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 pbguy on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun and comfy to drive; great price; simple"
Cons: "poor sync feats; poor turning radius; poor resale"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought brand new and have been loving it since. Of course I have not had any mechanical issues with it because it is still only a year old, so I yet have to see how it treats me when it's time to take it to the doctor for repairs. However I am enjoying its smooth ride and gas-friendliness. All my passengers think it's quite roomy, comfortable and nice on the inside as well as cool looking on the outside. The one thing that does not let me rate this car a 10 is its Sync system and its poor turning radius compared. I find Sync poor and whacky to use and wish I was able to update its system/software somehow."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By ford_owner on Friday, January 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very good build quality and very good handling."
Cons: "Not great for long trips with people in back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very good build quality and very good handling. 2 L engine gives good acceleration in traffic. It looks good too. For longer road trips with more than 2 people, the car is probably too small."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Joe on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,600overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good size, great fuel mileage, good looks/design"
Cons: "Automatic transmission- would be perfect w/manual"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Overall the Focus is a great little car, I just wish I bought the manual transmission. I ended up buying an automatic because that's the only thing the dealers in my area had in stock, and I couldn't get any discounts/incentives if I special ordered one. After driving it for a couple years I really regret that - I should have held out for a manual transmission as the automatic is the only major negative. Like most everyone else, my Focus SE with the automatic also suffers from shudders and quirky/noisy shifting particularly at low speeds. However during more "spirited" acceleration it cleans up a lot and the shifting is much crisper. But still, the automatic's shifting pattern is clearly tuned for fuel mileage and it keeps the RPM's pretty low all the time. The push-button sequential shifting feature is also completely useless - it is awkward to use, and there is a long delay (1 second or more) between pushing the button and the actual shift. That being said, although the transmission is annoying, it has been reliable for me. Haven't had any mechanical issues since buying it new (~2.5 years, 30k miles, averaging 35.5 mpg)."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Tom on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, really a poor man's Porsche"
Cons: "not a great all weather car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I'm about 155 lbs and 5'9", but any bigger and it would be a tough fit. I enjoy the ST version. Plenty of power, fun to drive and reasonable gas mileage. I can haul my three kids easily. The manual transmission is forgiving and lots of fun. The only complaints are that the performance tires are not really all-weather tires so beware when it rains or snows (even a little). Also, the rear seat belt connector is not working. Small issues, really. I've owned a BMW, and a Miata, in my day and this is a nice, comfortable and practical alternative. This would be a fun car if they had a convertible version! I do agree with another writer, though, the console cup holders are inconveniently placed and a center interior light would be helpful."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By John on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, and great on fuel"
Cons: "Cramped back seat, short-lived OEM tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the 2012 Focus S sedan, with the 5-speed manual, in very early 2012 and have owned it for almost 3 years now. It was the first new car I've ever bought, and I do not regret waiting for this car for a minute. I love everything about this car, and it's a blast to drive. I do have the lowest trim level, and I prefer that actually: it has all the bells and whistles I care to have in a car. The seats are comfortable, though the back seat has tight legroom, which is a problem for taller people on longer drives. The trunk is plenty big, and I've managed to pack way more into the car using the back seat and passenger seat than I ever would have imagined possible. I really love the exterior styling, and the interior is nice as well. Having the manual transmission for this car is the way to go. It's got plenty of giddy-up when needed, and can be pretty smoothly driven otherwise. Handling is really good, as I've hugged a lot of tight mountain turns in it at decent speeds. It's smooth in highway driving, and it's also surprisingly good in the snow, though super deep stuff is tricky, as it is for almost anything that isn't 4WD/AWD and higher off the ground. I exceed all of the mileage ratings by a solid margin. I routinely see 40-41 MPG in highway driving, 32-34 in mixed, and 28-30 in heavy city driving. I have noticed the car runs a little smoother on ethanol-free fuel, so I buy that when I can find it, and use higher-quality E10 gas otherwise (I avoid the super discount chains). Basically, in highway driving 500 miles on a tank is feasible, though I tend to fuel back up after 450 in highway-only, and around 350 in mixed to avoid running it too low. The only knock I have on this car was the OEM tires. The Continental tires that came on it were horrible on treadlife. Rated for 60k, but they were pretty well worn down by 30k. I replaced them at 43k after stretching them. And no, the car was not out of alignment...the tires were just that bad, and I've seen that mentioned by many owners of this car. In summary, I've always preferred the smaller vehicles anyway, be it compact trucks and SUVs or cars, and the Focus has been my favorite so far. I've had experience with Acura, Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, and Subaru, and the Focus has surprisingly been the best of that bunch in my experience. It's a real pleasure to drive, and economical on gas to boot."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By booger on Sunday, December 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice color"
Cons: "mileage, design,performance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Poor interior design, cupholders are in the way of controls and shifting, folding down the back seats is a chore, chrome dash vent trim reflects in the side windows and looks like there's a car next to you when there's not. The automatic shifting leaves a lot to be desired, I could shift better on my manual when I was just learning to drive, it's very rough and jerky. Mileage estimate was deceptive, it's supposed to get 27 city 37 hwy, avg 31. I'm averaging 27.5 and most of my driving is highway."
42 people out of 67 found this review helpful