The Best and Worst Ford Focus Years & Generations

Published 25-05-2023 Jay

The Best and Worst Ford Focus Years & Generations


As one of the most recognizable models in Ford's lineup, the Ford Focus has established its reputation as a reliable, affordable, and versatile compact car. Introduced in 1998 as a replacement for the Ford Escort, the Focus has been a sales success globally, offering a blend of performance, comfort, and fuel efficiency. However, not all model years of the Focus are equal. This article will delve into the best and worst years of the Ford Focus from 2000 onward, examining each generation in detail.

First Generation: 2000-2007

The first generation Ford Focus was largely well-received for its fresh design and fun driving dynamics. The 2000-2001 models were praised for their affordability and performance. However, they were plagued with recalls related to the wiring, wheels, and fuel system.

Ford improved the Focus significantly by 2005, addressing the earlier models' reliability issues. The 2005-2007 models stood out for their reliability, fuel efficiency, and improved safety features, with the 2007 model, in particular, having a lower incidence of significant issues.

Check also: Ford Focus I fuse box diagram

Second Generation: 2008-2011

The second-generation Ford Focus was a step down from the first generation in many aspects, particularly in design and interior quality. The 2008 and 2009 models were noted for their lack of refinement and had several recalls related to the airbags and powertrain.

However, the 2010 and 2011 models showed improvements, with fewer recalls and complaints. The introduction of the Focus RS in 2009 was a highlight, offering high performance and aggressive styling.

Check also: Ford Focus II fuse box diagram

Third Generation: 2012-2018

The third-generation Focus marked a return to form for Ford. The 2012 model year brought a complete redesign, elevating Focus's quality, performance, and tech features. However, this model year was also the introduction of the problematic PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission, which led to a multitude of complaints and lawsuits over its operation.

Check also: Ford Focus III (2011-2021) fuse box diagram

Despite the transmission issues, the 2015-2017 models stood out for their strong engine performance, interior quality, and advanced safety features. The Focus ST and RS models from these years have been praised for their sporty performance and handling. However, it's advisable to avoid the 2012-2014 and 2016-2018 models equipped with automatic transmission due to the aforementioned issues.

Fourth Generation: 2019-Present

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the fourth-generation Ford Focus has not been released in the United States, as Ford decided to concentrate on SUVs, trucks, and the Mustang in this market. However, in Europe and other markets where the Focus remains available, it continues to be a strong contender in the compact car segment. Initial reports praise the car's ride quality, tech features, and the introduction of mild-hybrid powertrain options. It's too early to definitively evaluate its reliability, but the early indications are promising.


The Ford Focus's history is a story of highs and lows. Despite a rough start with the first generation and significant transmission issues in the third, the model has demonstrated Ford's ability to learn from its mistakes and improve over time. In general, the 2005-2007, 2010-2011, and 2015-2017 model years stand out as particularly strong entries, while the 2000-2001, 2008-2009, and 2012-2014 models are best avoided due to various recalls and reliability concerns.

The Focus continues to evolve, embracing new technologies and trends while staying true to its roots as a compact and efficient vehicle. Its journey over the years has showcased both the challenges and triumphs of automotive engineering, producing memorable models that have left their mark on the industry.

The Focus remains a strong choice for those seeking a compact car that balances performance, comfort, and efficiency. As Ford continues to innovate and improve, it will be interesting to see how the Focus adapts and evolves in the future. One thing is certain: the Focus continues to be a significant part of Ford's lineage, a testament to the company's resilience and commitment to meeting the ever-changing needs of its global customer base.

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