Since its debut in 1998, the Ford Focus continues to receive a lot of attention and praise for its consistency in handling and practicality for fuel efficiency. While an incredibly popular car, though, there are common problems reported by owners, inviting questions and concerns over Ford Focus reliability.

What Should You Know About Ford Focus Reliability?

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hatchback that is still sporty and fun to drive, the Ford Focus might sound like a good option. But even with all the hype, it’s important to ask is a Ford Focus a good car? Though its debut marked it as a solid and reliable choice for practical buyers, the Ford Focus now has a reputation for being one of the least reliable cars in the industry.

The J.D. Power rating for quality and reliability for the Ford Focus is 76 out of 100, ranking lower than its competition in the compact car field. The score evaluated the Ford Focus in areas of malfunctions, defects and design flaws experienced and reported by vehicle owners.

Customer complaints were just the start of a downhill slide for the Ford Focus. Ford has issued several recalls on various models of the car for a range of issues:

  • Varying 2012-2015 models for door latch failures
  • Certain 2012 and 2017 models for canister purge valve malfunctions
  • Certain 2016-2018 vehicles for clutch fracture and damage to the transmission
  • Various years and models for safety issues that fail to meet Federal safety standards

Recalls are a concern for any manufacturer, but Ford has seen its share of trouble with the Ford Focus. There are at least 36 separate recalls that could affect the vehicle, with millions of cars recalled.

Transmission Concerns

One of the leading problems found with Ford Focus reliability is a defective PowerShift transmission. Drivers may notice difficulty stopping the vehicle or a delay in acceleration. Other reports include the car:

  • Jerking
  • Slipping
  • Shuddering
  • Bucking
  • Having difficulty changing gears
  • Delaying when shifting
  • Wearing out prematurely

While multiple recalls attempted to fix these issues with clutch replacements, many vehicle owners reported continued trouble. Ford issued an internal announcement that there was no viable solution to the defect. It’s now the defendant in a class action lawsuit over the vehicle. Extended vehicle protection plans are one option for vehicle owners continually facing repairs over this issue.

How Many Miles Does a Ford Focus Last?

Focus owners report their vehicles lasting between 200,000 to 250,000 miles, but this longevity depends on proper maintenance. Without taking good care, owners may only get  50,000 to 150,000 miles out of the vehicle.

Which Years of the Ford Focus Are the Most Reliable?

A reliable Ford Focus

There are several years of production where Ford Focus reliability gets higher scores.

2007 and 2009 Ford Focus

While the early models of the Ford Focus don’t have the latest in technology or advanced features included in newer models, these year models earn the highest marks for reliability and durability. As a dependable choice, both the 2007 and 2009 models earned a perfect score from J.D. Power for predicted reliability. Consumer Reports also gave these years an above-average rating and indicated few reported problems by vehicle owners.

2018 Ford Focus

This model year earned a reliability score of four out of five from J.D. Power, which is an above-average score compared to the vehicles in the compact car class. Consumer Reports gave it the same ranking and noted that it was a model with fewer reported problems than previous models.

Consumers ranked this model highly as well, earning it a 4.1 out of 5 from 2018 Focus owners. Responsive steering and exceptional fuel economy were common praises for the model. As it was the last model produced before Ford discontinued the line, many believe this is the best year Ford Focus to own.

What Are Ford Focus Years To Avoid?

A Ford Focus with reliability issues.

Some Focus model years have more issues than others, and those from 2001-2003 and 2012-2013 are cars to avoid if you are in the market for a used vehicle. Many of these models are at the center of multiple recalls and legal action.

2013 Ford Focus

Severe issues with the dual-clutch automatic transmission led to poor reliability ratings across the board with the 2013 model. In J.D. Power’s dependability ranking, the 2013 model was 28th out of the class of 32 vehicles. Consumer Reports rated its reliability as having a high likelihood of problems.

2012 Ford Focus

2012 is another year plagued by numerous problems and a dismal Ford Focus reliability rating, Consumer Reports gave it a one out of five in reliability. Owners reported serious issues with the electrical and fuel systems, as well as transmission and engine failure. This year model had over 1.5 million recalls after it hit the market.

2001-2003 Ford Focus

Annual reliability studies and surveys with J.D. Power and Consumer Reports led to below-average rankings against other compact cars on the market for the Focus from 2001-2003. Consumers experience electrical issues, transmission issues, brake failure and suspension trouble. Recalls were issued for a faulty headlight switch that could lead to a fire.

Is the Ford Focus a Long-Lasting Car?

The average car should last 200,000 miles, and the average Ford owner keeps their vehicle for 8.3 years. The Ford Focus meets this standard, even with reliability concerns across several model years. Proper maintenance is important to the longevity of any vehicle.

Take Care of Your Ford Focus Reliability Concerns With Extended Protection

The numerous documented issues with the Ford Focus haven’t deterred many from purchasing these vehicles when looking at a used vehicle. Despite considerable challenges with the transmission and other engine components, there are few complaints about the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. To take advantage of this benefit without worrying about the financial cost of repairs for the rest of the car, consider a vehicle protection plan from autopom!

We can help take care of the stress that comes from worrying about your Ford Focus reliability. Our plans cover mechanical and electrical breakdowns. Contact us today for a quote on financial peace of mind with your vehicle.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc