2012 Ford Focus

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$16,500

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Sedan

Body style

31

Combined MPG

5

Seating capacity

171.6” x 57.7”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Styling
  • Handling
  • Braking
  • High-rev power
  • Interior quality
  • Low noise levels

The bad:

  • Modest interior room
  • Forward visibility
  • Added cost for 40 mpg
  • Off-the-line acceleration
  • Delay for sporty ST version
  • Sync, MyFord Touch

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Ford Focus trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Sedans for 2024

Notable features

  • Fully redesigned for 2012
  • Sedan and four-door hatchback styles
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • Highway mpg as high as 40
  • Self-parking option

2012 Ford Focus review: Our expert's take

By Sara Lacey


Ford has significantly upped the ante in the compact-car segment with its redesigned 2012 Focus, which has taken a giant leap in terms of looks and quality.

When test-driving the 2012 Focus hatchback, I felt like I had two personalities, “College Sara” and “Family Sara.” College Sara liked its updated, racy looks with its large grille and swoopy taillights, but it wasn’t quick enough from a stop. It was better suited for the more rational Family Sara, who liked its cargo space and ease with which the hatchback handled child-safety seats — something College Sara wouldn’t give a whit about.

The Focus has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that lacks some zip off the line. Once I got going, I didn’t feel like I was missing power. The Focus sticks to the road and seems to enjoy being pushed a bit. The steering was sporty, making turns and curves fun.

So, where did College Sara and Family Sara agree? In more places than one, but the most important thing was price. The Focus sedan has a starting MSRP of $16,500 and the hatchback comes in at $18,300. My test car, a Focus SEL hatchback, cost $24,720 and included the optional MyFord Touch and Cold Weather packages.

EXTERIOR
The Focus’ angles and curves are in just the right spots, giving it a modern look, but it looks best from the rear. The curvy hatch and angled taillights are sporty and youthful. Optional 17-inch aluminum wheels help the Focus look more interesting than a regular commuter car, and even Family Sara likes that the Focus adds some visual excitement to the carpool lane.

My elementary-school-aged kids had no issues getting in and out of the Focus; the doors opened and closed easily and are lightweight. The cargo area was squared off due to a subwoofer that shaved off some of the space’s width. Parents who regularly haul strollers in their cars will want to make sure they fit in the Focus’ trunk.

Parents of teen drivers will like the Focus’ MyKey system. A programmable key allows parents to set limits on the car’s top speed — 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph — and the radio’s volume. It also mutes the radio and sounds a chime until the driver buckles up.

The Focus has a 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It uses unleaded gas and gets an EPA-estimated 28/38 mpg city/highway. This falls short of some competitors that get 40 mpg highway, but Ford offers the Focus SFE trim that hits 40 mpg highway.

SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some-Good Times

INTERIOR
While the Focus is inexpensive, it doesn’t feel cheap. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather, and the metallic accents have some heft to them. I wasn’t such a fan of the fabric upholstery — that’s personal though, I prefer leather interiors for ease in cleaning — but I must admit it was sturdy and comfortable.

The main complaint for both College and Family Sara is the interior’s lack of storage spaces. This is a hazard of a smaller car; in the front row I just had two cupholders, the center console and a glove box. I missed having a little bin for my phone or my wallet.

My test car had the MyFord Touch system; a touch-screen in the dash controls the stereo, climate and more. Of course, Family Sara worries about the distraction factor of these systems, while College Sara had lots of fun pushing the buttons and figuring out how to make it work.  In addition to MyFord Touch, the Focus also had the voice-activated Sync system that enables you to make calls or play music without fumbling with controls.

The Focus had good legroom in the backseat. I chalk it up to the deep seat benches. There also were interesting cubbies for gadgets located next to the rear doors.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

SAFETY
In crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2012 Focus hatchback received four stars out of five overall. It got five stars in side crash tests and four stars in in frontal and rollover crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t crash-tested the 2012 Focus hatchback.

There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Focus’ outboard seats. Child-safety seats were easy to install in the hatchback. With the driver’s seat adjusted for my 5-foot-5 frame, a rear-facing infant-safety fit well in the backseat.

The Focus has standard front-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows. Ford’s programmable MyKey is optional. The available Parking Technology Package ($695) includes a backup camera, parking sensors and Active Park Assist that parallel parks the car with minimal assistance from the driver.

Get more safety information about the 2012 Ford Focus here.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.9
  • Interior 4.1
  • Performance 3.5
  • Value 3.6
  • Exterior 4.3
  • Reliability 3.5
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

2.0

Not worth it, constant problems

Initially bought the car because of the cheap price and infotainment system thinking I’m getting a good deal, I soon found out that I was wrong. The transmission is the most common problem I have had with this vehicle. Had to replace the clutch after one year of owning it had to spend a lot on multiple repairs. Transmission often slips, bucks, shudders, and jerks when accelerating from first and second gear. The interior looks upscale but is kind of cheap feeling. Plastics tended to raddle and buzz and break. If you want a good car for a good price, don’t buy this, the resale value is garbage. Only got 1,500 for it.

2.0

ok-ish car

overall a good car, motor is reliable and so is everything else, the on problem with these cars is the transission, the clutches wear like crazy and its like all of the transmisson internals are made of glass, STAY AWAY FROM THIS CAR UNLESS U ARE A MECHANIC and have the means to fix it

3.0

Reliabilty

We bought the vehicle used with 68000 miles on it. The first thing that went out was the power steering, luckily we had an after market warranty to fix otherwise that it would have cost us 19500. Then the power train control module went out, thank God Ford fixed that for free, but now it has 154768 miles being reliable, have to replace the front struts and a wheel bearing. I like the car.

See all 401 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2012 Ford Focus base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
4
Combined side rating rear seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
5
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
4
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
4
Overall rating
4
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
11.7%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
4
Side barrier rating driver
4
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage Blue
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Fords and many non-Ford vehicles up to 10 years old with less than 150,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
90-Day/4,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty
Powertrain
Available
Dealer certification required
139-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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See all 2012 Ford Focus articles