The compact Ford Focus has been sold in the U.S. since 2000 with no significant redesigns. For the 2012 model year, the Focus has been fully re-engineered and redesigned and now shares its foundation — not just its name — with Focus models sold overseas. With this change comes a substantial quality improvement. A Focus sedan comes in an entry-level S trim level, and both the sedan and a four-door hatchback are available in SE, SEL and Titanium trims. A high-performance Focus ST will join the family next year.
The Focus competes in a crowded class that includes the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla and more.
The Focus is an exceptionally stylish vehicle in this historically conservative class. It offers body-colored door handles and side mirrors, with integrated turn signals. Standard wheels range from 15-inch steel rims on the Focus S to 17-inch alloys on the Titanium trim level. There are many optional alloy wheels as well, topping out at 18 inches for the Titanium.
A rear spoiler comes on the sedan's optional SE Sport Package. Ford also offers a wide selection of graphics packages that can be applied to either body style at the dealership.
The two lower trim levels come with a one-piece, folding bench backseat, and a 60/40-split version is optional on the SE and standard on the two higher trims. At 13.2 cubic feet, the 2012's trunk is 0.6 cubic foot smaller than last year's model. The hatchback, which hasn't been offered since the 2007 model year, offers 23.8 cubic feet behind the backseat and a total of 44.8 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat.
Standard and optional features include heated side mirrors, remote start, a keyless-entry keypad, satellite radio, a navigation system, a backup camera, a moonroof, Sync and MyFord Touch. An automatic parallel-parking option will come later in the model year.
Under the Hood
The Focus' engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that can team with a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, which is a fast-acting dual-clutch automated manual. (It has no clutch pedal and operates as an automatic from the driver's perspective.)
The Focus will achieve as high as 38 mpg on the highway with the automatic and 36 mpg with the manual. The best efficiency will come with the Super Fuel Economy option later in the model year, which for $495 will deliver 40-mpg highway with the automatic.
The Focus offers two suspension tunings, tied to wheel size. The base covers all wheel sizes from 15 to 17 inches. The Titanium's optional 18-inchers come with a firmer, sportier suspension and pricey Michelin Pilot Sport 3 summer performance tires.
The Focus marks the debut of new airbag technology that Ford says will better protect against chest and rib injuries. Both the shape and a new variable venting feature attempt to tailor airbag deployment to suit the occupant's position. Front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags are also designed to maximize deployment force. Curtain airbags that cover the side windows for both rows of seats are also standard.
As required of all 2012 models, the Focus includes antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system.