Avoid the Ford Focus When Shopping for a Used Car

When shoppers are looking for a used car or hatchback, they will come across some great-looking used Ford Focus models. And while those models, depending on the model year, can look like a great deal, the more research is done, the less attractive they look. Despite the popularity of the new models, it suffered significant issues that created big questions about its used status.

Drivers and critics found reasons to love this compact car and hatchback when it was new. The long list of recurring issues and problems make a used model a less-than-ideal option. As a result of a long list of issues and concerns, a used model is not recommended.

What problems did the Ford Focus have?

A 2016 Ford Focus SE in grey driving down a city steet basked in sunlight
2016 Ford Focus SE | Ford

Throughout its lifetime, the Ford Focus suffered from a myriad of problems. One of the biggest problems that plagued this compact car during its most recent generation was the transmission. The PowerShift automatic transmission seemed like a great innovation, but combining a dual-clutch transmission and a dry-clutch system caused issues. 2011-2016 models suffered the most with hesitation when shifting, clutch failure, stalling when in drive, and loss of power when accelerating. These transmission issues cost Ford some money due to a class-action lawsuit

While the transmission issue was undoubtedly the most prominent issue plaguing the car, models from 2012 to 2018 also suffered from exhaust and fuel system issues. Millions of models were recalled because of a faulty purge valve in the exhaust system. This could cause power loss, incorrect fuel gauges, and the car not restarting after stalling.

Another big issue was that the 2012 model year suffered from steering issues. Many drivers reported that the electronic steering system would randomly fail while driving, putting drivers at a higher risk of accidents. Additionally, when the system stopped working, the steering wheel could lock up entirely after starting the vehicle.

When did Ford stop making the Ford Focus?

A blue 2018 Ford Focus Titanium parked in a city center
2018 Ford Focus Titanium | Ford

In April 2018, Ford decided to nix all sedans in the U.S. market, including the long-running Ford Focus. For many, that news was unsurprising because of the numerous issues found. But, it did undeniably leave a hole in a competitive segment.

The Ford Focus is still available in Europe, and it is a completely different model than the U.S. ever got. With entirely different styling, several different engines, and a bevy of other features, the European version is more like a distant cousin.

Is a used Ford Focus worth buying?

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Many drivers would consider one of these models on the used market despite all of that. There are plenty of used models available, and many seem nicely equipped. But, if you’d instead not be without a car sitting for many days waiting for repairs, or you would not want to risk running into much more significant issues, you should avoid the sedan or hatchback.

Consumer Reports does not recommend that any shopper looks at a used Ford Focus model because of the low-reliability scores found throughout many model years. Even models, such as the 2018 model year that did not have as many widespread issues still hold low scores for the overall quality. 

If you are adamant about choosing a Ford Focus, consider the Ford Focus ST, which avoids many of the headaches suffered by the other models. But, you should still be wary and do your research before purchasing. 

The market for a used car or hatchback is incredibly competitive. If you are looking for something in this price range and size, you should consider models like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, or Subaru Impreza.

A 2016 Ford Focus Titanium drives down a city street
2016 Ford Focus Titanium | Focus

RELATED: The Ford Focus Is the Worst Used Ford Vehicle You Should Never Buy