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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
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 470 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.4/10
    Quality
    7.2/10
  • Reliability
    7.4/10
    Performance
    7.6/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

AMAZING CAR!!!!!!!!

By on Friday, February 05, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"I am 22 and I have gone through 5-6 Hondas, but I went out of my comfort zone and traded my fit (I grew to hate it because of the MPG in town 18-19) plus it did not offer much of anything expect cruise control. I traded it for a 2014 sedan/hatchback titanium focus (my original plan was to get a Honda insight.) At first I was little bummed because of the price, 16k. But my gosh it is so worth it! I do not regret it one bit. It drives smooth, looks amazing, I am still trying to figure which buttons work what. haha. It was love at first sight! I love everything about it. I have a three year old son and safety was a HUGE concern of mine and this car as it all, even great gas mileage! I live 2 hrs away from the dealership I bought it from by the time I had came back I had put 120 miles on the car and it still had more than half a tank of gas. In town it gets about 27, it changes a lot. I don't know what else to say about it. You pay for the price of the car and this is well worth every penny."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

So peppy and fun!

By on Wednesday, February 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

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
10/10

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

"I drove a van for 15 years and was SO looking forward to getting a peppy, fuel efficient and eye catching ride. I decided on the Focus 2 years ago after seeing a picture in a magazine with a great review of it. I bought it with 5000 miles and just loved it. One day recently I was online and read these reviews about the transmission problems. OMG! I got terrified mine would fall prey to these problems and immediately began to notice things about the shifting that I had never noticed before. So then I got very paranoid and took it to the dealer. They,of course, know that the DCT does often shudder at low speeds. They recalibrated the computers on the transmission AND gave me a free loaner car while it was serviced. It drives perfectly. When I began to think about how a manual transmission works, I changed my driving style because I have driven a stick. Instead of gently pressing on the gas from a dead stop, I now aggressively step on the gas and it zooms through those first 2 gears with no stuttering. Maybe thats what I should have done from the beginning but I always pressed gently to save gas. Don't do that in this car. PRESS! Anyway, it is fun to drive, it gets up and goes and I really love the design!"

I got what I expected!

By on Thursday, January 21, 2016

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

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
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Milage and comfort, handling is great."

Cons: "The 6 speed automatic has some issues."

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

"I bought this Focus because my father had one of the older models and got at least 10 years of relatively trouble free ownership. I have put 40000 on my Focus and only had minor transmission issues that the dealer tells me are inherent in this 6 speed automatic because of the kind of transmission it was originally, a manual that they combined with a computer operated clutch. The mileage has been 41 on the interstate for long trips and around 20 in town with stop and go driving. It is very comfortable with plenty of front leg room but the back is a bit tight."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Not crazy about it.

By on Friday, January 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "good price, great gas mileage"

Cons: "transmissions issues"

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

"I have had all kinds of problems with the transmission. It has been serviced once and needs to go back again. I thought I was purchasing an automatic transmission. Ford says it's not exactly automatic, acts more like a standard."

A Little Gem

By on Thursday, January 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Performance, practicality, price."

Cons: "no windshield darkening on top"

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

"This is my second Focus ST. The first was a 2013 lease and this is a 2015 lease. I wanted and found a combination of practicality, performance and price in this car. Other hot hatches may have marginally superior performance but with worse mpg, cargo space and price. The ST has the most bang for the buck; it handles like a dream and performs wonderfully. A couple of friends came to visit recently and I had room in the car for them as passengers and their large suitcases as cargo. I have room for materials for many of the projects around my home. The city mpg is good, on the highway very good. If I were to decide to buy it the price with my options (Recaro package)is very reasonable."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Most disapointing new car

By on Thursday, January 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,250

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: "None."

Cons: "Stiff Steering, 39 feet Wide turning radius."

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

"I have had the focus st ST3 package for a year now and I still hate it. There are some real problems with this car, for instance Pros: Basically none. Cons: 1. The worst turning radius in the segment, 39 feet is ridiculous for a compact car, and i know a lot of people say its because it has bigger 18 inch tires, but that's not the reason. The GTI, WRX and Civic si all have the same tire size and they all have a very short turning radius. 2. Pedals are offset, and the gas pedal is not level so heal and toe is difficult. 3. Interior space is nonexistent. Center console is huge and there are no storage cubbys. 2 cup holders and a very small center arm rest is unexceptionable. 4. Back seat space for passengers is extremely small. A Honda fit has more legroom. Even front legroom is horrible. 5. Seats are terrible, very tight. 6. back cargo area is super small. 7. Turbo acceleration is off and on, you have to jam your foot into the accelerator to get any movement, and this car is not traffic friendly. Throttle is not smooth and is jumpy at low speeds. Many people have stalling problems. This is a known defect in the car. 8. Motor mounts are not strong enough, the car will make a clunking noise, another known defect with this car. 9. Gas mileage is typically between 18 and 22 miles to the gallon no matter what way i drive. 10. Shifter is clunky. Very notchy with extremely long throws. 11. Limited slip differential is not offered as standard equipment and not even as an option. The car has no traction. Roofline is too low, i typically hit my head on the ceiling, A pillers are too wide, and the windows are very small. Visibility is awful. 12. Car is too heavy, feels awful to drive. And is not agile because of all the weight. 13. Suspension tuning was not done right. The car crashes over bumps. 13. Steering is overly stiff all the time, even during low speeds, which makes parking even more difficult. This car is extremely hard to live with on a daily basis for all the reasons above. I do not recommended it at all."

4 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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