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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).
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.
New standard equipment for 2010 includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, remote keyless entry, power door locks, MyKey configurable key and a driver's message center. SE, SES and SEL models receive a perimeter alarm, while a new SE Sedan Appearance Package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, decklid spoiler and fog lamps. Also new this year is the available SYNC communications system with Traffic, Directions and Information, which can provide traffic updates as well as turn-by-turn directions.
An SEL trim is added to the sedan lineup, touting leather seating, the SYNC audio system and chrome door handles. The SES trims receive a refreshed front grille, a roof-mounted rear spoiler (Coupe) and optional 17-inch wheels (Sedan). AdvanceTrac stability control is now available on all models.
Comprehensive restyling and retuning give the Focus a more contemporary flair and even better handling. The hatchbacks and wagon are discontinued, but the sedan is joined by a new coupe. All now feature air conditioning, tilt steering column and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, plus SYNC (standard on SES) that adds in-car connectivity for cell phones and personal media players.
In the intensely-competitive compact-car market, the details count for everything, and the 2014 Ford Focus covers those details. The Focus looks great on the outside without giving the impression it will fade from fashion in the next six months. The inside is modern and comfortable – it's spacious and offers a generous assortment of premium features and touches with the ascending trim levels of S, SE and Titanium. You can have the Ford Focus as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, and it's fully competitive with all the likely suspects, including the import nameplates of Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla and Mazda Mazda3, and its fellow domestics the Chevy Cruze and Dodge Dart. Shopping in this market segment? The Focus deserves your attention.