2013 Ford Focus Review


2013 Ford Focus

The Ford Focus, a new model in 2012 is largely unchanged for 2013.  Which isn’t bad, it just means that a very good car has become just a little bit better.

One of the best things about the Focus is it’s flexibility.  Available as either a 4-door hatchback or a 4-door sedan the Focus can be decked out as inexpensively or as expensively as you like.  It can be an inexpensive grocery getter or an elegant small sedan loaded with options… options such as a reverse sensing system and push button start that usually aren’t available in a small car.

Ford has even found a way to make the Focus sporty.  While all the Focus models handle very well, almost like sports cars, the Focus ST adds a turbo-charged 2 liter engine capable of producing 252 horsepower that turns it into a true pocket rocket.  Combine the turbo-charged engine with a 6-speed manual transmission and a sport-tuned suspension and the Focus is a small, but very hot car.  As much fun as the Focus ST is most buyers will probably stick with the standard engine, a 2.0L  direct-injection 4-cylinder, a fine, fuel efficient choice.

These days fuel-efficiency is what the Focus is all about.  Even the 262-hp Focus ST is rated by the EPA at 23 miles per gallon in town and 32 on the highway.  The other Focus models do even better.  With the standard engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission the EPA numbers are 27 city, 38 highway.  The SFE package increases the fuel efficiency slightly more, to 28 city and 40 highway, by adding a rear spoiler and low-rolling resistance tires for only $95.  One small codicil about low-rolling resistance tires, although they are getting better, they tend to make for a slightly noisier, rougher ride.  Older versions of low-rolling resistance tires tended to wear faster than normal tires but, depending on the brand, that problem has largely been resolved.

Not counting the Focus electric, there are two versions of the Focus available as four different models.  The two versions are the four-door hatchback and the four-door sedan.  The four models of the Focus are the base S model which features 15” steel wheels, manual air-conditioning, and power windows – but only for the front seats; the SE model adds 16” aluminum wheels, cruise control, power rear windows, and the extremely useful Ford hands-free, voice-activated SYNC system.

The top of the line Focus is the Titanium.  The Titanium adds leather seats, push-button start, Sony audio with 10 speakers, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, rear-view camera and a rear view sensing system.  The Titanium is very well equipped car and it is not hard to spend more than $25,000 on one.

The fourth version of the Focus is the ST.  The ST is just a little less expensive than the Titanium, starting at $23,700.  Because of its sporty nature the ST is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Like the Titanium you can easily spend over $25,000 by the time you are finished adding options, but on the other hand, it is a joy to drive.

Driving the Focus SE, which is probably the model most people will purchase, is a pleasant experience.  It has a nice, well controlled ride that is not too harsh, but not so soft as to leave you feeling disconnected from the road.  The electric steering is well weighted, easy to turn at low speeds but tightening up at when you go faster.  It’s relatively quiet and the seats are comfortable and supportive.  My only complaint is the 6-speed automatic transmission seems to be shifting constantly and you can feel every shift.  In fairness to Ford, every car I’ve driven with a 6-speed has this failing. Personally I prefer the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) used on Ford hybrids (and most other brands hybrids).  Nissan and Subaru are by and large the only manufacturers that offer CVTs on non-hybrids.

Overall the Ford Focus is an excellent small car.  Unique touches like the capless fuel filler offer unexpected convenience while high-tech solutions such as the SYNC system provide hands-free control over audio sources and other features.  The Focus provides good passenger room and luggage space at a low price and tops it off with excellent fuel efficiency.  Over all the Focus is very neat package that, based on its sales volume, many people are attracted to.

If you have any questions about the Focus, feel free to leave a reply.  I try to answer questions within 36-hours, often sooner.

Quick Reference Table – Comparble vehicles

2013 Ford Focus Sedan SE automatic 2013 Chevy  Cruze LS automatic 2013 Toyota Corolla S automatic
MSRP (destination fees not included) $19,295 $19,655 $19,855
MPG (city, highway) 26/36 26/38 27/34
Horsepower @ Max RPM 160@6500 138@4900 132@6000
Torque Ft. Lbs.@ Max RPM 146@4450 148@1850 128@4400
Length (inches) 178.5 181.0 179.3
Wheelbase (inches) 104.3 105.7 102.4
Width (inches) 71.8 70.7 69.4
Height (inches) 57.7 58.1 57.7
Cargo volume (cu. ft.) 13.2 15.0 12.3
Wheels Alloy Alloy Alloy
Air-conditioning Standard Standard Standard
Sound system AM/FM/CD/MP3 6-speakers AM/FM/CD/MP3 6-speakers AM/FM/CD/MP3 6-speakers
Bluetooth Standard Standard Standard
Signaling exterior mirrors Standard Not available Not available

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