By Bob Nagy
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
Completely redesigned last year, the 2013 Ford Focus goes through some trim level simplification on the conventional side of its lineup but carries over the Focus Electric unchanged and adds a new dimension to the family with the high-performance Focus ST version (reviewed separately). A dynamic player in the super-competitive compact segment, the Focus matches its Ford One global design heritage with avant-garde styling and loads of premium touches that progressively build through S, SE and Titanium trim grades. Available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the Focus is a match for any of its key rivals, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Dodge Dart, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte Mazda Mazda3, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.
Delivering an outstanding mix of style and substance, the 2013 Ford Focus enriches its fundamentally solid and efficient basic package with the availability of class-leading technologies, including MyFord Touch, Active Park Assist and a PowerShift dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission – as well as offering a pure electric alternative.
The avant-garde kinetic design cues of the 2013 Focus won't please those with less adventurous tastes in styling, but an equally significant consideration involves its comparative pricing. While the Focus does delivers what it promises, the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte can make legitimate cases for offering better bottom-line value.
Fully redone for 2012, the Ford Focus is largely unchanged for the 2013 model year except for the availability of a 5-speed manual transmission on the top-line Titanium trim level, the departure of the semi-premium SEL version in favor of a more comprehensively-appointed SE and the arrival of the hot, new Focus ST (reviewed separately).
Driving Impressions The Ford Focus has a robust structural foundation and features European-style suspension tuning that imparts a clear measure of fun to the driving experience. Even the base Focus S feels...... comfortable yet confident and responds quickly and predictably to all driver inputs. Although ride compliance suffers a bit as you move up through the model hierarchy – and particularly on Titanium versions fitted with the optional 18-inch wheels and 40-series tires – the Focus still merits above-average handling marks across the board. Its AdvanceTrak stability control is complemented by a torque-vectoring control system that helps the Focus slice through corners with enthusiastic competence, and well-modulated anti-lock brakes (front discs and rear drums on the S, 4-wheel discs with the SE, Titanium and Electric) deliver solid, drama-free stops. While the Focus Electric does trade a measure of dynamic sportiness for its more overtly-efficient character, even this super-green sibling leaves no doubt as to its basic heritage.
Standard on Titanium trim levels, Ford's top-line infotainment and telematics package is based on an even more advanced – and now more user-friendly – 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 the auto-shifted SE 4-door sedan, 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 EPA highway figure up to 40 mpg.
While not the roomiest in its class, the cabin on the Focus boasts the look and feel of a more expensive car, reinforcing that premium character with loads of soft-touch surfaces and an abundance of 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 Titanium models with the MyFord Touch infotainment and navigation system. The rear seat is scaled for two mid-sized adults but decently padded for three kids. Folding the 60/40 rear seatbacks to a semi-flat position adds utility to the regular Sedan's 13.2-cubic foot conventional trunk and raises the capacity of the Hatchback's cargo area from 23.8 to 44.8 cubic feet. However, the battery pack puts a big dent in cargo space on the Focus Electric.Exterior
Both the Focus sedan and hatchback embody the latest iteration of Ford's "kinetic design" styling language that gives each one a more aggressive and aerodynamic appearance. The look is effectively reinforced by a lower, sleeker windshield rake and flowing roofline set off by smartly-stylized headlamp and taillamp treatments. A relatively long wheelbase and generous front and rear track dimensions contribute to an even more planted stance. Filling its tastefully-flared fenderwells are wheel and tire packages that range from 195/65 all-season tires on 15-inch steel wheels on the Focus S Sedan to 215/55 tires with 17-inch aluminum rims on Titanium models. The top-line Focus Titanium is also available with an optional 18-inch wheel upgrade that includes 235/40 performance tires as well as a sport-tuned suspension.
Even the base Focus S sedan boasts an impressive complement of power assists, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering column, keyless remote entry, AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio, anti-lock disc/drum brakes and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, while the SE – now infused with many ex-SEL features – adds SYNC with MyFord Driver Connect, cruise control, folding rear seat, 4-wheel discs, programmable MyKey and 16-inch tires on alloy wheels. The Titanium trim level has leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, push-button starting, SYNC/MyFord Touch, a 10-speaker Sony HD sound system, Sirius Satellite Radio and a 17-inch wheel and tire package. The richly-appointed Focus Electric features unique eco-fabric seat covers and adds voice-activated navigation.
The Focus offers an impressive selection of model-specific upgrades. While the 6-speed dual-clutch auto-shifter and remote starting lead an intentionally modest list on the S four-door, the SE offers a comprehensive Appearance Package (leather, 17-inch alloys, foglamps, satellite radio, rear spoiler and more) and a Style Package (custom-colored leather, power moonroof, navigation, MyFord Driver Connect and Super Fuel Economy, Winter and Handling Packages); all those options are offered on all but the SFE 5-door model. Titanium buyers can choose a 5-speed manual transmission, moonroof, navigation, the Technology Package (Active Park Assist, front and rear sensors, rearview camera), Style Package, Winter Package and a Handling Package with dedicated sport suspension and 18-inch wheels and tires.
All conventional 2013 Focus models are fitted with a naturally-aspirated, direct-injected 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that uses Ford's twin-independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). This smooth, free-revver makes 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque and can be paired with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. On the SE with Sport Package and Titanium models, the automated-manual transmission adds SelectShift capability via a rocker switch on the shift lever. Auto-shifted SE sedans with the mileage-maxing SFE Package rate a 40-mpg EPA highway rating but the economy star is the Focus Electric. With a 143-horsepower permanent-magnet motor energized by a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, this ultra-clean hatchback returns a remarkable 105 MPGe combined rating from the EPA.
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 mpg (SFE trim, automatic)
Synchronous electric motor/generator
23kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack
184 lb-ft of torque
Projected per-charge range: 76 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 110/99 MPGe
Positioned as a premium compact offering based on its impressive roster of advanced features and available upgrades, the 2013 Focus S and high-volume SE Sedan still start under $17,000 and $19,000 respectively with the entry-level SE hatch opening slightly under $20,000. However, the Titanium sedan and hatch push $24,000 and $25,000, respectively, in base form and can move beyond the $27-$28K marks when heavily optioned. In this ultra-price-sensitive segment, those numbers may have some buyers rethinking the relative charm of some alternative choices, particularly the Hyundai Elantra sedan and GT 5-door, both of which cost less and have a slightly better retained value. At $39,995 before any federal tax credits or state or local incentives, the Focus Electric also requires a fair bit of green from buyers looking to go greener.
Check the Kelley Blue book Fair Purchase Price to find out what customers are really paying for the 2013 Ford Focus.
By Kay P. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Moved back to area where I needed 4 wheel drive, had some issues with Focus.
Pros: "A lot for the price, luxurious interior for Ford"
Cons: "Clutch issues ruin everything else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Ford did a great job with the redesign of the Focus in 2012. The car comes with options of a ton of great technology that other competitors at the price do not offer and driving the car is pure fun. Not to mention, it gets great gas mileage. I was always shocked at how good my mpgs were! However, because this engine was redesigned in 2012, the clutch is plagued with issues. I even had it replaced under warranty (with the same clutch by Ford) and it did nothing to fix the grinding noises and junting that happens when the car switches gears (I drive an automatic). It makes you think something is wrong with the car even though Ford claims it is not. Something is wrong. It also vibrates when idling and Ford claims there is no fix for these issues. All the little things about this car are great, but Ford messed up with the design of this engine. I finally gave in and went back to owning a BMW because I knew they would never put a clutch in a vehicle that could not be fixed. The value of this vehicle also depreciated greatly compared to other car brands over a two year period."
By leo on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The focus gets good MPG, is very smooth, quiet and roomy. The engine is very strong and so far the dual clutch transmission has been great...it definitely looks, feels and drives like a European car. I like the capless gas tank filler too...I bought the s automatic model for 14,925.00 total out the door price. Assembled in Michigan too...I only buy domestic cars assembled in us. This is my eighth new GM or Ford and they have all run good. Chrysler makes some very good vehicles too"
By Elizabeth on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage, comfy to drive"
Cons: "not reliable, in and out of the shop"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car used two years ago as a lease return at 20,000 miles. It had a great price and a warranty and I was thrilled. I had some minor electrical issues with interior lights almost immediately, but these were covered under the warranty. The transmission shudders, as do all new focus transmissions. The dealership reset the transmission and it seemed a little better, but still not great. In the sport setting, the shudder is worse and it shifts erratically. At about 54,000 miles, the Ford dealership told me I had a rear main seal leak. As I understand it, that's not normal in a two year old car. They fixed the problem, again under warranty. At just under 60,000 miles, almost the end of my powertrain warranty, the dealership said I had another oil leak. They took my car apart to find it was a transmission fluid leak and that had to replace my dead clutch and do an "overhaul" of the transmission. Again, it was covered. That same week, my coworker with a 2012 focus also needed a new clutch and transmission repair. Her car has 40,000 miles. My warranty is now done, and I've had the engine and gearbox out twice in six months. I bought a nearly new car hoping for reliability, but that hasn't been the case..."