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February 14, 2001|ROBERT BEAMESDERFER

Ford's Special Vehicle Team says its newest performance product--the 2002 SVT Focus--will be in selected dealerships by the end of the year. The SVT model is based on the three-door Focus and has the same 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine. But this power plant is extensively modified, giving it a 31% boost in horsepower, to 170 from 130, and a 7% kick in torque to 145 foot-pounds.

Power is delivered through a 6-speed manual transmission and beefier front axles. The car is lowered, uses stiffer suspension parts and runs on 17-inch wheels. Stopping power is improved with larger front disc brakes and rear discs in place of the standard drums.

Inside, the steering wheel, gearshift knob and brake handle are wrapped in leather. The sport seats are upholstered in cloth with leather trim. Air conditioning, AM-FM stereo with single-disc CD player, remote key-less entry and a passive anti-theft system are standard.

The exterior features special front and rear fascias and rocker panels, black honeycomb grille and rear valence, and rear spoiler. All this adds about 200 pounds to the standard Focus' weight.

Target price for the SVT Focus is about $18,000. Ford plans to build just 7,500 of them as 2002 models for the North American market.

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