Until last year the compact Ford Focus had been sold in the U.S. since 2000 with no significant redesigns, but then it was 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. Sedan and hatchback body styles are offered and the five-seat Focus competes in a crowded class that includes the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza and Toyota Corolla.
A manual transmission is newly available for the Focus’ top-of-the-line Titanium trim level and the high-performance turbocharged Focus ST hatchback joins the lineup.
(Skip to details on the: Focus ST)
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. Exterior features include:
- Standard 15-inch steel rims
- Optional 17- and 18-inch wheels
- Optional rear spoiler
- Optional moonroof
The Focus’ interior size compares to the Civic and Corolla, with less backseat room than the Cruze. The Focus’ interior quality is notably higher than its predecessor, with standard cloth and, in higher trim levels, optional leather upholstery. Heated front seats are also optional.
A one-piece folding bench backseat is standard, and a 60/40-split version is optional. The sedan’s trunk measures 13.2 cubic feet. The hatchback offers 23.8 cubic feet behind the backseat and a total of 44.8 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat. Interior features include:
- Optional remote start
- Optional backup camera
- Optional MyFord Touch and Sync multimedia system
- Optional park assist
The Focus is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that teams with a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, which uses a fast-acting dual-clutch design. (It has no clutch pedal and operates as an automatic from the driver’s perspective.)
The Focus is rated as high as 38 mpg on the highway with the automatic and 36 mpg with the manual. The best efficiency comes with the Super Fuel Economy Package, which delivers 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. Mechanical features include:
- 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 160 horsepower
- Engine runs on regular gas
- Front-wheel drive
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. Additional safety features include:
- Front-seat side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Traction control
Ever since the North American and European Focus coalesced into the same uniform model for 2012, American sport enthusiasts have been anticipating a replacement for the SVT version, the high-performance Focus model that was killed nearly a decade ago.
The faithful can get what they wanted for 2013 as Ford adds the high-performance Focus ST. It’s powered by a 252-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 270 pounds-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission.
Additional mechanical changes include a reworked suspension with upgraded shock absorbers and springs. Overall, the sport-tuned suspension offers less ground clearance but better cornering abilities, Ford says.
The electronic stability system and Torque Vectoring Control programming have been revised in the ST, too. The stability system has three modes to choose from, including an intermediate “reduced or wide-slip mode,” which turns traction control off and intrudes only when absolutely necessary. Torque Vectoring Control aims to reduce understeer.
Besides all the technical upgrades, the ST also shows off its more aggressive nature inside and out with 18-inch alloy wheels, a honeycomb front grille and available Recaro-brand sport seats. Back to top