned 4-into-2-into-1 tubular header. Engine calibration retards the spark during cold starts, which quickly heats the catalyst for a clean exhaust.

Focus SVT dual stage intakeFord Focus SVT dual stage intake
Focus SVT exhaust header

But it also made fitting tuned headers impossible. SVT engineers were able to reposition the catalyst under the vehicle, far enough downstream in the exhaust system to incorporate a tuned 4-into-2-into-1 tubular header. Engine calibration retards the spark during cold starts, which quickly heats the catalyst for a clean exhaust. The exhaust pipe diameter is enlarged to 58mm, with a 75mm polished chrome exhaust tip.

With this underbody catalyst system, SVT engineers achieved both their performance and emissions targets. The SVT Focus, like its ZX3 Zetec sibling, complies with the national Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard.


Focus SVT flywheel

The SVT Focus is the first front-wheel-drive Ford vehicle in North America equipped with a dual-mass flywheel. This technology divides the mass of the flywheel into two sections.

The primary section is bolted to the crankshaft, and the clutch pressure plate is bolted to the secondary section.  The two parts are connected by a spring-and-damping system. The springs isolate engine vibrations, and a torque-limiting mechanism allows the primary flywheel section to turn independent of the secondary section.

The principal advantage of this system is a reduction of noise and vibration in the powertrain, and it helps prevent potential powertrain damage from torque spikes. It also improves shift feel, and reduces wear on the synchronizers because of the lower mass applied to the transmission. To handle the engine's increased torque, the clutch is upgraded with stiffer springs in the pressure plate.


With its six-speed manual transaxle from the German manufacturer, Getrag™ the SVT Focus joins the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R as the only cars in the Ford line equipped with six-speed gearboxes. This unit's innovative design incorporates an input shaft flanked by two layshafts, and each layshaft has its own set of final drive gears.

Layshaft #1 carries first, second, fifth and sixth gears, and a 2.88:1 final drive ratio, while layshaft #2 carries third, fourth, reverse, and a 4.25:1 final drive ratio. All six forward gears, plus reverse, are fully synchronized. 

This design gives the SVT Focus the performance advantages of a close-ratio, six-speed gearbox in a remarkably compact and lightweight package. Dividing the output shaft into two allows the transaxle to be much shorter than a conventional single shaft six-speed, thus occupying the same space as the ZX3's 5-speed gearbox.

Solid halfshafts with larger constant velocity joints are the final link in the powertrain. They are 13 percent stronger than those on a ZX3, to handle the SVT Focus's power output.

Focus SVT transmission


To meet the Special Vehicle Team's handling, braking, and steering objectives, all aspects of the car's chassis systems were analyzed to determine where modifications were necessary.  The single most dramatic development is in the braking system, which gives the car extraordinary stopping capability. The SVT Focus is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock system, the rear disc system coming from European models. The front brake rotors are 300mm (11.8 inches) in diameter, compared with 258mm (10.1 inches) on the ZX3. Upsized single-piston calipers are used to fit these much larger front rotors. The rear brake rotors are 280mm in diameter.

In the front and rear suspension systems, higher spring rates, larger stabilizer bars, and special shock-valve tuning combine to give the car taut, precise handling and SVT's hallmark compliant ride. To grip the road and enhance its dynamic appearance, the SVT Focus sports 17x7-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels fitted with 215/45ZR-17 tires. This car corners like it's on rails able to do a .91g on a 300' skidpad.


The SVT Focus follows the Special Vehicle Team's design philosophy, which is to create subtle but distinctive appearance changes that will make the vehicle stand out, especially among enthusiasts, as an SVT product. The car has new fascias front and rear, along with new rocker moldings and a rear spoiler mounted on the liftgate. SVT-signature crystalline round fog lamps are set in the lower front fascia. The upper and lower front grilles and rear valence grille are done in a black honeycomb design. The headlights receive a smoked-glass look. The larger diameter exhaust pipe is accented with a polished chrome tip at the rear. "These exterior changes, including its very distinctive 17-inch wheels, really give the car the appearance of having a lower, wider stance and lots of rubber on the ground," Slankard adds.

Focus SVT dash
Ford Focus SVT interior

Inside, significant changes and improvements are designed to enhance the driving environment, in terms of both ergonomics and appearance. All the driver's "touch zones" have received attention. New elements unique to the SVT Focus include metallic pedal covers to facilitate heel-and-toe downshifting, a metallic dead pedal, a black leather-wrapped parking brake lever with a satin aluminum release button, and a black leather-wrapped aluminum shift knob and steering wheel. The front seats are six-way adjustable. This includes a rotary recliner mechanism, manual fore/aft movement, and standard power up/down adjustment system.

All seats are black leather trim with either red or blue cloth inserts, and the front seats have added foam pads and frame wires to substantially increase lateral support. The unique SVT Focus seat trim continues into the rear seat as well. The seat is a 60/40 split with  folding back, flip-up cushion, as well as left, right and center head restraints.

The instrument cluster puts the car unmistakably in the SVT family, with titanium-faced electro-luminescent gauges, including tachometer and 160 mph speedometer, and a black center stack with silver climate control bezels. Additional gauges on the SVT Focus include oil temperature and oil pressure in place of a coin storage compartment on the ZX3 model.

SVT Focus exterior color choices for 2002 are Sonic Blue, Infra-Red, CD Silver, and Pitch Black. Two interior colors are available to complement the black leather seat bolsters and head  restraints. Red or blue cloth is available to accent the seat backs, seat cushions and door-trim panels

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