$6,940 - $12,658

2013 Ford Focus Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Ford Focus was new.


Performance: 8.4

Overall, reviewers are very pleased with the performance from the 2013 Ford Focus. They find available power and fuel economy ratings from the base engine are good for the class, and add that the ST model has plenty of horsepower and torque to satisfy performance enthusiasts. Both the ST model and lower trims receive good reviews for sporty handling, though the ST receives mixed reviews for ride quality.

  • "The 2013 Ford Focus feels like a European car in the way it's been tuned to provide both sharp handling and a refined ride. There's very little body roll in corners, while the sharp, communicative steering is a revelation given that it's electrically assisted. The 2013 Focus is a fun car to drive, especially with the Titanium Handling package." -- Edmunds
  • "The sound of the Focus ST just might be the most satisfying part of the driving experience. At low rpm the cabin is a fairly quiet space, but jump on the gas pedal and a specially designed active sound tube amplifies the throaty notes of the engine's intake and channels them into the cabin. It gives the engine a distinctive growl that enthusiasts should enjoy." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

All models except the Focus ST have a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed dual clutch automatic is optional. The Focus ST has a 252-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission is not available with the ST model. Focus models with the base engine and automatic transmission average 27/38 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. The Focus can be equipped with the Super Fuel Economy package, which increases its fuel economy ratings to 28/40 mpg, which rivals class leaders.

This year, most reviewers focus on the Focus ST’s performance, but a reviewer who tested the base engine says its performance abilities are good and its fuel economy ratings are impressive. Auto critics also like the standard five-speed manual transmission on the base model, though one wants six speeds. Most test drivers really enjoy driving the Focus ST because it has plenty of power. One test driver particularly likes that the ST performs well on long highway drives.

  • "The only transmission available for the Focus ST is a six-speed manual, but it's a slick one." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "There's plenty of torque to pull you out of corners and up steep mountain passes without pause, and to propel you headlong down the freeway at up to triple-digit speeds in a blink, but there's never a whoosh! moment where you feel the turbo kick in." -- AutoWeek
  • "Focus is pretty sprightly past 3,500 rpm. Before that speed, there's not much going on. The manual transmission takes a bit more acclimation than we're used to, but once you adjust, it's a very easy and fun car to drive. We prefer it to the automated manual, which upshifts too quickly and downshifts to slowly for our liking.” -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2.0-liter engine isn't as much of a standout, but it offers competitive performance and fuel economy. The five-speed manual transmission works well enough and gives the car a sportier feel, though we found ourselves wishing for a sixth gear on the highway." -- Edmunds 
  • "On the highway, the ST was capable of settling down for a long cruise in a fairly quiet cabin or to growl nicely when a quick pulse of power was needed." -- MarketWatch

Handling and Braking

Whether they drove the Focus ST or lower trims, auto critics are impressed with the 2013 Ford Focus’ handling abilities, calling it sporty and responsive with minimal body lean. More than one test driver thinks the Focus’ turning radius is too wide for a car of its size. One reviewer says the ST model isn’t disturbed by bumps, which makes it a good commuter car, but another says it rides a little rough.  

  • "We said Focus feels like a larger car when cruising, but when you want to push it a bit, this American-made compact is Euro-sporty. The steering feels great, and astute suspension tuning keeps body lean in fast turns at a minimum. Braking control and pedal feel are fine." -- Consumer Guide
  • "There's not much tire noise from the asymmetrical 235/40 section Goodyears, and the ride quality is adequate for a car with this much performance ability." -- Edmunds
  • "Also added to the ST are high-performance brakes, a more solid body structure and tightened-up suspension parts. Yet the ride doesn't suffer much, and the ST can also be a daily commuter car." -- MarketWatch
  • "The variable-rate steering works well, too, making easy work of tight, winding switchbacks, though the car's turning radius is abominable. At one point during our drive, an otherwise routine U-turn required three back-and-forths to complete the 180, making the compact Focus ST feel as big as an Expedition." -- AutoWeek
  • "On rough pavement, the front suspension kicks and tugs like one remembers it from the old days, which means that going fast entails a fair amount of adjusting and correcting. It's fun, but it ain't smooth." -- Automobile Magazine (Ford Focus ST)

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