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2016 Ford Focus Review

The 2016 Ford Focus offers poised handling and zippy engine performance, but it ranks in the middle of the compact car class because of its snug back seat and below-average reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Spry handling
  • Upscale cabin
  • Cramped back seat
  • Subpar reliability rating
  • Unrefined automatic transmission




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Ford Focus Overview

Is the 2016 Ford Focus a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Ford Focus is a fine option if you’re shopping for a used compact car. The Focus feels lightweight and agile around tight turns. Its interior has a rather upscale look and feel, and it’s available with a healthy array of tech features, including blind spot monitoring and an 8-inch touch screen. There’s a model to fit practically every taste too. The Focus is available in sedan and hatchback body styles, and its engine lineup ranges from highly efficient to high performance.

The Focus isn’t perfect though. It has a cramped back seat and a clunky dual-clutch automatic transmission. It also rates below-average for reliability. Consider higher-ranking alternatives like the Mazda3, Honda Civic, and Kia Soul if this concerns you.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 83 professional evaluations for this 2016 Ford Focus review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Ford Focus?

Based on the nearly 3,800 listings on our site for the 2016 Ford Focus, you can expect to pay between $10,000 and $17,500. The average list price on our site is $12,600. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Ford Focus Cost to Own?

There are more costs associated with owning a car than the sticker price. Estimated five-year expenses for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Focus are roughly $21,900, which is about average for 2016 affordable compact cars. In comparison, the 2016 Honda Civic will cost you an estimated $19,900 over five years, the 2016 Mazda3 will cost around $20,300, and the 2016 Kia Forte will cost roughly $22,600.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Focus?

With an average list price of $12,600, a used 2016 Ford Focus will save you around $5,350 over the starting price of a new 2018 Ford Focus. There are no significant differences between the two models. Choose the 2016 Focus to get basically the same car as the new model for much less money.

Read about the new Ford Focus »

You’ll have to drop down to the subcompact car segment to find a new car that’s competitive in price with the used 2016 Focus. A base 2018 Kia Rio starts at $13,900, or $1,300 more than the Focus’ average price. The Rio has better fuel economy, about the same first- and second-row legroom, and slightly more cargo space. Check out our Kia deals page to see if you can further reduce the price between a new Rio and a used Focus.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Ford Focus?

The 2016 Ford Focus has a reliability rating of 2.5 out of five, which is below-average for the industry as a whole. It’s particularly low for the compact car segment, where the average is closer to 3.5.

Read more about Focus reliability »

2016 Ford Focus Recalls

At the time of this writing, there were four safety recalls on the 2016 Ford Focus. They are for a transmission leak that can increase the risk of fire, improper weld joints that may affect the front-end’s integrity in a collision, a faulty latch on the hatchback model that can cause the hatch to open early, and a fractured pinion shaft that may affect the transmission park function. Make sure these recalls are fixed before purchasing this vehicle.

See more information on Ford Focus safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Ford Focus Is Best?

The 2016 Ford Focus is part of a generation that launched for 2012. The 2016 model is arguably the best of the lot. The high-performance Focus RS model debuts, and all trims benefit from a midcycle interior and exterior refresh. The 2016 Focus also features an updated version of Ford's SYNC infotainment system. Models from 2013 to 2015 are saddled with a poorly functioning infotainment system.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Focus »

Which Used Ford Focus Model Is Right for Me?

The Ford Focus comes in two body styles: sedan and hatchback. There are five trims available: Focus S, Focus SE, Focus Titanium, Focus ST, and the high-performance Focus RS. The Focus S (the base model) is a good choice. It offers a satisfying mix of features, engine power, and price. It also comes with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port, and Ford's SYNC system, which allows you to make calls and control your music using voice commands.

See 2016 Ford Focus trims and specs »

What Does Ford's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Ford offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Ford extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. These vehicles also get a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Each Ford CPO vehicle must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like vehicle history reports, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Ford warranty page carefully.

Ford does not have one of the better CPO programs among affordable carmakers. Chevy, GMC, Honda, Kia, and Mazda all have better programs.

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How Safe Is the Focus?

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Focus received the top rating of Good in the moderate overlap front, side impact, rear crash protection, and roof strength tests. It earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the small overlap front assessment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses a five-star rating scale for their tests. The 2016 Focus earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

A rearview camera is standard in the Focus. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, active park assist, and lane keep assist.

See Focus safety scores »

2016 Ford Focus Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Ford Focus or 2016 Honda Civic?

The 2016 Honda Civic is one of the best options in the compact car segment, and it’s by far the better vehicle of these two. It has a roomier interior than the Focus, with over 4 inches of additional rear legroom. The Civic also has pleasant handling, superb fuel economy, and excellent safety scores. When it was new, the 2016 Civic was named our 2016 Best Compact Car for the Money.

Which Is Better: 2016 Ford Focus or 2016 Kia Forte?

The 2016 Kia Forte isn't nearly as fun to drive as the Ford Focus, but it makes up for its dull handling in other ways. The Forte has one of the roomiest back seats in the class, and it has more cargo space than the Focus. Additionally, the Forte has user-friendly cabin technology and a higher reliability rating than the Focus. Go with the Kia.

Which Is Better: 2016 Ford Focus or 2016 Ford Fiesta?

If you like the Focus' agile handling, you should consider the smaller, sporty 2016 Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta is fun to drive and gets better fuel economy estimates than the Focus. It will likely cost you a few thousand dollars less as well. Like the Focus, the Fiesta also has a high-performance ST trim. The real trade-off? There’s less cabin space in the Fiesta.

Compare the Focus, Civic, and Forte »

2016 Focus Performance

How Does the 2016 Ford Focus Drive?

The Ford Focus is one of the sportier cars in its class. Its taut suspension and quick steering make the Focus agile and fun to drive, yet it remains comfortable on rough road surfaces.

A number of engine options are available. The Focus S, SE, and Titanium models are outfitted with a four-cylinder that makes 160 horsepower. It provides adequate power for zipping around town and getting up to highway speeds. A turbocharged three-cylinder with 123 horsepower is optional in the SE trim. This model yields great fuel economy, but it accelerates slowly. The Focus ST has a turbocharged four-cylinder with 252 horsepower, and the Focus RS has an uprated version with 350 horsepower. Both accelerate ferociously and feel even sharper around turns, thanks to their stiffer suspension tuning.

The ST and RS models come standard with a slick six-speed manual transmission. The other trims are available with a six-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual. If possible, skip the automatic. This dual-clutch transmission tends to shift harshly.

Does the 2016 Ford Focus Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Focus gets an EPA-rated 27 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway with its standard four-cylinder engine. That's just above average for the compact car class. Upgrading to the three-cylinder engine improves fuel economy to 30/41 mpg city/highway. The thirstier ST and RS models get 22/30 and 19/25 mpg, respectively.

Read more about Focus performance »

2016 Focus Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Focus Seat?

The 2016 Focus has seats for five and is available with leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. The front seats are roomy and supportive, but the back seats have less legroom than competitors.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Ford Focus?

The Focus has complete sets of LATCH connectors in its outboard second-row seats, as well as a middle-seat tether anchor. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Focus’ LATCH system as Acceptable (the second-highest score). The IIHS noted that the lower anchors are buried too deep in the seats for easy access.

2016 Ford Focus Features

The 2016 Ford Focus comes standard with Ford's SYNC voice-control system, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, and the new SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen are available. The SYNC 3 system is responsive to commands and has a user-friendly interface that can be operated using the same swipe and pinch gestures used on many smartphones.

See 2016 Ford Focus specs »

Read more about Focus interior »

2016 Ford Focus Dimensions

Ford Focus Cargo Space

The 2016 Focus sedan has 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space, which is on par with that of most cars in the class. The Focus hatchback offers 23.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 43.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, which is good for the segment. The ST has slightly more cargo space behind the rear seats (23.8 cubic feet), while the new RS has slightly less (19.9 cubic feet).

2016 Focus Length and Weight

The 2016 Ford Focus sedan is 14.8 feet long, while the hatchback is 14.3 feet long. The Focus has a curb weight ranging from 2,948 pounds to 3,055 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Ford Focus Built?

The 2016 Ford Focus was built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Other Ford products built there are the Focus Electric, Focus ST, C-MAX Hybrid, and C-MAX Energi (plug-in hybrid).


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