The Ford Focus was a welcome addition to the Ford lineup. It was 2000 when North America got its first chance behind the wheel. You had your choice of a three-door hatchback, five-door wagon, four-door sedan, and in 2001, the five-door hatchback.
20 years later, the Ford Focus is still a great compact car at affordable price points. It may have retired in 2018, but many of these cars still grace the roadways today. But, there are a few model years of which you should be aware. One year, in particular, 2014, was the absolute worst year you could buy.
A few rough years that should concern you
When it comes to the data collected through CarComplaints.com, the Ford Focus seems to have a few turbulent years for owners. The 2012 model Focus has the most number of complaints overall. Owners of 2003 Ford Focus models logged the most common complaint, involving ignition problems and the key not turning.
However, aside from these years, none have been more problematic than the 2014 models. In fact, CarComplaints.com rates 2014 the worst model year of all.
Why 2014 is the absolute worst
Transmission troubles plagued owners of the 2014 Ford Focus the most, although 2012 and 2013 models were also affected. Most complaints cite severe hesitation and jerking when advancing from a stop.
These issues aren’t isolated, either. And more concerning was that the problems were surfacing, on average, around 15,000 miles. The average cost to repair the transmission problem is $1,500, and it’s not the only problem owners had with their 2014 Ford Focus cars. Others reported grinding noises around 7,000 miles that averaged $3,000 in diagnosis efforts and repair.
Ensuing lawsuits from angry owners
Ford Focus owners didn’t take the transmission failures lightly, and a flurry of class-action lawsuits began to surface. The law took their side in many cases, and the automaker’s problem with the PowerShift automatic transmission was so prevalent, complete vehicle buybacks were in order.
The transmission failure spanned across multiple model years, and those owners were eligible for cash compensation up to $250 or vehicle buybacks, to the tune of $22,000. The lawsuit suggests Ford engineers recognized the faulty design and chose to sell to the public anyway.
Those owners who qualified for settlements were determined based on having a minimum of three attempted repairs or mechanic visits. Affected vehicles included Ford Focus cars within the 2012 to 2016 model years.
Problematic Ford Focus models still on the road today
Some data suggests there could be 1.5 million Ford Focus models on the road today with poorly designed gearboxes. That points to a potential 2 million people who may still qualify for Ford compensation. The PowerShift transmission, presented as a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic, continues to shudder, hesitate, and wear prematurely.
What’s new for the Ford Focus in 2020?
Those problematic years of interior equipment and transmission failures are in the review mirror now for the Ford Focus. It may be coming out of retirement, with an entirely new image and performance platform.
Ford is expected to bring back the popular model, with better everything, including two engine options and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The technology suite is going to be robust in all trim levels, and the driver aids are coming too.
If you’ve found a used model Ford Focus, from 2012-2016, and especially 2014, buyer beware. These are the hearty and popular cars for the most part, but transmission issues can translate to serious repair costs.
Before you buy, inquire about past transmission repairs. You can also follow up to see if the vehicle qualifies for reimbursement from Ford as part of the lawsuit. Or, if you’re like us, you’ll want to wait and see what the latest Ford Focus has to offer.