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2012 Ford Focus

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2012 Ford Focus Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2012 Ford Focus gets a clean-sheet recasting that brings a new look, enhanced quality, more features, and upgraded options in a slightly larger but far more dynamic package. Based on Ford's global C-platform, this compact front-driver features an international design pedigree and introduces numerous class-exclusive technologies, including a host of premium-level creature comforts. Available as a 4-door sedan and a new 5-door hatchback, the 2012 Focus is also offered as a pure battery-electric vehicle with a 76-mile range and an impressive 110 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) city rating. While the new Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic are its key rivals, formidable challenges will also come from the Mazda3, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla as well as newly redesigned and very impressive Hyundai Elantra and its Kia Forte cousin.

You'll Like This Car If...

Buyers seeking a compact vehicle with class-leading character and technology – from MyFord Touch infotainment and Active Park Assist to corner-taming torque-vectoring control and a PowerShift dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission – will find plenty to admire in the 2012 Ford Focus line.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Some more conservative buyers may deem its new looks a bit too radical, but the biggest hurdle the 2012 Focus could face is one of cost. Those willing to forgo a few of the latest tech touches for a lower price point are apt to see better perceived value in alternatives like the new Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte.

What's New for 2012

A comprehensive makeover raises an already popular player in its segment to a position of prominence and possible dominance thanks to the addition of a new hatchback body style, greatly-expanded/upgraded feature set and a range-topping Titanium trim level. And while the 2012 Ford Focus Electric marks the Blue Oval's first crack at a mainstream electric car, they succeeded in producing a relatively affordable gas-free vehicle that drives, feels and looks like a conventional car.

Driving the Focus

Driving Impressions Built around a stiffer, stronger unit body structure underpinned by a comprehensively retuned and Euro-flavored suspension that brings better damping and roll control plus quick, well-weighted electrically assisted power steering...

the 2012 Ford Focus feels comfortable, confident and impressively responsive to driver inputs under virtually all conditions. Although stepping up in trim level and the accompanying wheel/tire enhancements does impact ride compliance – particularly with the 18-inch rims and 40-series tires available on Titanium models – Ford has done an excellent job of bringing out the best in this component set regardless of configuration. When the going gets twisty, the new Focus bolsters its standard AdvanceTrak stability control with a new torque vectoring control system that acts like a limited-slip differential and helps the car accelerate out of corners more adroitly. Despite a soft-ish pedal, the well-modulated anti-lock brakes (disc/drum in S/SE, disc/disc in SLE/Titanium) deliver solid, drama-free stops.

MYFORD TOUCH
Optional on Focus SEL models and standard on Titanium trim levels, Ford's top-line infotainment/telematics package is based on an even more advanced and expansive application of the automaker's acclaimed SYNC voice-command system and includes a premium 10-speaker Sony sound system, with HD Radio, media hub, in-car Wi-Fi access and more.

SUPER FUEL ECONOMY (SFE) PACKAGE
Available on autoshifted SE models, the SFE Package includes auto-articulated, aero-optimizing grille shutters – an unseen mileage-enhancing element also found on most other Focus models fitted with the PowerShift transmission – as well as low-rolling resistance tires, wind-cheating wheel covers and a tasteful rear spoiler that collectively bring the car's projected EPA highway figure up to 40 mpg.

2012 Ford Focus Details
2012 Ford Focus photo Interior

Slightly roomier but with a far more upscale look and feel than its predecessor, the 2012 Focus cabin sets off a decidedly premium flavor with loads of soft-touch surfaces and an abundance of effectively integrated sound-attenuation materials. Legible instrumentation and well positioned controls in all versions are complemented by an 8.0-inch full-color touch screen that replaces the normal multifunction display on SEL/Titanium models fitted with the primo MyFord Touch infotainment/navigation system. The rear seat is scaled for 2 mid-sized adults but decently padded for three kids. Folding the standard/optional 60/40 rear seatbacks to a semi-flat position adds utility to the Sedan's 13.2 cubic feet conventional trunk and raises capacity of the Hatchback's rear bay from 23.8 to 44.8 cubic feet.

Exterior
2012 Ford Focus photo

Both the Focus Sedan and Hatchback display the latest evolution of Ford's "kinetic design" language that is both more aggressive and more aerodynamic. While their overall footprints remains similar to the 2011 Sedan, a slightly lower roofline, longer wheelbase and substantially wider front/rear track dimensions give the 2012 Focus lineup a more planted appearance. Effectively accenting the new look are stylized headlight/taillight treatments, with the Focus EV sharing most styling cues with its gasoline-dependent counterpart, apart from the charge port prominently mounted on the driver's side front fender. Wheel selections range from 15-inch steel wheels on the Focus S Sedan to 17-inch aluminum rims on Titanium and Electric variants – and the availability of an 18-inch upgrade that also brings 235/40 performance tires and a sport-tuned suspension.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the base Focus S Sedan gets an impressive complement of power assists, air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering column, keyless remote entry, 4-speaker radio, AdvanceTrac stability control, front disc/rear drum brakes and six airbags. Key SE-level gains include power rear windows, a trip computer, programmable MyKey, foglamps and 16-inch wheel/tires while the SEL adds the 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission, dual-zone climate control, SYNC, upgraded audio, cruise control, LED ambient lighting, 60/40 folding rear seatbacks, 4-wheel disc brakes and 16-inch alloy wheels. The range-topping Titanium also nets push-button starting, MyFord Touch with 10-speaker Sony HD sound system, Sirius Satellite Radio (with six months free), sport seats, sport suspension, 17-inch wheel/tire package and more.

Optional Equipment

The new Focus offers a wide selection of upgrades linked to the model hierarchy. At S level, the 6-speed dual-clutch autoshifter and remote starting dominate an intentionally modest list, but the SE Sedan offers that plus a power moonroof, voice-activated navigation, Super Fuel Economy/Interior/Winter/Sport Packages – all but the SFE also available on SE hatches – a MyFord Driver Connect technology/SYNC Package, leather upholstery and more. Extras for the SEL and Titanium versions include leather as well as voice-activated navigation and the Technology Package (Active Park Assist, front/rear sensors, rearview camera), plus the premium MyFord Touch telematics/infotainment system – a Titanium standard. Going Titanium also permits a dedicated sport suspension with 18-inch wheels with performance tires. To help simplify the ordering process, leather seating is the sole option on the Focus Electric's menu.

Under the Hood

All 2012 Focus models are fitted with a new, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter in-line four that features gasoline direct fuel-injection and Ford's twin-independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). This smooth free-revver makes 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque – 20 more horsepower and 10 additional torque than its 2011 predecessor – and can be paired with a 5-speed manual or a new 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. On SE with Sport Package/SEL/Titanium models, the automated-manual cog changer adds SelectShift capability via a rocker switch on the shift lever. Formal EPA figures are pending, but Ford anticipates about 10 percent better overall fuel economy and autoshifted SE Sedans fitted with the mileage-maxing SFE Package are projected to net 40 mpg on the highway. Motivating the Focus Electric is a 143-horsepower permanent magnet motor powered by a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which returns a remarkable 105 mpg equivalency combined rating from the EPA.

2.0-liter inline-4
160 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
146 lb-ft of torque @ 4,450 rpm
EPA City/highway fuel economy: 26/36 mpg (manual), 28/38 mpg (automatic), 27/37 mpg (SelectShift automatic), 28/40 (SFE trim, automatic)

Synchronous electric motor/generator
24kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack
107kW/143 horsepower
184 lb-ft of torque
Projected per-charge range: 76 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 110/99 MPGe

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2012 Ford Focus Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.3
Out of 10

Based on 426 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.5/10
    Quality
    7.4/10
  • Reliability
    7.6/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

I'm 48 y/o ... worst purchase I've ever made!

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,250

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great price, fun to drive once you're up to speed"

Cons: "Tranmission is horrible!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Ford Engineers absolutely missed it with the electronic transmission. Every person that has ridden in my car has asked me what's wrong with it. POOR engineering on Ford's part but the dealership will tell you it's the way you drive it. You should drive it like a manual. If I wanted a manual I would have bought one. Can't wait to sell this car to some other poor soul. KIA I'm heading your way. Note: I took a $3,000 loss on a 2011 Ford Escape due to a horrible transmission, just needed to move on; starting to see a trend with Ford."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Maintenance nightmare

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "gas mileage"

Cons: "maintenance issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Went through rear tires quickly due to a poor design of the rear wheel camber. Engine and catalytic converter failed at 100000 miles even with regular oil changes"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

TO ME CARS ARE A NECESSITY BUT I DO LIKE THIS CAR

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "THE MANUAL TRANSMITION HAS BEEN GREAT FUN."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"THE CAR HAS BEEN JUST WHAT I WANTED, A BASIC CAR THAT PREFORMS WELL. MY ONLY CONCERN IS THAT THE RELEASE FOR ADJUSTING THE SEAT IS VERY AWKARD TO GET TO, I WILL GO BACK TO POWER SEATS IN MY NEXT CAR. IT IS SO AWKARD I MAY GET A NEW CAR BEFORE I FINISH PAYING FOR THIS ONE."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Love everything but the transmission

By on Sunday, July 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, sporty feel, comfort, price"

Cons: "Transmission doesn't seem reliable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"This is my first new car so I expected to have zero problems with it. I think it's comfortable to drive in (I commute an hour each way to work), the blind spot mirrors saved me from a few close calls, radio is fine, for the price it looks great and feels sporty, the gas mileage is fantastic. I was hoping to keep this car past its warranty. However, I had transmission issues. First time it was the jerking which stopped after some parts were replaced under warranty. Then one day my car wouldn't go into reverse so I had to have it towed across the city to the dealership where the problem was fixed. Everything seems fine now however I have absokuteky zero confidence in this car's transmission not failing after the warranty is up so unfortunately when the time comes I'm trading it in. It is a fun ride and a great commuter car for now."

Decent vehicle for a Focus.

By on Saturday, July 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,500

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"When the vehicle was purchased new in 2012 it had mechanical issues with the transmission hesitating or slipping on a constant basis. For two years, the sales team at the dealership insisted it was part of the design. It was supposedly meant to force the driver to accelerate slowly from full stops. Finally, Ford issued a recall and sent us a letter to have my transmission repaired at any Ford dealership free of charge. Go Ford! Today, we own a spirited little four banger that is very conservative with fuel consumption. My Wife drives it now and she loves it."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Highly Fuel Efficient

By on Thursday, July 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, good fuel economy, fun to drive"

Cons: "Don't take it to Europe unless you have a Garmin"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought this vehicle out of necessity in Nov 2011 because my other vehicle had an expensive tran repair. Also was headed overseas and needed a fuel efficient vehicle. When I transported and received the vehicle in Germany I switched everything over to Kilometers and liters/100KM instead of MPG. While driving the Autobahn I got as low as 3.9 liters per 100KM which converts to 76MPG. This was not going downhill, it was a straightaway. My average between city/hwy was between 5.1 and 5.9 liters/100KM, again in MPG between 47 and 55. I have had this vehicle up to a max speed of 135 MPH on the Autobahn and was amazed that there was no shaking or wandering. The vehicle settled nicely and was no problem. Overall, I am very pleased with this vehicle except for one thing........I was told by my Dealership that I could get a European SD card for my navigation when I arrived in Europe. Upon checking with the Ford dealership in Germany, they put their card into my vehicle and all you got was sound and no video/picture to input your requirements. Come to find out the American/European systems are incompatable. Had to go out and buy a Garmin to hang on the window."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?