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2012 Ford Focus

Overview
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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 317 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 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

Good Looks but terrible Transmission

By on Thursday, September 25, 2014

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

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Good Looks"

Cons: "Transmission, cheap interior"

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

"The looks of this Vehicle are sharp but the Semi auto transmission is the worst I have ever driven, It chatters, jurks and clanks when changing gears and Ford says this is normal, NOT IN MY BOOK it's not. The interior is good looking but made of cheap plastic that scuffs and damages easily and road noise is bad, even for a compact. Ford really needs to recall this car and replace the transmission with something dependable."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Transmission problems

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice looks and good handling."

Cons: "Really bad Transmission"

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

"Own it for nine months, in the shop for 45 days and counting. We loved it at the car show, but disappointed with the car overall."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Run Away As Fast As You Can!

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "the sound system still works for now"

Cons: "everything but the sound system"

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

"I bought this car brand new Nov. 2012 with 35 miles on it. It is now Sep. 2014, this car has been in the shop for transmission issues (still having them), spare tire was defective from factory so I had to have it towed in to have my flat tire replaced which turned into all 4 being replaced because they were wearing wrong at less than 10k miles, blend-door actuator has been replaced once and is still acting up, chrome plating was peeling off the steering wheel and was extremely sharp, and the engine idles very rough. This was my first brand new car, and I was really looking forward to it. I will NEVER buy another new car especially if it is a Ford! First impressions are important and this car has disappointed me in every way possible. I quit taking care of the car because personally it is not worth my time. If I had the money to pay it off I would, then I would drive it straight to the junk yard around the corner from me and pay them to crush it right then and there. This car is junk!"

WORST CAR EVER

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,500

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
2/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "cute, compact, ok gas mileage"

Cons: "transmission, automatic computer shifting, clutch"

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

"have had this car for 2 years, the first 12000 miles was fine. smooth driving, no problems. within the last year i have taken it to the dealership 5 times for the same problem. the car is jerking/jolting from 1-2 and 2-3 gear. shakes and has just started making a grinding noise right after takeoff. i have been told by the service center that the car does it because of my driving! i have also been told by the service manager that if i were to get in an accident due to this problem it would not be a severe enough accident to hurt my family, it would probably just total the car ad that i should not worry. in that same meeting i was told ford is aware of the issues with these cars, they just do not know how to fix the problem and because the computers cannot duplicate the problem when they test it for 9 miles... there is nothing they can do to try to fix it. i was also told that because i have had the car for so long that i should know its qwerks and how to drive it to where i can avoid the shaking, jerking and grinding....worst car ever purchased!"

Great Hot Hatch

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, Fuel economy, sporty look"

Cons: "seats are tighter then expected and want all wheel"

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

"This is my first turbo charged 4 cylinder and it does not disappoint. I had a 2013 mustang and at times it was overwhelming as a daily commuter. I decided to get this car and I have enjoyed it to the fullest. Shifting is easy and plenty of passing power. Good fuel economy and nice handling. The seats take some getting used to and the ride is not the best through the city, but most sports cars ride rough through the city no matter what. On the Highway this car glides easy and if you dont lead foot the gas, you get great mileage. I never have gotten 32 mpg, I got 27 and 28 a few times, but expect 22-25. Overall great car and will probably give to my son as his first car."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

good milage but would not purchase again

By on Friday, September 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,300

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "gas milage"

Cons: "6 speed auto transmission very quirky"

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

"six speed transmission is very noisy and jerky in low speeds,gas milage is great but would not buy this car again,poor resale value."

3 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?