Compact car; Built in USA
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,400 – $20,800*


2014 Ford Focus


2014 Ford Focus


2014 Ford Focus


2014 Ford Focus

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Handling/roadholding
Cons:
  • Legibility of instruments
  • Rear-seat room

Focus is a sporty, fun-to-drive small car that’s available with some unexpected high-end features, such as hands-free parallel parking. We prefer the manual transmission in this car, and kudos to Ford for making it available on more models for 2013. Pricing ranges from class-competitive to surprisingly high for a loaded Titanium version. The ST promises lots of power, but we were a bit disappointed in the chassis’ ability to handle it. Overall, Focus is a fine compact car and one that deserves a prominent place on your shopping list.

Overview

Focus was Ford’s bread-and-butter compact and the brand’s second-best-selling car behind the Fusion. Focus debuted in the U.S. market for the 2000 model year and received a complete overhaul for 2012. The changes resonated with the public, and dealers had a hard time keeping up with demand.

Like the smaller Fiesta, Focus derived its basic design from a platform Ford sells in several countries around the world. Also like its smaller sibling, this car was sold in the U.S. as a 4-door hatchback or 4-door sedan. Ford built the U.S.-market Focus in the U.S. It competed against a long list of other compact cars, that included the Chevrolet Cruze, Dodge Dart, and Honda Civic Sedan (none of which offered a hatchback). The Kia Forte, Mazda 3, and Nissan Versa each offered sedan and hatchback body styles.

All models except the ST had a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Some Focuses sold in California and northeastern states used a version of this engine with 159 horsepower; those examples achieved Partial Zero Emission Vehicle status. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard on the S and SE and was offered as a no-cost option on the Titanium. Standard on the Titanium and optional on the S and SE was a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. Some SE models with this transmission included manual-shift capability.

The ST used Ford’s 2.0-liter “EcoBoost” 4-cylinder engine, which was turbocharged and produced 252 horsepower when used with premium-grade gasoline. The sole transmission for the ST was a 6-speed manual.

All Focuses were front-wheel drive.

The Ford Focus included a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. Front- and rear-side airbags were standard across the board.

Ford also sold a hatchback version of this car called the Focus Electric, which we cover in a separate report.

Yearly Updates

2012 Focus
2013 Focus
A high-performance turbocharged ST model joined the Focus lineup for 2013. It came exclusively as a manual-transmission hatchback, with a significantly more-powerful engine. The rest of the Focus lineup was largely unchanged for 2013. Due to customer demand, Ford is expanded availability of a manual transmission to include the top-of-the-line Titanium model.
2014 Focus
The Focus SE gained a sport appearance package for 2014, but otherwise Focus was little changed.
2015 Focus
The 2015 Ford Focus got several worthwhile updates, including updated exterior styling, a retuned suspension, new infotainment features, standard rearview camera, available lane-keep-assist system, and availability of Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine. The high-performance ST model gained a flat-bottomed steering wheel, revised steering feel, and some new appearance options.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All models except the ST had a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Some Focuses sold in California and northeastern states used a version of this engine with 159 horsepower; those examples achieved Partial Zero Emission Vehicle status. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard on the S and SE and was offered as a no-cost option on the Titanium. Standard on the Titanium and optional on the S and SE was a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. Some SE models with this transmission included manual-shift capability.

Turbocharged
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches)
Engine HP
Engine Torque (lb-ft)
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
Turbocharged dohc I3
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.0/61
Engine HP 123
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

29/40

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft)
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
26/36
27/38
32
32
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 252
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 270
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

23/32

26

Road Test

With the base engine, Focus is pretty sprightly past 3,500 rpm. Before that speed, there’s not much going on. The manual transmission takes a bit more acclimation than we’re used to, but once you adjust, it’s a very easy and fun car to drive. We prefer it to the automated manual, which upshifts too quickly and downshifts too slowly for our liking. The ST is similar from a stop, but the turbo boost arrives quickly and brings a bunch more power with it. Aggressive throttle application can generate significant front-wheel hop at low speed and quite a bit of torque steer regardless of how fast the car is moving. That said, with more moderate use of the gas pedal, STs can be very relaxed and easy to drive. Our testers enjoyed using ST’s clutch and shifter.

In Consumer Guide testing, a manual-transmission model averaged 31.6 mpg in fairly even city/highway driving. Cars equipped with the automated manual averaged 31.8-32.7. The ST returned 26.3 mpg in mixed driving. Most Focus models use regular-grade gasoline, and some versions can use E85 ethanol as well. Ford recommends, but doesn’t require, premium for the ST.

Ride is smooth and generally compliant. Even the firmer ST remains reasonably comfortable. Credit goes to Focus’ solid body, which enhances the impression of comfort. When cruising on the highway, Focus feels like a bigger car than it is, and that’s not a slight against it.

We said Focus feels like a larger car when cruising, but when you want to push it a bit, this American-made compact is Euro-sporty. That’s true of all models, not just the muscular ST. The steering feels great, and astute suspension tuning keeps body lean in fast turns at a minimum. Braking control and pedal feel are fine.

Though not one of the quietest compacts, Focus is indeed better than most in this area. The base engine produces a sporty snort when accelerating, which enthusiasts might appreciate. STs have a more prominent, raspy exhaust note under acceleration, but it’s pleasingly subdued on the highway. The tires on models equipped with the optional Sport Package drone loudly on coarse pavement. Thankfully, the performance rubber on the ST doesn’t generate excessive tire noise.

The meaty steering wheel feels good in your hands, as does the manual transmission’s shifter. The gauges put style over substance with their aqua-blue markings that are difficult to read at a glance. Models tested had a colorful display screen at the center of the gauge cluster. It offers lots of information that’s confusing to cycle through. Without MyFord Touch, the radio interface is the same unconventional unit found in Ford’s Fiesta. It uses a multitude of buttons with counter intuitive operation that takes some time to fully master. Thankfully, the climate controls are simple and easy to reach. Ford recently updated its MyFord Touch software to improve responsiveness and voice recognition. The system now works better than previous iterations, but there are still bugs and inconsistent responses to voice commands.

Focus has an attractive interior, and its materials are a combination of lightly-padded and hard plastics. Depending on trim, convincing faux-metal or contrast-color panels add visual interest.

Even large drivers should be comfortable in front of mainstream models. A tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and height-adjustable driver’s seat help dial in a suitable position. The seats are bolstered enough to keep drivers planted in turns, but not so confining as to be uncomfortable for larger folks. The ST’s available Recaro seats are more aggressively bolstered, and some of our bigger testers felt they were too confining and found the angle of the lower cushion uncomfortable. Visibility is generally good on the sedans. Hatchbacks suffer a bit from thick roof pillars. The small “wide-angle” lenses built into the exterior mirrors help a bit.

Rear comfort is arguably Focus’ worst attribute. Headroom is adequate, but legroom ranges from barely mediocre to outright cramped depending on the position of the front seat.

Hatchbacks have good cargo room behind the back seat, but the available stereo subwoofer has a housing that eats up some space. Sedans have decent room in their trunk, but space is not that large compared to some competitors. A small opening and sickle-style hinges further limit the trunk’s usability. The available split rear seat requires flipping the bottom cushion forward and removing the headrests before folding the seat back down. The result is a flat load floor in most versions, but if the front seats are all the way back you can’t fold the rear seat flat. ST’s have a higher rear load floor, so when the back seat is flopped down, the seat backs are actually at a lower level than the balance of the floor. In either body style, the cargo area is nicely finished and there’s a bit of shallow underfloor storage as well. The interior’s small-item storage is pretty average and includes a small cubby behind the shifter, console bin, two cup holders, and door pockets.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 Titanium sedan, automated manual

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 9
90%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 62

Specifications

4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 171.6 71.8 57.7 2920
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
44.8 12.4 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 37.9 41.9 33.2
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 178.5 71.8 57.7 2907
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.2 12.4 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 38.0 41.9 33.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2014 Ford Focus 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Trouble Spots

Transmission problems
Description: The automatic transmission may develop a leak requiring replacement axle seals and reprogramming of the powertrain control module. (2012)
Transmission problems
Description: A faulty software could cause intermittent transmission engagement, lack of power, or failure to start. (2012-15)
Transmission problems
Description: The automatic transmission may shudder under light acceleration and also leak fluid. (2012-15)

Recall History

2012 Focus
Description: Water may enter wiring harness of the passenger-side windshield wiper causing intermittent operation or failure.
2012-13 Focus with Yakima roof rack
Description: Some Yakima roof racks do not fully contact the door frame and could slide off the car while in motion.
2012-13 Focus with High Intensity Discharge headlights
Description: The front side marker lights may not function on cars equipped High Intensity Discharge headlights.
2013 Focus ST
Description: A faulty sensor could cause the engine to hesitate or stall.
2013 Focus
Description: The left rear door child lock may not engage. The door could be opened from the inside.
2013-14 Focus ST
Description: Faulty wiring to the Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor could result in false signals that would cause the engine to hesitate or stall.
2014 Focus
Description: A faulty fuel pump could cause the engine to stall.
2014 Focus
Description: Faulty steering gear could cause impaired steering or loss of control.
2014 Focus
Description: The Fuel Delivery Module may crack and cause a reduction in fuel pressure. The reduction in pressure could cause the engine to stall.
2015 Focus
Description: Engine may continue to run after Start/Stop button has been turned off.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.