Reader Review of the Week: 2012 Ford Focus

Reader Review

“Dave in Nevada” recently purchased a 2012 Ford Focus SE. He apparently likes most aspects of the car but highlighted three distinct problems he would fix – namely Ford Sync, the tires and the automatic transmission. He fixed the tires and the radio problems, but what is his solution for Ford’s dual-clutch automatic transmission? Continue reading below to find out. If you want to share thoughts about your own car, you can do that here.

2012 Ford Focus  “I got a 2012 Focus SE. There are three problems with the car; two are easy to fix.

“First problem: the Ford Sync radio system. It Bluetoothed well with my 3-year-old Casio GZone but poorly with my Samsung Charge. I was told they have problems with the Droid system. It is such a poor system that I have disconnected the system and just use my phone on my lap as a speakerphone. As far as the rest of the radio system, I just load CDs. May as well, as they are pretty much antiques anywhere else. So, easy fix.

“Second problem: the Continental all-season (M+S) tires that came on the car. The car is so quiet, all you hear is tire whine. Whine all the time. Easy fix. Got new tires (and NOT Continentals).

“Third problem: the automatic transmission. To say it shifts poorly from a dead stop is being nice. You have no option as to selecting the gear; you got Low and Drive. That is it. It is so bad that if you are on a hill, you actually can roll backward before you go forward. You may as well have a clutch with how it acts. Maybe Ford can reprogram the transmission. I hope so. I will ask the next time I go in for service.

Other than those three problems ... I love the car. Thirty-eight mpg on the highway, 32 in town.

I would recommend this car but not the radio system and not the tires. If you can, get a stick shift. At least then you know why it rolls backward on hills, and you can control the shifting when you start out from a dead stop.”

By Colin Bird | August 18, 2011 | Comments (76)
Tags: Ford, Ford Focus



Dual clutch (yes Dave in Nevada it does have a clutch, two of them) transmissions generally act and feel like manuals including rolling backwards on a hill.


Could have fooled me that he 'loves' the car. I was interested in the real world pros and cons since the Focus hatch is the first American brand car I've considered in a decade, but all this review gave was cons cons cons.


"...I love the car. Thirty-eight mpg on the highway, 32 in town."

Perhaps you missed this.


After noting the issues, if Dave loves the car I'd hate to hear what he has to say about one he dislikes.


Ford really can not reprogram the double clutch transmission, because it uses two dry clutches.

The real solution is to have 7 forward gears in a dry double clutch transmission. (like what VW does)


Great review, thanks. Honest and straight-forward. Others have criticized the 2012 Focus' transmission, too, including a recent NY Times review. When I test drove the car, it didn't annoy me, but now that it has gotten so much press, it probably will! Oh, well, I think the transmission and the car's fuel mileage go hand-in-hand, so I'll have to take the bad with the good. (I have a 2012 Focus on order)


Uhhh why would you get this car with an automatic? What a waste.


I have a 2012 Focus SEL Hatch. So far so good. Rides more like a mid-size car and handles more like a mid level sports car. As far as the transmission goes, it's a dual clutch, which is basically 2 manual transmissions "Glued Together" that use solenoids to automate the shift process, thus the shift feel is more like a manual than a traditional torque converter automatic. I for one have only felt any unusual shifting behavior once or twice. 99% of the time the shifts are pretty seamless. Also, on my tranny, there is a sport mode that up shifts a little higher in the RPM range and also a rocker switch on the shift handle that allows you to shift the tranny manually. As far a sync goes, I've had no real problems with it yet. My phone (an old LG VX8300) connected with Sync through bluetooth on the first try and downloaded my contact list. Now, making hands-free calls is really simple. My car also has a USB slot in the center glove box that allows you to load up a usb flash drive with MP3's and then use Sync voice commands to play what your music through sync voice commands. The only problem I had was getting the correct playlist format so Sync would allow me to use playlists (Hint - Non-extended m3u format playlists work fine.) The main issue I have with Sync is that when something doesn't work you really don't get much useful information on what the actual root cause of the problem is, you just get a fairly generic error message. That my first take on my 2012 Focus !!

i guess he has to make what he can do to the car to make it perfect...

This is the most pessimistic review I've ever seen here. I'd replace it with ca45006's, it's more helpful.


I've seen similar comments about the transmission. If rolling backwards is an issue, as in there's a car behind you that you might roll into, do what people have been doing for years: use the brake. I'll take that as a trade-off for good fuel economy.


I have a $28K 2012 Focus Titanium Hatchback with almost 7K on it. So far, we have lost the entire computer, and the driver's seat adjustment switch.

It is using (not leaking) oil. With the factory fill changed at 3K, so that in 4K it had lost at a rate of 1.25 quarts to date.

We have a constant high/low hum from the left front side of the car when driving between 55 and 70 MPH. At over 70 MPH, the noise disappears. So far, I am not very impressed.

What cncerns me mos it FORD not the delaership is less tan responsive to sloving the HUMMING Noise.


I have a 2012 and the trans sucks, When it shifts to second gear it makes a noise that sounds like a heat shield rattling but ford dealer says no. They also said the noise is normal. Was interested if anyone has the same problem. I have been a ford man for years but this could send me looking elsewhere

My girlfriend acquired one of these cars a few months ago.
I would not recommend PowerShift transmissions to anyone. Bad transmission behavior started with a shudder when going in reverse within a week of acquisition and has developed into an unreasonably long period of disengagement and a soft and sloppy re-engagement of the drive train while going uphill and at highway speeds. Having worked in the detail shop of a car dealership in the past, I have driven many, many different cars. A manual transmission that engages as slowly as this automatic would indicate an improperly adjusted or simply a worn out clutch. Do NOT allow yourself to get in a position on the highway where you need to get out of the way in a hurry. It may not happen.
Dealerships have a canned response: "It's supposed to feel different." If it doesn't shift like an automatic, it must be OK. Ford's regional office will tell you the same thing (we're getting nowhere with ATL Ford offices) despite the fact that reports of the behavior of these transmissions are all over the board. Have a look at the various fan forums- the reports of transmission behavior are consistently...inconsistent.
Poor design or poor manufacturing, who knows? Our customer service experience has been rotten and neither the dealerships nor Ford Corporate seem to have any interest in addressing the gross inconsistency in driving experience or transmission behavior. This car has spent five weeks in the shop since its purchase in June.
Buyer beware.


I just rented an SE for a week and I LOVED it.
My mpg was much better than the Cruze that I rented last. (Close to 40 mpg).
I didn't find the tranny annoying at all.


I just purcased a 2012 Focus and I love it! I've driven trucks 90% of my life. This is the first car that I had ever purchased. I bought this car not only for it's awesome looks as a hatchback SE Yellow Blaze Metallic but for it's fuel economy. I only drive it back and forth to work. 3/4 of a tank of gas lasted me a 3 weeks. Yea, I've experienced the roll back and the awkward shifts from the tranny but it doesn't bother me. I too notice that rattle but I'm over looking the bad and enjoying the fuel economy! The only bad that I don't like is no gas cap and unable to use after market seat covers due to the integrated air bags in the sides of the seats ( I work in an industrial plant ) like to save the seats. Also, being so used to truck suspension and going to!


I've bought a Ford Focus Titanium a month ago. So far, so bad. At low speed and during Stop & Go driving (city driving), the transmission is shaking and strange noises coming out from. The motor rpm is also a problem at low speed (4000 rpm and more). Is there a solution.


I have over 9,000 miles on my 2012 Focus with the dual-clutch automatic. I do understand how it is supposed to work, and having driven my share of manuals, I am not bothered by the backward roll on hill starts or the pulsing from dead stop, but this one does have some real issues. 4 times now, driving in the S mode, when rolling through a low speed right turn then hitting the gas, all I get are revs and no power. I have to drive in S mode at low speed, because the shift points of the D mode are too low rpm (for max fuel economy no doubt) and the car shudders before it downshifts when given the gas. Also the tranny makes a lot of clatter noise in the 1-2 and 3-4 transitions, while being smooth as silk in all others. So far the dealership acknowledges the problems, but has no fix to offer and wants to wait for better guidance from Ford before they tear it down.

Also had SYNC lock-up issues which a reprogramming fixed.

Last problem was the head-liner coming loose due to a failed adhesive bond. Ford fixed one location, but now another spot has come loose.

But for these problems, the car is great. Handles nicely, comfortable quiet ride, and good power given the great fuel economy.

Michael Serrano

Have had issues with MyFord Touch Sync system since day ONE!
-System would freeze repeatedly causing me to have to pull over to turn off car, open the driver door, close driver door and power car on again within 2-5 min in order to work again.
-Car is only used 2-3 times a week (weekends) for very short periods of time. Car is only 6 MONTHS OLD! and is suppose to be the top of the line Ford Focus Titanium model!!
-I went to the dealer 24 hours after buying the car because of issue and was told "It's a new car and system and might just be a glitch". Issue continued but never went back to dealer as I don't trust them. They will give any excuse in order to make me keep car and not return it. MY BIGGEST MISTAKE WAS BELIEVING HIM. I SHOULD HAVE RETURNED CAR THE FOLLOWING MORNING!
-I've contacted Ford support via phone, chat and email Was told there was an update and I had to go to dealership.
-Went to dealership in Sept-Oct and had to leave car for the entire day on my DAY OFF.
-A week after getting car back system froze when using the Sirius radio and navigation. I went to adjust volume from steering wheel and I couldn't. Volume could be adjusted from control knob but with system frozen volume would increase steadily every 2-3min so I had to keep manually bringing volume down with the knob. As I was in traffic I could not shut off car and reboot system for at least 30min. When I finally got a chance to shut the car off at a gas station it took a good 5min before I could get things to work again by turning the car on and off and opening and closing the driver door.
-I haven't contacted the dealer again because, like I said, I don't trust them and I don't want to have to deal with the inconvenience of leaving my car on my day off and having to take the train home and then take the train to pick it up. it's really a pain in the @$$ and I shouldn't have to deal with this from a car thats ONLY 6 MONTHS OLD!   
-Friday morning I decided to drive into work and guess what.... The damn Sync system isn't working at all. The screen does not turn on. we have no access to the system. No navigation, no radio, no hands-free calling. NOTHING! We spent the 40min ride stopping the car at every red light and shutting it off and opening the door and turning it on again but nothing. NOTHING! I have regretted this purchase since DAY ONE!
-I called Ford customer relations Friday morning and was told the issue was escalated and I have to wait 2 business days for a call back.
-I emailed both Sync support and Ford Motor company and was told the same thing. I know they are just going to say I need to take the car into a dealership to have it looked and and of course I'll have to be inconvenienced in order for them to fix something that shouldn't be a problem in a brand new car.
-My other issue with the car is the MPG. I have not been able to get more than 23 mpg in the 6 months I've owned the car. We do a lot of highway driving and some city driving and the highest I've ever gotten was 23 MPG. My average mpg is 22.5 MPG. I don't understand why. I had a 2004 Mazda 6 that I traded in for this car that got better mileage. I see some folks talking about 32MPGs and Fords documentation for the car says 28/32 but I don't understand what I have to do to get there. I really believe this car is a lemon and I regret ever getting it.
-I wanted nothing more than to love this car but instead I hate it. It was the worst investment decision I ever made. BUYER BEWARE!
AND customer service so far has been POOR!
-I will never buy another FORD.


“Dave in Nevada” offense intended, but assuming you did thorough research before buying the car I'm curious to know how much time was committed to the test drive prior to buying the car. Tranny, tires and entertainment issues/annoyances seem to be items that may have been obvious during test drive.


Guys do yourself a favor.. GET THE MANUAL VERSION! It is incredible! ALSO save a ton of money and avoid all the sync and touch screen crap. It's too complicated and just makes for more expensive future problems if it breaks. I got the base model hatchback BUT MAKE SURE TO GET THE SPORTS PACKAGE UPGRADE! My car is Sonic blue, has the 16 inch rims that come with the sports package, has AMAZING quality two tone cloth seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and I got the 5 speed. The automatic is awful. It never can make up it's mind about a gear. The car is BRILLIANT in manual form though. I never liked American cars and owned a Turbo Jetta before this car and this Ford not only KILLS the VW in handling, but the 160HP four banger will roll with the manual transmission.

One other HUGE plus for getting the base model with the sports package is that you also get DISC BRAKES on all 4 wheels which you do not get on the regular one. GET THIS CAR IN A MANUAL! It's brilliant.


I concur with Ash Wilson’s post (Oct 15) about the sticky transmission. I have a 2012 Focus SEL and have been really disappointed on a number of fronts with it. One thing I would say right off the bat is don’t buy a 1st year new model. Too many kinks and they don’t work them out before they get it on the market.

I have ongoing problems with my sync system, which in 6 months that I own the car, has been at the dealer for an upgrade twice already. You have to take it to the dealer to upgrade too, an inconvenience to say the least. Voice recognition is sketchy and it decides on its own not to connect to my phone or ipod for days and then all the sudden connects.

Gas mileage was a key buying point for me and I’m not seeing the range Ford posts of 28-38mpg . I do a combination of suburban and highway driving and I’m seeing after 6000+ miles driven only 28mpg and no more. Prior to this car I drove a 6-cylinder 12-year old Mercury Cougar and got 23 mpg on a bigger engine and larger, heavier car. In 12 years, only 5mpg better????? I can’t even image the possibility of someone getting 38mpg even with solid highway driving!!! If someone is getting that Id really like to know that it’s possible and also know how you are driving the car to get that kind of gas mileage!! I’ve been driving at their “Eco Mode” and its not budging over 28mpg.

The power shift transmission is sticky and jumpy. The only time I get smooth shifting is if I drive it in the S mode and shift myself. The car slips to 4th gear by 25 miles per hour and then labors to try and find a gear to accelerate???? I guess it’s meant to shift at very low rpms for fuel economy (which is a joke). This also doesn’t allow for quick acceleration if you ever need it - extremely dangerous.

The car was also in to the dealer a few times already for a vibration from the engine when in neutral, parked or stopped with foot on the brake. When the car is idling, it shakes. I went thru the dealer and Ford customer service and they came up with and downloaded a so called “software update” to ease the vibration but it didn’t quiet it at all. Their response was “sorry, that’s the way the car runs. They all run like that.” So they are done with me.

I have owned Ford vehicles all of my 30 driving years, drove them until they were done, and have been happy with the cars I’ve owned up to now. I am so sorry I bought this car and will not be a Ford owner with my next vehicle purchase, which will likely be sooner that I want. Buyer be ware!!!!!!


I just bought a 2012 Focus sedan...I was excited to own another Focus as I had my last one for 12 great years...Well, my 2002 Focus rode better in its last days than this new car. If I had to do it over again I woould NEVER buy another Foucs again. Transmission shifts as if it is on its way out, the ride is so bumpy I want to puke by the time I get to work...and as someone recommended about replacing the tires???? I didn't pay X$ to buy new tires!!! And when the Ford dealers told me, "People don't understand this car as it thinkks it is shifting as if it had a standard transmission"...I say to that, If I wanted a standard transmission, I would have paid $2000 less and bought one. Ford you SUCK and I will never buy another.


Your comments echo exactly whats going on with me. But my story has a twist. I not only purchased a 2012 focus, I got 2 of them for my twin daughters as high school graduation gifts. They both have around 5000 miles on them however, only one of them drives like crap. The engine shakes when accelerating from a stop, and does not feel like a car that I purchased just a lil over 3 months ago. So now I will just wait for the other one to start doing it. I love Ford and I am very eager to see how they respond to this Tranny issue. They better respond right or they would have lost a 30 year loyal customer.


Lots of negative comments. I'm surprised.

I took delivery of my 2012 Ford Focus SE hatchback exactly one week ago. I have around 400 miles on it.

So far...I love it! My first tank of gas got 31mpg. This second take so far is getting 36mpg. It shifts smooth. Car drives smooth.

For far, nothing at all to complain about. Except one! The right front speaker buzzes at certain frequency ranges. I have to go get that's driving me crazy!


I have a 2012 Focus that I purchased in October 2011, and I researched this car and wanted it bad! It's my first new car, my Ranger ran for 12 years with barely any problems and I was super excited for this one.

It has been nothing but a disappointment. I have the super annoying rattle from the transmission on 1-2 and 3-4 upshifts that started around 900 miles. I've taken it in twice and the first time they said it would go away, second time they said it was normal and all of the cars did it. This sound is so annoying it would never make it past any reasonable Quality Assurance team. A few days ago my Sync has just been producing zero sound randomly, as if there is a loose wire that causes no sound. It still switches back and forth from CD/Sirius/Phone/Radio etc, but no sound comes out no matter where it is. This sometimes lasts for 15 minutes or more before it just suddenly randomly comes on. Very sporadic and frustrating. I haven't taken it in to the dealership for this problem yet but I feel I will need to soon.

Bottom line, if you want to be investing your money wisely, don't do what the rest of us have done and buy a 2012 Focus, just stay away.


Randy, I'm not sure if your question was answered but I got a new 2012 focus in October and it made a winding noise that we thought was also just the car. When we took It to the dealership they actually replaced the air conditioning unit! It's was of course covered under warranty and since it was fixed we haven't heard that noise once! Hope this helps!

Paul E.

I've never read so many issues with one car as I have with this new Focus that has totally turned me off the car, I test drove a 5 speed and liked, my brother-in-law liked it so much he purchased the Titanium model I'm beginning to regret it already as I await the problems everybody here has mentioned


I don't know about the problems of the early production cars. I bought a 5 door SEL with no other options but a moonroof that was built in late January. I skipped the MyFord Touch because I would really not use it. The standard SEL interface works good for me. The transmission is great on this car, because it is so versatile compared to an old school automatic. No shudders, or sloppy gear changes. I enjoy putting it in S mode on mountain drives and going thru the gears myself without the hassle of a clutch. I also give a big thumbs up to the ambient lighting and the 6 speaker sound system. Much like a large home sound system, you can actually hear the differences from the same song played on a CD or from my MP3 player. The usual MP3 shortcomings like less dynamic range, and muddied midrange are not something the average person would notice with earbuds or cheaper speakers. But the speakers in the car are accurate enough that the flaws show up. I loved my old Civic. But the 2012 Civic is noisy and unrefined compared to the Focus when I was doing a lot of test drives before I decided what I wanted. My car is pretty new yet and has only about 4000 miles so far (I commute a long distance)but no flaws or problems have shown up that would require any sort of service.

Mark Snyder

I own the SE with the dual clutch Powershift AT (7000 miles now). Yes the transmission had low speed problems, but my dealer reprogrammed the transmission with Ford's new program released December, 2011 (TSB 12 - 04). It has made all the difference in the world - the transmission is now seamless and smooth, matching the perfect refinement of the rest of the car. If you own one, have the dealer reprogram it and make sure they have the TSB I mentioned above. If you shied away because of the tranny, give it another test drive, and make sure its a recently built one wit the latest software.

2012 Focus Titanium -have owned '94 BMW 318i 5spd man,'02 BMW 325i auto w/ sport shift,'03 VW GTi 1.8T 5spd man,'04 Nissan 350Z 6spd man,'07 Mazda 6S auto w/sport shift,'08 Cadillac CTS auto w/sport shift which are all arguably "drivers" cars.

I've had my Focus for about 35days, drive approx. 82mi. a day x5 days a wk. and have approx. 2400mi on it. This is a "drivers" car, it handles like a mid-level sports car and rides like a very, nice mid-sized car. The seats are comfortable & supportive, the steering is pretty responsive and the ride is semi-firm, but pliant. It really "only" shines in 'Sport Mode' especially, using the manual shift mode. That's the good and in my opinion what driving is all about.

Unfortunately, there are other things that one must deal with when driving that influence your perception of how good a car is overall. To be very straight forward & candid, Microsoft engineers must have been smoking crack when they wrote this SYNC code! Hate is a strong word, but "I hate SYNC!" and Ford quality control engineers must have been smoking crack when they gave this system a thumbs up! Enough said!!! Now onto MyFORD Touch and my experiences. The touch screen isn't always receptive to inputs and when it is, it's slow as molasses in the winter and sometimes it just freezes up. Lately, when I turn the audio system on there is no sound until I either switch the station or the source input. Why can't the climate control system remember your last settings? Set it and turn it "off", then "on" and it usually comes back on in some random mode (i.e., fan full blast or not, A/C on or not). You'd think in 'Auto' mode that the selected temp would dictate the fan speed, but not in my' little Focus! You hit 'Auto' (not Max A/C) and no matter the preset temp, the fan comes on full blast! The auto headlights don't come on when you'd think they should... how about being able to adjust the sensitivity? Now back to that transmission that I love in 'Sport' mode! In the std. 'Auto' mode, it makes the most unnerving noises and at times is sluggish. On one occasion recently as I pulled into traffic and tried to accelerate the car stalled and I quickly threw it into 'Sport' mode and got out of harms way. Good thing, I'm an experienced "driver" and knew how to react in this situation. Is Ford waiting on someone to get injured or killed (can you say "lawsuit"?) before they address what I believe was a transmission issue?

Yes, if one had prior knowledge of how all the bells & whistles worked and took a long enough test drive you might or might not experience some of the noted issues. Unfortunately, a short drive around the block and over hill & dell usually comprises the normal test drive. Even if you did experience some of the noted issues under this circumstance, I can almost guarantee you that in your moment of weakness for a new car the sales rep would smooth it over and chalk it up to being a new (as in newly manufactured and not newly designed) car and a "glitch in the matrix" that will work itself out. While we give the mfr. the benefit of a doubt that they wouldn't sell us a major "buggy" vehicle.

In my opinion, there's no excuse for a major car manufacturer who has the means, resources, time and obligation to release onto the market a vehicle that they must have known (unless they are all on crack!?) had major problems. Ford needs to make this right or I predict that they are going to lose a lot of customers in the near & distant future. BTW - I average 30.5mpg in my daily round trip drive of 82mi (95% hwy @65-70mph).

Bob Whittle

I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus SE Sport Hatchback and have had onging problems with the Microsoft SYNC system.Some days it works fine and other days it does not work at all or calls other numbers or cuts off before connecting and returns to radio or someone says when I call then; are you hammering on something, are you near a train, or I can't hear you, you will have to call back. The other major disapointment is the gas mileage getting 27 to 28 miles per gallon with mostly highway driving. I have had it in for service so many times I've lost count with no resolution of the sync and mileage problems (replace console, emergency brake lever control, headliner coming loose).
Man! I sure wish I still had my 2004 Subaru Outback Hatchback with 189000 miles on it and running strong. Should have had my head examined. No more Ford purchases for me, meanwhile I'm stuck with a Lemon!


I had a 2006 Suburu Outback wagon, I dumped that car after less than a year because of the noisy ride and poor fuel economy for such a small car

Bill McKay

I bought a SE sedan with the sport package in January and the six speed dual clutch manual. I love the car.

No defects at all.

The transmission is terrific; much better than my old 5 speed manual. I think they reprogrammed the shifting of the dual clutch transmission late in 2011. It shifts faster than I could a manual; it shifts OK if you just poke along and let it shift a low speeds; it does really well if you put your foot into it and is a hoot in manual mode although it would be a lot better if the shifters were on the steering wheel.

I am really impressed on what you get for the money: for $17600 or so in real money, (after rebate and discounts) you get things like outside temperature indicators, decent controls on the steering wheel, etc.

Since I am not into the wired world, I specifically searched for a vehicle without the mysync (or whatever it is called). Saved $1000 and don't miss anything.

Also, the sport package is a great deal. For $800 or so, you get alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, some really comfortable sport seats and some other things like a rear spoiler (just what a focus needs).

Car handles very well. Conti tires are not noisy (at least compared to my late and much lamented pickup truck.

Funniest part is my wife has started driving it rather than her Honda Sedan. She says it is because I drove her Honda quite a few miles when I was without a vehicle, but I think it is just that she really likes it and it is a lot of fun to drive.

Bill McKay

Mark Milner

I am on my third week in my 12 Focus. I hate the radio system, it has No bass what so ever. And Dito on the transmission failing me when approaching the hwy on ramp, it stalled for about a second and then took off, so i tried holding my foot on the brake and reving up the rpm a bit before launching onto the hwy, but that failed too. I do not like the trans, and average 29.5 mpg with 2/3 hwy driving. I had a 06 Focus ZX3 whichhad 183,000 but got hit and decided to buy the $27,000 pos. wishI could return for refund


My 2012 SEL hatchback now has a little over 7000 miles and has received its first oil change. Still no problems to report. The PowerShift tranny works great and I have experienced no problems. In fact I like to go through the gears myself in 'sport' mode when driving in the mountains and dealing with severe uphill/downhill stretches of road. I do I lot of driving and there are a few features worth mentioning that you don't really appreciate until you have had the car for awhile. Features like the gear display in the driver's side display when manually selecting gears, the built-in blind spot mirrors, the intermittent speed selection for the rear wiper, the extra wiper cycle after washing the front or back window, great four wheel disc brakes and excellent high beams when driving on twisty mountain roads at night. I have never had a car that has such a well lit interior at night. Even if it did not have ambient lighting I like the way absolutely every button or switch lights up in the dark and the dome lights are very bright when a door is opened. Add the ambient lighting with its selectable colors and brightness and you almost hate to see the sun come up! Other handy things that I like are the dual trip meters with fuel info, the USB port for playing flash drives filled with music, the back seat bottoms that fold forward allowing the rear seatbacks to fold down to provide a flat floor. I keep the 60% side folded flat and the smaller section upright all the time now because I carry a lot of stuff. For a smaller car this Focus has some great passing power on uphill stretches. If the auto tranny is in 'drive' it will kick down in to 4th gear and really take off better than any small car I have had driven before on the same roads. Yet my average gas mileage is always in the 35/36 mpg range. I can only imagine that if I took a long drive using nothing but highway speeds on interstates it would be even higher which nowadays is a great thing. My driving is about 60/40 city/highway. The only option on my SEL is the moonroof and I will never have another car without one. And on this moonroof is the one touch 'vent' position which is convenient. And a Ford feature that is found on many of their products; the capless fuel tank. The first couple times I bought gas I had the feeling that I was forgetting something but of course I was not. And I like the advanced automatic climate controls on this model, the extra turn signals in the outside mirrors, the built-in garage door opener and SYNC features, although this car has the standard SEL interface and not the full blown touchscreen system. I was able to pair my phone and train the garage door opener buttons in the driver's visor in less than 30 minutes and they always work. The seats are very good and are just as comfortable after a six hour non-stop run as when you first got in. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent handling and quiet ride. Those were the main 2 things that made me decide on the Focus after narrowing my original choices down to the Focus, Mazda 3 and Hyundai Elantra touring model. In the life of a car 7000 miles is really not that much, but it is a good feeling that this car has not needed any warranty work at all. Happy motoring!



I have a 2012 ford focus hatchback automatic transmission with 7000 miles, Taking to the dealership tomorrow. Transmission is is not working properly


I am surprised at the complaints people have about the My Touch. I thought thats what I would hate most about this car but turns out its the transmission I hate. I am stuck with this 2012 Focus as it is a company car and I am ready to quit so I don't have to drive it anymore. want a real test of this transmission, try stop and go driving, then try going across a busy street from a dead stop. It doesnt move until it rolls you slowly over the busy street, then takes off. It also almost stalled on me several times when I slow down for a turn then have to hit the gas. Backing up on a hill is even worse, almost hit my house several time so I no longer back up, only pull up. I never recommend this car to anyone who asks about it and I can't wait til I get rid of it.

Randy E.

only 1500 miles on my 2012 Focus and taking it in today because first gear is slipping in the 6-speed automatic. "Shudder" is a nonsense word. I know what it feels like when a clutch is not engaged. I'm a little disappointed. Thank god for "Lemon Laws"


I purchased my 2012 Focus in November 2011 and it has almost 7,000 miles on it. The transmission does ‘feel’ different, but I’ve had no problems with it. The Sync system works fine with my phone (Google G1). Hands free phone calls are clear on both ends, but the voice recognition is fair at best. The radio is good but not great. If you have MP3’s the AUX port is really nice. It can take a USB or a standard audio input. I use the USB port for all of my music with no problems. I haven’t used Sirius, the radio or the CD player.

I am surprised so many people are bashing the MPG. I don’t know how they are driving, but I am averaging 32-35 in town and 39-42 MPG on the highway. I assume if you are getting 28 MPG you are driving too aggressively.

There is some internal noise but it is mostly a quiet ride. It’s a smooth ride with a few luxuries. Overall, I am still happy with the purchase and would give it a B+.


OK Ill be the one to say it...Buying a car is such a huge investment, do some research before you buy!! Yes the automatic transmission sucks, but there is another option, don't be lazy!! buy a manual...I have a manual transmission 2012 Focus S and I love it!!! amazing gas mileage, its quiet, it's fast(enough), its nice looking...All of the "problems" people have with this car can be avoided with a little research...Automatic tranny sucks, buy a suck, buy the sport wheels and tires, sync the cheaper model that isn't equipped with sync.

Dianne Cunningham

I just bought 2012 Focus SE 5 days just rolled off assembly line 4/5/2012. It has that motor/transmission bog-down and rattle by 2nd day. I left it with dealership today and they are waiting on Ford to tell them about the problem. Said they were not familiar with it...but would definitely get a new one if needed. I am MOST unhappy, never bought a new car before that had any problems! I will not be satisfied to just have it fixed. Dealership is GREAT, hope Ford is....I also am getting lousy gas mileage. Had an 03 Mazda that beat it, no highway Mazda got 33 on hwy. Currently am disappointed big time!

Dianne Cunningham

Well, I got the SAME dumb response from FORD, the noisy, defective transmission is NORMAL?! Really? I am supposed to drive a couple thousand miles and it should get better. Also, I got on the freeway and drove trying to get mpg up near what it is advertised, but barely got 27mpg. Every bump in the road can be felt and heard....I am angry now. I made a big mistake buying this thing!


I've had some questions regarding the transmission as well. It technically isn't an automatic, it is a 6 speed standard transmission with clutch and all...the computer does the shifting for you rather than an automatic transmission. This is why it does what it does because it is a standard transmission. Once you learn this little fact, it's so much nicer cuz you now know what to expect.

Dianne Cunningham

Update on my Focus, mpg is improving, transmission not really, but I understand the concept and can deal with the changing differently, but the ensuing clatter is still disconcerting. The car handles well and doesn't shake when going over bumps, it is just extremely loud and rattles too much underneath. Mysync works well for me.

Dennis Campoy

New 2012 5 door...Love the car, but having a terrible time with the air conditioner. Works great, then stops blowing cold air (fan still blows) puts out humid foul smell, then a couple minutes later starts blowing cold again. Been to the dealer 3 times. First time said freon was low...worked for about a week then started in again. Took it back...said Freon was full, could not duplicate problem. Ford customer service got involved, went back to the dealer...same story...cant duplicate. Just got back from a trip,of a few hours, same problem...Called customer service, and now sending me to a different dealer to see if they can find the problem. There is a site called with several people complaining of the same problem....Dealer says no problem reported by what to do? if its not fixed this time, will have to consider sueing under the California Lemon Law, or sell a new car with less than 4500 miles on it at a loss


I have the 2012 titanium and no problem with, only few times a slippery feeling but that's all. I do love this car and the handling is so plaisant and grate!

Jeff M

Bought my 2012 Titanium in July of 2011. I have had some problems similar to others with regard to the transmission and MyTouch system. Since the installation of the software upgrade, most of the shifting oddities and MyTouch issues have gone away.
One continuing frustration with the A/C. Does anybody else feel like the car dumps moisture and heat into the car cabin periodically? It happens frequently, but I cannot determine a pattern at all.

Purchased a 2012 Focus SE on December 31st, 2011. I love the car. Seats are very supportive and comfortable. The auto transmissions does resemble a manual tranny with the rollback. (does not bother me because I have driven a manual before) But, it does provide the same strong acceleration like a manual tranny. The Sync package and hands free phone is great. Styling is great. Many people have stopped me to say how they love the way the car looks and are more surprised to hear that Ford can make a good car. The interior color combo of beige/black looks sharp. Mileage is superb. I get 34 miles per gallon in half city half highway driving. Pure highway easily pulls in 38+ MPG. Fun to drive and sporty. Pretty quiet on the highway. One of the best cars that I have owned. The only con for me is the fussy radio/phone controls. Took me a week to figure them out, but now they are not bad. In the end, it was a choice between the Mazda 3 and the Focus. I went with the Focus because of the superb seating, styling and slightly lower lease payments. They are both very good cars. Good job Ford!

lisa s

I bought a 2012 Focus SE hatchback in January 2012. this is my 3rd new Focus since 2001, and loved my other ones but HATE this one. MPG=26 - seriously? They advertise 31 avg. I drive A LOT for work and my 2005, with 160k miles, got 25mpg!!!! Trans sucks, has been in the shop 8 times since i bought it. Sync doesn't work but they say it does. Really? then why do I have to use my speakerphone? Also, the brakes stick terribly, so jerky i have to apologize to my passengers. I have missed hours upon hours of work due to this car, and am now in jeopardy of losing my job. And yes, I did my research and read great things about the car. Thanks Ford for making such a crappy car.

Max Reid

Is he trying to race with Ferrari. Focus is very good car and has sold more than 24,000 units last month and also its the World's #2 car in 2012-Q1 sales.

I dont know why they are writing foul of good cars.

Besides Focus is available in hatch version which has 24 cu. ft of trunk space and thats more than Crown Victoria.

In future cars, there will be only Drive, no L, D3, D2 and so on. Get used to it.


I just bought the 2012 Focus SE two weeks ago. I have not seen any of the problems with this car. Yes the transmission does roll on an incline, But thanks to the stop assist, I dont have to worry about it anymore. Sync work flawlessly with my Ipod Touch thru the USB. Stereo sounds great. Ride is smooth, with the occasional, but faint, hard shift. I love this car, and am glad that I chose it. Dollar for Dollar, Ford beat out Chevy by a landslide. If you are worried about any of the above issues everyone else has been having. Make sure you take an extended test drive, as it seams that only certain cars are having issues.


I have 2000 miles on my 2012 hatch SE and have a couple of problems....

1. The passenger side rear door sill retains water after it rains. You open the door and splash, out drops water. Now the car has a mildew smell in it.....lovely.

2. sometimes in the morning when I turn the wheel to back out of the driveway the power steering whines.

3. Somewhere underneath the car is a rattle. The dealer told me they have been replacing faulty upper strut towers and lower engine mount.

Other than a few small things like the steering column cover not locking together properly and the roof trim pieces coming off its been a great car. I average anywhere from 32 to 39 mpg. I even hit 35 in the city. You just have to go with the shift arrow. It's boring but saves money. I get about 350 miles on 10.8 gallons of gas. I have the 5 speed sport package. One thing ford dropped the ball on is the tailpipe. How do you make a car as gorgeous as this and have that dorky tailpipe sticking out. Trying to find a tip with an upsweep is near impossible. My Sync works great as well. The car is Very quiet which sucks when you have the windows down and you can't even hear the motor. When the warranty is up I will do a catback setup for sure.


I have a 2012 Ford Focus the sporty looking one and I don't know why but it has turn off on me without warning while driving on freeway already 3 times am taking it to dealer but has anyone had this issue or am I the lucky one????

hazel eye

I buy 2012 bran new focus sedan march 7 2012,i notice i growling noise,tke it to service tey say its normal i need to drive the car,the nex problem i notice the second month is vibrating in the car the seat and brakes i can feel the vibratin,tke it back to service tey change the mount but the car still vibrating, for a bran new car the mount shud not be bad,the car still at service all they tell me they doing they best,is anyone else have this concern that i av with my car,i am so upset buyin this car ford realy suck..


I have a focus titanium for 6 weeks and have been told it had internal damage with the transmission. Six weeks!!! I hope we did not get a lemon.


My boyfriend and I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus SE 2 months ago. In those 2 months, we have discovered that our air bags were defective. Now, the car, again I stress, 2 months old, is sitting at a dealership in another city to replace the engine for the #3 connector rod has given way.

I have contacted Ford customer service several times, and they refuse to do anything to compensate us for all the issues with this car. They are treating us like we are infants, and that we should be happy they are even fixing it. This is my very first Ford, and will definitely be my last. I have never been treated so poorly by a company. I am terrified to get back on the road with my kids in this car because I am horrified to think of what else may be wrong with it.

I strongly advise against purchasing this car. As others have said, it definitely needs some tweaking. Sitting in an intersection waiting to turn, and if you don't get a head start, you may get hit. This car takes its time to get going when you hit the gas.

We were happy with it when we initially bought it, but after discovering those 2 huge and I would say pretty important pieces of the car not to be working, after only 6000 kms, I will never speak well of a Ford vehicle.

Tom H

After 26,000 km ( 16146 mi )
my 2012 Focus SEL has averaged
7.5 litre/100k (32 miles /US gal )measured from day one and the only thing I don't like is there is no inside hatch release.


Bought '12 Focus SE HB on Feb. 29, 2012. Almost 6000 miles on it now. Manual transmission doesn't have the pick up that my old Mazda Protege 5 did, and you need to burn some serious gas (and stay in lower gears) to get the power, if you want to be aggressive. If you are doing 35 mph on a flat uncrowded road, you can average 50 mpg, but 28 to 30 is the overall average. I didn't get My Sync and after reading above, I'm not sorry. I'm getting a clunking noise on small bumps recently. Dealer's Service folks say it is a strut mount problem, but that they can't get parts to fix it! So far we are three weeks into that issue. They say it "isn't a safety issue," but one wonders what damage is being done to the struts over time as we wait. I like the looks of this car and it is comfortable for me to drive. Just have to be willing to stay after the dealership to get them to pay attention to the issue, since it seems they are inclined to take the stonewall approach.

Willie Robinson

I purchased a 2012 Focus SEL hatchback and wished I had never walked into a Ford dealership. The transmission is a total disaster and has been so called reprogrammed and the transmission still sounds like chains rattling and feels like it downshifts three time in one shift. Ford customer service is totally useless and could care less about the problems or concerns of the customer.


I purchased a 2012 Focus SEL hatchback in June of 2012. I have around 1600 miles on it and it has been a tragic mistake from the beginning. The transmission makes driving miserable. Starting from a stand still is so painful with the sluggish and shuttering. Braking into a turn and then gassing out of it feels like the car is going to stall b/c the gear is so low. Trying to get across a busy street is scary at best due the fact that the transmission is so slow to respond and when you do hit the gas it is very slow to respond until finally the RPMs rocket up but the gear does not. I have brought it to the service shop twice and they insist that nothing is wrong and that is the characteristics of the car and there is nothing that can be done. I have owned several Fords but this one will be my last. The dealership says I need to deal with Ford. Ford says I need to deal with the dealership. I was told that the transmission would learn my driving characteristics after about 1K miles. I am still waiting (btw I am the only driver of the car - a two driver family is in worse shape). I am now told it may be more like 3K+ miles. The car looks and feels great. The car drives like crap. Buyer Beware big time. My MPG is fair at best especially with having to deal with this awful, miserable transmission. Thanks for making my first new car buying experience so awful Ford. Best of luck.


Wow! I appreciate these comments. I have a Ford 2004 LX Focus. The transmission problems sound like this car. I would think that in 2012 all transmission problems would be fixed by now. This is the worse car I have ever owned!


I bought my 2012 Focus Hatchback Nov.2011. I am very disappointed with it. The mpg is a joke! I bought it because I wanted better mpg and ended up getting less than my 2008 Focus sedan. I had it at the dealership today to check out the water pooling problem in rear driver side door, and washer fluid streaming problem on rear window. I was told this is normal for this car. Really? I didnt think either issue was normal for a newer car..hmmm Does anyone else have this problem with their 2012 Focus? The ride is not very smooth and the take off can be jerky. Wish I had my 2008 back! I am very disappointed with this car and will not reccomend it to anyone!!!

J.D. Williams

Have a 2012 Focus and have had problems with transmission but can live with it since reprogrammed. Can't live with the fact that have been told there is a hole in the washer fluid reservoir and not covered under warrenty. $250 to order part plus labor. Funny thing is only hole we can find is the result of a split where the two parts are supposed to be fused together. No help from the dealer or Ford Customer service.


I have had my car in 5 times now, last time took it to different dealer and they reprogrammed transmission, finally someone admitted they had issues! It lasted 2 weeks and now its back to acting up again, I also get shitty gas mileage average 27-29 and I do mostly hwy driving, cant go by there little Gage its wrong have to calculate your self to get true mileage, hate the car biggest piece of crap ever gong to take it back again for the time and make them trade me out of it. Sad thing is is they lie when they sell you these cars!

Thanks for this straight forward review..

alan lee


My wife and I bought a new 2003 Escape from Metro Ford, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At approximately 75,000 km, the automatic transmission failed. I wrote Metro Ford, and Ford Motor of Canada a demand letter for compensation of the repair cost of the transmission, and I did not even receive a response from Ford Motor of Canada. Metro Ford also would not settle a out of court settlement, so I am now suing the company.

The benchmark for an automatic transmission to last is at 160,000 km. Remember the Pinto fiasco, I will never, ever, buy, a Ford again, and my life long mission is to tell people my displeasure with Ford. Great customer service from them!


i recently rented a '13 Fusion with the 2.0 & it did horrible on gas & the tranny wuz 'quirky' at best...but otherwise a nice auto, very good bass from the speakers(which is the 1st Ford that hasn't had a sucky stereo)


I have a2012 FordFocus. The Sync system has never worked correctly. worked with Ford rep. reprogrammed 3times. Still does not work right. Also have transmission problems with shuddering and almost stalls out on steep hills? Been reprogrammed several times with not appreciable improvements. DO NOT BUY! Ford just gives up and says live with it.


I have a 2012 Focus SE hatchback. I have 34,000 miles on the car and I am very pleased with it. No problems at all, the transmission is very smooth.

On trips I have gotten as high as 43 mpg.

The only issue i have with the car is the the tires. They are Continentals and are very noisey as they get warn down. I am replacing them with Bridgestones next week to correct that problem.


and dont forget the big noise in the front( under the car) is a big problem!! probably the dampers its a real big noise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Norris

You can find hundreds and hundreds of posts about this, from owners like yourself, at , just do a forum search for the word transmission.

You can also find many more at

and the

Ford has a focus FACEBOOK page, I have seen many people go there and request help. They just state by creating a post whats wrong, the dealer response and seek help.

There are ford customer svc reps there whom I have seen help these customers by escalating their case.

Jack Cortez

I'm driving a 2012 focus that I rented a week ago. I have been extremely annoyed with the transmission roll back. My wife doesn't like driving it because of that. It should be fixed by ford period. I don't know how you get 38mpg?!! Turn on the AC and you'd be lucky if you get 20mpg.


Have had a 2012 Ford Focus for 2.5 years , stick shift, no sync system good performance and MPG. Love that, but had a radiator change out recently (faulty), and about to have a heater core change out shortly, also faulty. All under warranty, for now.


I have a 2012 with a bad transmission from the beginning..."the computer adjusts to your style of driving" (36,000 miles on the car) and "transmission operates according to design". After clutch pack replacement, the car is still a lemon and unsafe. I bought an automatic transmission, which was printed on the dealer sticker. Get a lemon law lawyer; they are well prepared for this car and Ford.

Mary Venable

I purchased my 2012 Ford Focus SE brand new with only 4 miles on it. A week after I got it we had a hard rain. I brought into servicing and told him the seals around the back windows kept popping off and that the rain got in all 4 doors of my car, so badly that I had to vacuum it out and towel dry it. He fixed the window seals and then proceeded to talk to me like I was stupid. Said that he had one of his guys bring it through a carwash and absolutely no water got in it. I told him I know what I saw and had to do! He said there was nothing wrong with the door seals. Well I just paid off my car in full and a week later the air conditioner went out on it, when putting the air or heater on (I live in Louisiana, one day we are in the 70's, the next the 30's)... It makes a horrible loud grinding noise. Also dare I try to merge with traffic or onto the interstate, I will get smashed! The transmission sucks! It stutters and shakes so badly that I'm actually getting scared to drive it! I called and asked to bring it in, they said my warranty expired (3 days ago).... But I have the extra care package so they can look at my air conditioner, the transmission is on a recall so IF what is wrong falls under the recall they can fix it - and if not ???? Am I responsible for it???? Oh and I have multiple pictures of the water getting in through all four doors- the carpets soaked- so when I asked him if they could fix it or not-he says "Oh no, your warranty is expired and that doesn't fall under the extra care package." I'm like what the hell! I told him what happened when I brought it in before how they vehemently denied that water was getting in it and he says "We have no record of that complaint." REALLY?!?! Well I am going to try not to raise hell but if my air conditioner is not fixed and my transmission doesn't get fixed and they don't 'recall' that I had them look at the door seals WHILE IT WAS under warranty..... I'm getting a lawyer cause this car and the place I bought it from SUCK! 

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