By KBB.com Editors
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
By Dannnny on Tuesday, March 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, sporty, fast, comfort, luxury"
Cons: "Overweight people cant sit in the supportive seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fast, comfortable, good gas mileage, compact size, hatchback can haul large items, high quality interior, great info-tainment system. It comes with summer-only tires, so you need to buy winter tires to drive safely in weather below 35 degrees. I drive through ice and snow with good traction."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By jrsy on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, technology is top notch"
Cons: "Transmission can be flaky at times."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Car is great for commuting. Ride is comfortable and handling is tighter than you would expect. Sony entertainment system is incredible and very easy to use. Only downside is the transmission, its a little flaky. I had to have a software update applied to fix the transmission within the first few months. Even now it stutters at times and can be a little jerky. Overall, I would buy it again as it has exceeded my expectations. For the value, you'd be hard pressed to find a better car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Guido1735 on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, sporty looking"
Cons: "The transmission may make people hesistat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I own a 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback SE 6spd automatic. The trim I have has a sunroof, sport pkg, winter pkg, and convenience pkg. The car has performed great. I average 34.7MPG. I have had the car in for transmission re-programming. Other than that the car has been flawless. Interior has held up well. No squeaks or rattles. I feel the transmission just takes some getting used to. The sport shift is a blast once you learn how to properly use it."
By Hawk on Saturday, February 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,750overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, roomy, good sound system"
Cons: "Not good in snow, poor turning radius, blind spot"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is a great car, if it isn't necessary to tackle inclines or hills with that are snow-covered. Taking "off" traction control, which is an option, does help somewhat, but it is a nuisance. The turning radius isn't as good as that of my '02 Focus Hatchback. There seems to be a fairly large blind spot in the right rear. I have had no need for repairs in the over two years I've owned it. Getting 28 mpg."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Harry on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car isn't a good car, no room no comfort, can't stretch your legs. Doesn't handle well NOT GOOD AT all and not worth the money"
5 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Busy Professional on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful interior styling, great options, fun to"
Cons: "Some weird shifting, not a lot of storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"You will read a lot of bad reviews about this car but look at the rating here. It's a great car! It was designed by a team that went to Europe to study those cars - we met a member of the team. The styling and options are unmatched, they thought of everything! If that's not your thing, I get it, but it's mine. As for the drive, it was tough to get used to since it's basically a manual that was automated. I did have some weird shifting but the tranny fix Ford came out with (no questions asked) fixed most of it. Once in awhile it delays a bit shifting up if it was just downshifting (I.e. Coasting) but not bad at all. Overall I really do love this car!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful