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2005-2007 Ford Focus

How to upgrade the stereo system in your Focus

ford focus zx3 hatchback

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your car's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:

Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Focus.

Overview of the Ford Focus

With the second-gen Focus, Ford added polish and refinement to what was already a pretty nifty small car. The previous model's creases and angles were buffed away inside and out for a more conservative (but still attractive) look, and Ford's engineering team spent a little more time on the comfort and convenience qualities that more and more small car shoppers were looking for.

Of course, words like "polish," "refinement," and "conservative" are rarely associated with "fun." It's like going to your class reunion and finding out that the guy you fully expected to show up wearing a beer helmet is now a politician with national ambitions and no sense of humor whatsoever.

The Ford folks anticipated that, so they made sure to improve the stuff that needed it without messing with the things that didn't. As a result, the new and improved Focus (Focuses, Foci, whatever) was still fun to drive. A well-maintained Focus from this era probably still is, so why not make it even more fun with an up-to-date stereo and a new set of speakers?

ford focus zxw wagon

The factory stereo system

The Focus offered some reasonably decent factory stereo choices, ranging from an early AM/FM/CD base receiver to the AM/FM/CD/MP3 player that came along later. You could also order a six-disc CD changer, plus an optional "Audiophile" package with Sony speakers and an 8" subwoofer.

A variety of single-DIN (2" tall) and double-DIN (4" tall) stereo will fit into the dash, and the removal and replacement process is the same for pretty much everything. It's also pretty simple, so this is a good project for the budding car audio DIY-er.

We'll hit the high points for the ZX3 (3-door hatch), ZX4 (4-door sedan), ZX5 (5-door hatch), and ZXW (the practical and thoroughly nifty wagon) below. Complete, illustrated instructions can be found in the Crutchfield MasterSheet that's included free with your stereo or speaker order.

ford focus factory radio

The stock radio wasn't flashy, but it did the job. You'll appreciate an upgrade, though. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the factory radio

Before you start working on your car, set the parking brake and disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent any electrical short. Once the brake is set, move the gearshift to the lowest position to give yourself more room to deal with the receiver.

Use a panel tool to pry out the receiver/climate control trim panel and release the retaining clips, then disconnect the power outlet harness and allow the panel to hang while you're doing other stuff. It'll be fine. Remove the four 7mm screws securing the factory radio to the dash, then pull out the radio, disconnect the radio harness, and remove the old radio. Like we said, this is pretty simple.

To install the new piece, secure your new receiver to the mounting bracket that's included at a discount when you order from Crutchfield. The kit will come with its own set of instructions, and they're very easy to follow. Once that's done, connect the receiver wiring adapter (also included at a discount) to the receiver. Hold the receiver assembly near the dash and connect the receiver wiring adapter to the factory harness.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

If your car has the Audiophile system, you have a subwoofer to deal with — which is a nice problem to have. After plugging the stereo wiring harness into the dash, connect the RCA plug from the harness to the subwoofer output on your new stereo. Make sure you don't connect it to a full-range output. If you have any questions about this, your Crutchfield purchase also comes with free lifetime tech support, so just give us a call.

Plug the antenna lead into the rear of the receiver, then slide the entire assembly into the dash and secure it with the screws you removed earlier. Test the receiver to make sure it's working properly and if it is, start putting the dash back together. Congrats, you just replaced your own car stereo!

Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet, and extension

Note: Fords of this vintage require a 12V-to-5V converter to prevent "turn-on pop" when using the factory amplifier(s). If your car is thus equipped, you'll get a discount on that adapter, too.

Steering wheel audio controls

It's relatively easy to retain the steering wheel audio controls (if present) when you install a new stereo in your Focus. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.

Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.

Shop for car stereos that fit your Ford Focus ZX4

ford focus rear door speaker

The factory 6"x8" speakers in the front and rear doors can be replaced by same-size or 5-1/4" aftermarket models (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the factory speakers

The Focus was available in four different body styles, but the speakers are in basically the same places in all of them. Replacing the factory gear is reasonably uncomplicated, so it's a good DIY project.

ford focus front door speaker

The front door speakers are very easy to reach and replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the (front) door speakers

The factory 6"x8" speakers can be replaced by same-size or 5-1/4" aftermarket models. If you go for the smaller speakers, you'll need mounting brackets, which are included when you buy your speakers at Crutchfield.

You'll need to remove the door panels when you do this, but that's not terribly difficult. You'll start by prying out the bottom front corner of the sail panel to release the retaining clips. Disconnect the harness, remove the sail panel, and move on down the door, where you'll pry off the screw cover behind the door release trim and remove one exposed Torx T-20 screw. Next, pry off the front portion of the door pull handle and remove two recessed 1/4” screws.

If your car is equipped with manual windows, grab a (clean) shop rag, work it in between the panel and the crank, and use a “back and forth” motion to release the “C” clip on the rear of the crank. If you have power windows, well lah-di-dah, look who's in the 1%. Do send us a postcard from Monaco, won't you?

Okay, okay, just kidding. But if you have power windows, you're already well on your way to getting the panel off, so you're still pretty lucky.

Remove seven Phillips (or Torx T-15, we've seen both) screws around the edges of the door panel. If you have a 2006 or 2007 Focus, that total will be nine. Pry out the door release trim and disconnect the wiring harnesses to remove the trim. Lift the door panel, pull it off, and set it aside, preferably on a sheet or a towel that will protect it from accidental damage.

All that's left in this part of the process is to remove the four 6mm screws securing the speaker. Pull it out, disconnect it, and remove it. To install the new one, connect the wiring adapter to the car's speaker harness and secure the speakers using the screws you removed earlier. Test to make sure they're working, make sure the windows and locks are also working properly, and start putting the door back together.

Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, 1/4" and 6mm socket, ratchet & extension, Torx T-20 driver, and either a Phillips screwdriver or a T-15 driver

ford focus rear door speaker

Replacing the rear door speakers is basically the same job you did up front (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the rear door speakers

The factory rear door speakers are also 6"x8" models, and they too can be replaced by same-size or 5-1/4" aftermarket models. If you go for the smaller speakers, you'll need mounting brackets here, too.

The speaker replacement process for these doors is basically the same as it is up front, so we'll save a little space here and move on to other things below. But if you're interested, complete, illustrated instructions can be found in the MasterSheet that will be included with your speakers.

Tools needed: Panel tool, flat blade screwdriver, 6mm and 1/4" socket, ratchet & extension, Torx T-20 driver, and either a Phillips screwdriver or a T-15 driver

ford focus rear side speaker

The 3-door hatchback has its rear speakers in the rear side panels (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the rear side speakers

The 3-door hatchback version of the Focus has its rear speakers in the side panels. Stop us if you've heard this before, but they're 6"x8" models that can be replaced by same-size or 5-1/4" aftermarket models. And yes, if you choose the smaller speakers, the mounting brackets are included at a discount from Crutchfield.

Now on to the different stuff, because replacing these speakers involved a bit more than popping off door panels. It's not hard, mind you, just different.

You'll start by prying out the retaining clip in the front edge of the seat belt trim panel. Once the clip is out, pry out the edges of the seat belt trim panel to release three metal retaining clips. Pull off the trim panel and set it aside.

Next, you'll have to deal with the seats. Fold over the bottom seat cushion, then release one retaining clip in the lower rear corner of the rear side panel. Then you'll fold down the back cushion and release another retaining clip from the rear edge of the rear side panel.

Pry out the front edge of the rear side panel to release three plastic retaining clips, then lift the panel to release three more plastic retaining clips at the lower window opening. Gently (we mean it) work the panel from behind the seat until you can remove it.

From here, all you have to do is remove the four Phillips screws securing the stock speaker, remove it, and get ready to install the new one. Once the new speaker is secured using the screws you removed earlier, test it out. If it works, put everything back together, but be sure to make sure the seatbelts are functioning properly before you hit the road.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, 6mm socket, ratchet & extension

Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.

Shop for speakers that fit your Ford Focus ZX4

ford focus subwoofer

This 8" sub was part of the "Audiophile" package (Crutchfield Research Photo)

More bass in your Focus

The Audiophile option included an 8" rear subwoofer. You can replace it, and/or add even more bass.

Removing the rear subwoofer

The Focus hatchback's Audiophile subwoofer is an 8" dual voice coil model from Sony, and it's located on the left-hand cargo area sidewall. It's not hard to reach and remove, but aftermarket 8" subs have different bolt patterns, so you may need to re-drill the mounting screw holes using a 1/8" bit. This isn’t hard, but you are drilling a hole into your car, so work carefully, make sure you're not drilling into anything important, and always wear eye protection.

The factory system sends only bass frequencies to the sub, so any replacement aftermarket speaker you install here will also only play bass. If you're adding a serious sub, you may want to replace the amplifier, too.

The Audiophile system was also available in the Focus sedan, but we haven't had a chance to research one yet. If your car is thus equipped, we'd like your help. To learn more about our "crowdsourced" vehicle research process, check out this article on how it all works. If that sound like the sort of thing you'd want to do, contact us via the email address in the article.

Tools needed: 7mm, 8mm, and 10mm drivers, maybe a drill and 1/8" bit

ford focus wagon cargo area

The Focus wagon offers plenty of space for bass (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Adding bass to your Ford Focus

If you want to go even bigger on bass, you do have some space for a subwoofer box. The available space varies from model to model, so one size does not fit all. Here's the rundown:

  • the ZX3 and ZX5 each have a 40" W x 16" H x 31"/20" D space
  • the ZX4 sedan has a 40" W x 19" H x 36"/24" D space
  • the wagon sports a very healthy 44" W x 17" H x 38"/32" D space

If you're looking for a more custom-fit alternative that blends into your car, we offer custom-fit bass solutions from Q-Forms and MTX. These unloaded (Q-Forms) or loaded (MTX) enclosures are designed to fit into your Focus, plus they're color-matched to your interior. When you enter your vehicle information, you can see which enclosures for your Focus.

Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.

kicker front row

A digital signal processor puts your music where it should be — right up in front of you.

Other options for your Ford Focus

Here are some other smart upgrades for your Focus.

Get better sound from your factory radio

If you choose to keep the stock radio, install a sound processor to send a clear, clean signal to your new amp. Sound processors remove any limitations on the signal imposed by the factory radio. The better the signal, the better the sound. Read our article explaining factory sound processors to learn more.

Install sound deadening material to quiet the ride

The second-gen Focus is quieter than its predecessor, but it doesn't offer Lincoln-like interior silence. To minimize road noise and maximize sound, we recommend installing Dynamat inside the front door panels on any Focus.

Add kick-panel speakers for more-focused music

A custom-fit Q-Forms Kick Panel Pod is another great way to improve the sound in your Focus. These pods, which mount in the kick panel areas in the front of the car, hold your speakers in an ideal position, angling them upward to maximize sound quality. You will need to cut new holes in order to install component speakers in the pods. Additional modification may be necessary in some cases.

A security system will protect your car

Installing a security system in your Focus isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.

Let's get started!

Ready to shop? Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car or truck. If you have questions, give us a shout via phone, chat, or email

  • shawn from Saskatoon

    Posted on 7/8/2020

    i have a 2005 focus wagon. And youre right...the wagons can become pretty bassy. Im running 6 12" subs in the back of my wagon.

  • Jeff from Vienna

    Posted on 1/19/2020

    Excellent! Thanks for this.

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