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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
7.4
Out of 10

Based on 308 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.6/10
    Quality
    7.5/10
  • Reliability
    7.6/10
    Performance
    7.8/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Lemon?

By on Sunday, September 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
3/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Nice when it works"

Cons: "Totally unreliable."

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

"The battery on our Ford Focus EV has died repeatedly. This is an incredible inconvenience and for that reason I would steer consumers away from the car. At first, when the battery died at stop lights, we were told we needed a software update, which seemed to fix the problem for a few months. Now, the battery has died again and can't even be charge if we can get the car home. Also, the Sync system fails repeatedly. Loaner cars aren't a substitute because they do not have a car pool lane sticker. I now think the car is a lemon."

I love my car!!

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Most all things"

Cons: "Kinda tight."

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

"First let me start by saying, I have a manual transmission. All the bad things that have been said about this car, have been for an automatic transmission. I drive pretty crazy and let my RPMs get pretty high and I am still getting 34.6 MPG, and climbing. It take 38 dollars to fill my tank and I get 440 miles until empty. The Sync is amazing! It sticks to the road very well. Great with turns and rain! I would recommend this car to all of my friends and complete strangers."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Nothing but Problems

By on Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

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: "Good on Gas"

Cons: "The transmission, wiring harneses, stalls"

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

"My car is about 2.5 years old and I've owned if for 14 months. The transmision is awful, jerks and is very shakey. I had problems with the air conditioning leaking into the passenger side floor. The dealership told me it was a faulty part that Ford was designing and when it became available they'd call me back in to fix it. Never happened and magically the leaking stopped so I didn't even bother following up with Ford. Now I have electrical problems and the car stalls out when driving. Give the car gas and it just revs like it's in neutral. There's a "hill start assist unavailable" message that pops up and then the car stalls. The car is unsafe and frustrating to deal with. Never buying another Ford again."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Wish I never bought!

By on Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
2/10

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

"I have had several issues with the transmission in this car! I had it fixed 1 month ago and it is leaking fluid again! I brought it to the dealer I bought it from several times and told them there was a problem with the vehicle, and was told there was nothing wrong with it, when I brought it to get an oil change they are the ones who have told me twice the transmission was leaking. No Ford dealer can take it in for one or two weeks because they are so backed up fixing transmissions! Just received a letter from Ford "not a recall" but there have been some issues so they are extending the warranty on the transmission. Does anyone have that much time to drive to the dealer to fix a newer car, and be in convinced to have the dealer take 10 days to fix it? Back interior below rear window has rotted out! Anyone want to fix that at Ford? Not really!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Wwwwaaaayyyy better gas mileage than expected.

By on Monday, August 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gas mileage. Looks great. Tight steering."

Cons: "Audio display buttons are a little confusing."

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

"I was very surprised to see the gas mileage of our focus. I think the epa estimated it to be 26 city and 36 on the highway. we are getting more like 35 in the city and just the other day we got 49 mpg on a 6 hour trip to and from Phoenix. The trip before that was 45 or 46.I don't know how accurate the mpg estimator is on the car but I think the epa must have had a lead foot when they tested this one."

1 person out of 8 found this review helpful

power + grip + rally design + good MPG = awesome

By on Monday, August 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,100

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "power, grip, rally car design, good MPG"

Cons: "price, options prices, SYNC"

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

"This is my daily commute car and I love it. I have been wanting a car this powerfull for many years now but could not aford it until now. I love the power that it brings when you put it to the test and the grip in curves. Being a rally race car fan myself, I love the way it looks and drives. It feels like I am in a race... yeah, I do step on it every time I drive it. Gas milage is good too. The car itself is a little pricy in my area, it would be great if the options were not so expensive. My only concern would be SYNC. It works great when it actually works, it just needs some tweeking that is all. Overall it meets expectations, but does not exceed expectations."

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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

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