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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
7.1
Out of 10

Based on 497 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.4/10
    Quality
    7.2/10
  • Reliability
    7.4/10
    Performance
    7.5/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

No repairs..35MPG..has always run fine.

By on Saturday, July 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliable despite Cons. Rpt stuff. MPG!"

Cons: "Acceleration modest so plan ahead E.G. on ramps"

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

"Zero repairs; did put on new tires few months ago... change oil per Ford instructions. Solid 35 MPG. What's not to like."

Great Little Car

By on Thursday, July 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and economical"

Cons: "Not the greatest head room for tall folks"

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

"This is an amazing little car. It rides like a big sedan, gets 27 to 28 mpg city and 38 mpg hwy. it is quick "off the line" when you need that shot of speed in traffic. It corners tightly, almost like a sports car. The paint is still great after 2 years not garaged. I highly recommend this car."

I wouldnt Buy a 2013-2015 ford focus

By on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,800

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I've had nothing but issues with this car I have had the clutch replaced 5 times and still the problem isn't fixed and ford isn't willing to buy back my car. I would not recommend a ford to anyone go with another brand like Mazda or Chevy."

Love it!

By on Friday, July 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Excellent MPG"

Cons: "nothing so far"

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

"I read so many bad reviews about this car that at some point I wasn't sure about getting it, so I saw some elantra's, sentra's, forte's and civic's but the focus was my favorite one, so I ended up getting it. I drive every day 35 miles to go to work, and of course another 35 to go back home, and I haven't yet felt that "shaking" that a lot of people are talking about. I love my focus and I am very happy about my decision! MPG= 40.2 so far... thats my favorite part, it is super economic! I drive most of the time on the highway and it has a lot of power, sometimes I have to slow down because I'm going over 80mph. I wanted a car just for a few months but now I want to have this car for a couple of years."

10 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Would Be Amazing Minus Transmission Problems

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,086

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good gas mileage, fun to drive, comfortable,"

Cons: "Major transmission problems"

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

"This is the first car I ever purchased new and I went all out with the Titanium to get all of the extras I wanted like leather interior and a moon roof. This car is great on gas, handles really well, is good for long drives, can actually hold quite a bit in the trunk, and is comfy. If that was it, I would absolutely say this is the best car ever because I really, truly love it. BUT, there is a recall on the transmission that I've brought my vehicle in for several times and it's still not right. Everything was fine with the car initially, then after a couple months it started shuddering when shifting through first gear and got progressively worse. I took it in a few times before they finally ordered a replacement clutch and serviced my vehicle. Everything was great after getting the new clutch for a few months and then my car started shuddering again when shifting through first gear, and now second gear as well. I just brought it in to the dealer again and they said two of the computer systems responsible for the transmission shifting gears needed to be reprogrammed, which they did and the transmission is still shuddering through first and second gear. I'm so bummed out because I love everything else about this car, but this is not great for a car that's only 2 years old."

Great Car in Most Situations

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

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
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort, visibility, good mileage & cargo capacity"

Cons: "Rear sit inconvenient to fold down flat"

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

"The only thing I dislike is the amount of work it takes to fold the rear seats flat. Once I do it however, I can fit my bicycle in there, so it's roomy. Other than that so far I'm very happy with the driving experience, gas mileage, comfort, and appearance of this car. It has been reliable, with the caveat that I don't put a lot of miles on it.I mostly drive just myself and one passenger in it. The rear seat would be tight for taller passengers,."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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