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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Nov. 6, 2023

Older Ford Focus (2013) Pros And Cons, Reliability, Mechanical Watchlist

Related: How To Get The Best Deal On A "Brand New" Ford

With extremely high new and used car prices, many carbuyers are looking for "older" vehicles as a way to save some significant dollars. And due to the overall popularity of the Ford Focus, the 2013 model has been getting a second look by many buyers. But, of course, now reliability becomes a key issue.

2013 Ford Focus ST Hatchback

The 2013 Focus has been associated with several mechanical issues, with one of the most notable problems being related to its PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission. More on this and other potential mechanical problems below.

Following the total redesign in 2012, the Focus became an extremely popular choice in the small car segment. It was an impressive package offering sleek exterior styling, engaging road manners, and a surprisingly upscale cabin for the price. Being available in a hatchback body style added to its appeal.

So here, we'll cover this older Focus' pros and cons along with specific mechanical issues to keep in mind and also have checked before purchase.

But first, and very importantly for older cars ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Focus

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: Please always get online price quotes at auto sites such as and (both, actually), whether looking for a new or used car. Competition among dealers for your business does amazing things to prices, and it's so easy. It really does make a difference.

2013 Ford Focus Pros

Athletic handling: The 2013 Focus is a capable and nimble handler. In fact, it's quite European in its overall feel and performance on the road, tuned with a nice balance between sharp handling and a refined ride quality.

The electrically assisted steering is precise and responsive, while there is also brisk acceleration and very little body roll when cornering. It's clearly a car with an engaging and "fun-to-drive" personality.

Under the hood of all but the performance-oriented ST model is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a lively 160-horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Also available is the Titanium Handling package which adds an upgraded sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels.

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In independent performance tests, an automatic Focus Titanium was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, on the faster side for this segment. And this time gets trimmed to 8.3 seconds with the manual transmission. (The ST does this same sprint even faster - see below.)

Refined drive: The Focus also offers a quiet and refined ride. Its very capable suspension balances the car's inherent athleticism with a smooth and solid-feeling highway performance as well. With the Focus's European roots, its overall driving performance is actually along the lines of an Audi or BMW.

ST model: The high-performance 2013 ST model is downright dynamic. Under its hood is a powerful 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged engine (Ecoboost) that pumps out an impressive 252-horsepower and 70-pound-feet of torque. Outfitted with a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission, this particularly athletic handling Focus can zoom to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds.

Good gas mileage: Even with its above-averagel handling prowess, the new Focus still offers very good fuel economy. The EPA estimates the gas mileage for an automatic at 28 mpg city and 38 mpg on the highway, while the manual comes in at 26 and 36, respectively. Opting for the optional Super Fuel Economy package boosts those numbers to 28 city and 40 highway.

Even the high-powered Focus ST gets a rating of 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, making it one of the best among suped up hatchbacks.

In terms of the Focus Electric, the EPA gives it an energy efficiency equivalent rating (MPGe) of 110 mpg city and 99 mpg highway, slightly besting the Nissan Leaf. However, it should be noted that actual results could be impacted by one's own environment and driving style.

2013 Ford Focus Titanium Sedan interior

Upscale interior: The cabin is attractively designed and well-built with best-in-class materials. The overall look and feel is much more expensive looking than one would expect in this price range.

High-tech goodies: There is a long list of available upscale and high-tech features not typically offered in this segment that set the Focus apart from the competition. Examples range from an automated parallel parking system to a rearview camera to the Sync voice controlled "infotainment" system to HD radio to the MyFord Touch configurable control screens.

The Focus Electric (BEV): The Focus Electric is 100% battery-powered and competes with the Nissan's Leaf. It's powered by a 107-kilowatt electric drive motor that produces 143-horsepower and is fueled by a 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

2013 Ford Focus Cons

Rear legroom: While the front seats are supportive and comfortable, even on long trips, the rear seats provide enough headroom but slightly lack the legroom provided by some of its larger rivals.

Automatic transmission hesitation: The 6-speed automatic transmission is technically a dual-clutch automated manual they call "Powershift". As such, it is different from a traditional automatic and can sometimes slightly roll back on inclines or hesitate when edging forward when parking.

It's kind of a momentary disengagement that feels like the car has been shifted into neutral for a second. This is a slight downside as, overall, this transmission is excellent and provides brisk acceleration and excellent fuel economy.

Complicated high-tech features: The Sync infotainment system, while impressively useful and convenient, takes some practice and getting used to. There is a learning curve on its user-friendliness and the control and gauge layout is a bit complicated.

The MyFord Touch system also provides some cool customization capabilities, but also takes some time to master as its virtual buttons can be hard to quickly identify and can also be easily pressed by accident.


The compact sedan/hatchback niche is crowded with worthy competitors. Yet at the time, the 2013 Focus stood out for it highly refined nature, fun-to-drive personality, excellent gas mileage and, perhaps most impressive of all, the looks, features and performance of a more expensive car.

Even so, it's always a good idea to check out other top rivals before making a final buying decision as they all have their own individual pros and cons. Those worth a look would likely include the Chevy Cruze, the Honda Civic ,the Hyundai Elantra, the Mazda 3 and the Volkswagen Jetta.

2013 Ford Focus Mechanical Problem Watchlist:

The 2013 Focus has gotten mixed reviews from owners over the years, putting it in the middle of the pack in its class. While many owners have had positive long-term experiences with proper maintenance, others have reported more frequent repairs including some that are more serious and expensive.

More Car Buying Tips:

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It should also be noted that the reliability of a specific vehicle can vary significantly depending on various factors, including its maintenance history, how well it has been cared for, mileage, and driving conditions. Some potential mechanical problems can be mitigated with proper maintenance and timely repairs.

Here are some of the mechanical issues that have been reported and should be checked for prior to purchase:

PowerShift Transmission Issues:: The PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission has been a source of significant concern for many 2013 Focus owners. Common problems include rough shifting, transmission slipping, hesitation, and shuddering during acceleration. These issues can result in a less-than-smooth driving experience and potential repair costs.

Clutch and Seal Leaks:: Some owners have reported issues with clutch and seal leaks in the PowerShift transmission, leading to fluid leaks and, in some cases, transmission failure. These repairs can be costly.

Electrical and Software Issues:: Some owners have experienced problems related to the car's electrical system and software. These issues can lead to malfunctions in various components, including the MyFord Touch infotainment system and electronic controls.

Suspension and Steering Components:: There have been occasional reports of suspension and steering components, such as control arms and steering knuckles, needing replacement due to wear or damage.

Cooling System Problems: A few owners have reported cooling system issues, including leaks in the radiator and overheating problems.

Air Conditioning Problems:: Some owners have experienced issues with the air conditioning system not functioning correctly, leading to inadequate cooling.

Again, itt's important to note that not all 2013 Ford Focus vehicles have experienced these issues, and many owners have had reliable experiences with their cars. Ford addressed some of these problems through recalls and extended warranties for certain transmission-related repairs. When considering a used 2013 Focus, it's crucial to research the specific vehicle's maintenance and repair history.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In!

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. They really focus in on the detail of the specific vehicle.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting The Lowest Focus Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" car if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.

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Other Older Models Of Possible Interest:
Older Used Ford Focus
2013 Ford Escape
2013 Ford Mustang
2012 Ford Mustang
2012 Ford Fusion
2013 Ford F-150 2013 Ford Explorer
2012 Ford Escape
Older Used Ford Mustang
Older Used Ford Taurus
Older Used Ford Fusion