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2013 Ford Focus Review

The Ford Focus has pleasant handling and zippy engine options, but a poor reliability rating sinks this compact car to the middle of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Athletic handling
  • Attractive cabin materials
  • Good fuel economy
  • Large turning radius
  • Complicated infotainment system

Rankings & Awards

The 2013 Ford Focus's #17 ranking is based on its score within the 2013 Compact Cars category. It was the winner of our 2013 Best Compact Car for the Money award. Currently the Ford Focus has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 75 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 9.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Ford Focus Overview

Is the 2013 Ford Focus a Good Used Car?

The 2013 Ford Focus (sedan and hatchback) has a lot going for it. It expertly balances crisp handling with a smooth ride. It has attractive styling inside and out, and it offers neat features that you might not expect in a compact car like hands-free parallel park assist. Ultimately, though, its poor reliability, clunky controls, and unrefined automatic transmission make the Focus hard to recommend over top competitors like the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze. The 2013 Ford Focus Electric is reviewed separately.

Used 2013 Ford Focus Performance and Interior

The 2013 Ford Focus has a four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed dual-clutch automatic is available. The engine provides good pep for city and highway driving. When paired with the manual transmission, it yields decent fuel economy of 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The available PowerShift dual-clutch automatic earns better fuel economy (up to 28/39 mpg), but it’s much less refined. It tends to jolt at lower speeds and feels reluctant to downshift when necessary.

The Ford Focus ST has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 252 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. This muscular EcoBoost engine surges the ST up to speed, providing brisk throttle response and robust passing power. However, fuel economy drops to just 23/31 mpg.

The Focus delivers excellent driving dynamics. Its steering is responsive, body roll is minimal around turns, and the suspension provides a comfortable ride. The Focus ST adds to this recipe with quicker steering and a retuned suspension for even sharper cornering. Its brakes provide superior stopping power as well. That said, the ST doesn’t ride as comfortably on rough pavement as the lower trims.

Read more about Focus performance »

The Ford Focus seats five and is available in sedan and hatchback bodystyles. The front seats are comfortable and offer good support on longer drives; head- and legroom are ample as well. However, the rear seats have limited legroom, making them a squeeze even for smaller adults. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. The Focus sedan has 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space, which is fine by class standards. The Focus hatchback has 23.8 cubic feet behind its rear seats and a generous 44.8 cubic feet with these seats folded.

The Focus’ cabin is upscale and made with quality materials. The interior remains hushed at highway speeds, which isn’t always typical of compact cars. The climate controls are straightforward, but the audio buttons are oddly arranged and tricky to use. The available MyFord Touch infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen, which is frustrating in part because of its delayed response times and small on-screen buttons.

Read more about Focus interior »

Used 2013 Ford Focus Prices

The price of a used 2013 Ford Focus ranges from about $6,700 for a base model to around $9,300 for a Titanium model. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 75 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 75 Ford Focus reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experienced combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Ford Focus?

The Ford Focus has a poor reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about reliability »

How Safe Is the Focus?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Focus a 2013 Top Safety Pick+, the agency’s highest accolade. The Focus earned the highest rating of Good in four out of five areas tested, and it received an Acceptable rating for small overlap front crash safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Focus a perfect five-star rating in overall and side impact testing, as well as four stars in front and rollover crash testing.

The Focus is available with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and parallel park assist.

See Focus safety scores »

Is the 2013 Focus the Best Model Year to Buy?

If you’re looking for the best value, consider a used 2012 Focus. Ford fully redesigned the Focus in 2012, and the only major update it received over the next two years came in the form of the high-performance Focus ST in 2013. Buying a used 2012 model will get you the same basic features as the 2013 and 2014 Focus, but often at a much lower price.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Focus »

Which Used Ford Focus Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Focus comes in four trims: S, SE, Titanium, and ST. The Ford Focus S (sedan only) has a CD player, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, front power windows, and manual rear windows. The Ford Focus SE adds a 4.2-inch display screen, USB input, SYNC voice recognition, cruise control, power rear windows, and alloy wheels. The Ford Focus Titanium adds an 8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry with push-button start, and satellite radio. Many of these features are also available on the S and SE models.

The Ford Focus ST (hatchback only) shares its standard features with the SE model, but it adds a turbocharged engine, a sport-tuned suspension, and high-performance brakes.

You may want to consider a certified pre-owned Focus. For all of its CPO vehicles, Ford extends the original new car powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty. Each CPO vehicle must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Ford warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Ford certified pre-owned program »

2013 Ford Focus and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Ford Focus or 2013 Ford Fiesta?

The compact Focus and the subcompact Ford Fiesta both offer athletic handling, but it’s the Focus that provides more seating space and a larger hatchback, making it more practical day to day. That said, both cars are hard to recommend due to their low reliability ratings and unrefined dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

Which Is Better: 2013 Ford Focus or 2013 Toyota Corolla?

The Focus outshines the Toyota Corolla with zippier performance, more enjoyable handling, a higher-quality interior, and many more tech and safety features. Still, the Corolla is the better used car to buy. It has a superior reliability rating, lower projected ownership costs, and a much roomier backseat.

Which Is Better: 2013 Ford Focus or 2013 Honda Civic?

For used compact car shoppers, the 2013 Honda Civic is a far better pick than the Focus. The Civic has an upscale interior, playful handling, and a composed ride like the Ford. The sporty Civic Si model even offers a taste of higher performance. But it’s the Honda’s strong reliability and smoother transmissions that put it well ahead of the Focus.

Compare the Focus, Corolla, and Civic »


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