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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 435 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.5/10
    Quality
    7.3/10
  • Reliability
    7.6/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

Water pump went out at 400 miles

By on Friday, August 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "looks nice, reasonably priced"

Cons: "reliability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"We just bought this car for my daughter to commute back and forth to school and the water pump went out at 400 miles leaving her stranded. The Ford dealer replaced it but my confidence in Ford products has been shaken. We've asked for another car or a free extended warranty but so far no reply. I realize there may be manufacturing defects but I'm disappointed. I have another daughter in school and I have more confidence in her Honda Accord with 200k miles on it than I do in this car. Also when we test drove the cars the first car shifted abruptly so we didn't buy it. Be aware the 2014 and earlier cars had transmission problems. They've supposedly resolved the problem but do your research before you buy. The car we ended up purchasing looks nice and my daughter likes it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Not a fun car to drive

By on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,900

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Good pep for a four cylinder."

Cons: "Transmission is a big issue"

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

"The dual clutch transmission has given me fits. The car has a jerking motion in stop and go traffic which can be very scary at times. I've had the car in for this problem six times. The software is re-flashed and I'm told to give it about a 1,000 miles so the car can learn my driving habits. Obviously the car is not to smart since it still has not learned my driving habits. The dealership now tells me the jerking motion is normal. This would have been nice to know before I bought the car. This is a vehicle to stay away from. No one should have to drive a car with the problem I've encountered."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great car for a great price!

By on Saturday, August 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great milage, quick acceleration, solid & smooth"

Cons: "Hub caps, auxiliary jack loc., non-split rear seat"

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

New roof rack for my bike

"I always seem to have really good luck with new cars, and this Ford Focus follows suit. Great milage for surprisingly quick acceleration when needed, and a solid but smooth feel are my favorite highlights. The quality exceeds my expectations. When I drive it smartly, meaning when I keep the tachometer under 2,500 RPM going either uphill or downhill, and with the right tires, its easy gets 41 MPG in warm weather. In cold weather, the milage drops by about 15-20% as expected (lots of physics to explain why). Also, the seats are very comfortable, and the backseats are the most comfortable I've ever had (really phenomenal). I recently added a Thule roof rack which greatly adds to the sportiness. My 3 complains are that the hub caps on the steel wheels are really ugly and detract from the otherwise sharp looking car, also that the stereo auxiliary jack is located inside the glove box for some really odd reason [after-thought?], and finally that the fold-down back seat is not split (a split folding rear seat should really be standard for any small car)."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

New roof rack for my bike

Update on 2012 I own

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,440

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Sporty look, fun to drive, great MPG!"

Cons: "rear leg room."

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

"In 2012 I purchased a Ford Focus Hatch SE with sport pkg, winter pkg, sun roof, convenience pkg in white oxford. I average 34MPG. Car has been reliable and has no squeaks or rattles. Fun to drive if you know how to use the sport shifter. Overall a nice car. Dislikes are the amount of rear space/leg room. Transmission has been fine after re-program."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car but rear seating not good with car seats

By on Thursday, August 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, very comfortable."

Cons: "Not exactly baby car-seat friendly."

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

"I really love my ford focus ST. It has the fun power and comfort of a sports car without being overly expense and flashy. The only thing I haven't liked is that it doesn't drive as well as I would like in snow. My husband who is 6'2" fits great in the car and really enjoys driving it too. I think anyone above 6'2" may have issues with this car because it is small (heads hit the roof). Here are some cons to the car, but only because our lives have changed with a baby. The backward facing car seats leave very little room for an adult in the front seat because the car seat takes up so much space in the back. We can't wait for another few years when the baby is in an upright seat. So now the ST is really much more like a 2-seater (me and the baby). I was impressed that I could get a Graco Stroller in car, but it takes up the entire trunk. Oh and my Mastiff really enjoys the hatchback for two reasons; he doesn't have to jump into the car and he can lay down and watch everything out the windows. After driving it for awhile, the only other thing that would be great to have is space for my wallet, cell phone and better designed cup holders."

HORRIBLE TRANSMISSION

By on Monday, August 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,800

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "handles well.comfortable and well equipped."

Cons: "Transmission"

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

"Over all the car is not bad. It drives nice and is comfortable. Handles great. Has good power though the engine can be noisy. Has been reliable EXCEPT for the Transmission. It is fairly new technology and does not work well. It stutters, jerks, jumps and makes horrible noises.It has left me stranded once and have had to take it to the dealer 4 times now. Of course ford says this is all normal for this type of transmission. ???? What a joke! I hope they have fixed this issue in the new ones. A lot of buyers have this same issue and are not happy."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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