2013 Ford Focus ST Long Term Road Test


2013 Ford Focus ST: Blamestorming The Poor MPG

April 4, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

You probably want to blame us, the Edmunds editors, for our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST's less-than-stellar fuel economy. Or maybe you think fault lies with the EPA's testing procedure. We've been averaging around 22 miles per gallon, which is below the EPA 23 mpg city rating, not to mention the 26 mpg combined rating.

Truth is, the blame lies solely with Ford. They're the ones who dropped such a fantastic turbo four-cylinder into the engine bay of the Focus ST. If a smile doesn't creep across your face every time you plow into the throttle, there's something wrong with you. Seriously, make an appointment to go see someone right now.

We're just not used to this much power and refinement (yeah, I'm looking at you Mazdaspeed3) in a hot hatch. The Focus ST's 252 horsepower comes on in such a smooth yet forceful manner that you continually find yourself laying into the throttle. Has a sporty note, too.

I try to use restraint. But it's just so darn hard when the car is this darn enjoyable.

Plus, it's a fantastic machine for squirting in and out of those precious few open lanes in our clogged SoCal traffic.

So don't blame us if we occasionally return some poor mpg numbers with the Focus ST. Blame Ford. Them and their silly-fun turbocharged engine.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,090 miles

Comments

  • zcalvert zcalvert Posts:

    My car (GTI) has a small, fun turbo engine too. Guess what? You can stay out of the boost and get great mileage (often beating the ratings), or you can have fun and watch the figures drop. I admit to more than my share of speeding, but I've never found it remotely difficult to also get good mileage with just the slightest amount of thought.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    When I had it, I beat the piss out of my Civic Si (think VTEC kicked in yo' at least 4 times every morning, evening and countless times on the weekend) and that thing still somehow managed to average about 30 mpg. I think I'd get around similar with the FRS/BRZ, but clearly, with turbocharged engines making significantly more average power over their rev range it's pretty difficult to manage good fuel economy when you're laying in the throttle (and it's too addictive not to!). I don't have many issues with your Focus, it's actually the Impreza I'm really disappointed about.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I don't blame you or Ford, I do blame the EPA and its completely unrealistic methods. The car was designed to be driven hard and hard driving is not condusive to good fuel economy. That said, I really wish you guys would take it on your fuel economy test loop. Drive it consistent with the glacial aceleration rate that the EPA uses, keep the highway speeds at 70 or under (I know, kind of dangerous in LA) and see what kind of mileage you get. So far I have yet to see any source get EPA level mileage out of an Ecoboost engine. I would like to know if you can actually do it. If not, then I will blame Ford AND the EPA.

  • huybui huybui Posts:

    my question is how all this turbo goodness holds up to desert heat? with summer coming up, it'd be nice to see how it and the AC performs. biggest failing i have seen in most vehicles is their inability to cope with 115 degree temps.

  • rjett rjett Posts:

    @bankerdanny I was just going to type the same thing. I would love to see Edmunds take this car out on a 'normal' fuel economy test. I completely understand the urge to drive the car the way it was meant to be driven. I just want to know how well it CAN d

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    There is a lot of info out there from actual owners...in mixed driving it gets around 25, at a steady 65 it gets 32 or 33 and at a steady 75 it gets around 30. Edmunds took this car on a highway trip once and it got 30.2. My 2011 GTI is maybe a tiny, tiny bit better. The way they get good EPA numbers is easy...they make BIG torque at low rpm, and can meet the required acceleration rates for the cycle they're testing for with ridiculously tiny throttle openings, shifting at very low engine speeds. zcalvert is right - with an engine like this, YOU CHOOSE the mileage. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    The nice thing about some of these new turbo motors is that you can drive it like it has V8 power (Mustang GT ten years ago had 260 hp) and get the V8 fuel economy that comes with it, or you can drive it like the 2.0L that it is and get 2.0L fuel economy. The EPA numbers for engines like this are misleading because, like fordson1 says, the acceleration rates are too low to get into any of that fuel-swilling boost. So when you drive it like it has a V8, you shouldn't be surprised when it returns fuel economy like a V8.

  • kiotae kiotae Posts:

    To give perspective on what can happen when you try. Driving from Louisville to Charlottesville this winter (WVa mountains) on 64, I averaged 32.5mpg at 70mph on 87 octane. Around town in Charlottesville I manage anywhere between 23-27. On a slow, puttering, (yes it was hard to do) drive on country roads one day, I averaged 36.5. These number are all calculated at the pump. I've also ended up with 20mpg runs because I was having fun. How you drive it makes a huge difference in this car.

  • usa1fan_ usa1fan_ Posts:

    If I can get over 30 in the heavier, less aerodynamic (but still fun) AWD Escape 2.0l, this should be a piece of cake. My normal results are between 23 and 26, not going out of my way for fuel economy, but not driving too hard either. This is rural and I 81 in Western VA. The 30.3 best ever was really working hard, driving like my granddad used to, but in some so-so weather conditions and temperatures. Our local Ford dealer has a few STs in stock, one a black one with ST3 equipment, and I practically slobber when I'm waiting for the Escape to get an oil change. Of course, that also add almost 2k for a "market adjustment," and until that goes away (and I make more money), I won't have one.

  • sleepyjay sleepyjay Posts:

    I finally made it through four round-trips to work (around 170 miles) of driving the ST like a normal Focus and it is possible to get 33 MPG from this car. Of course it was no easy task to restrain myself and on day five, all bets were off (I'm back to sub 27 MPG now). But, I have proven it can be done!

  • jconwell821 jconwell821 Posts:

    Having owned the ST for almost a year now I can tell that with a light 93 octane tune I can cruise with the following average MPG @ 50-60 MPH 35+ MPG (highest was 38 over 2 hours) @ 70-75 MPH 29-30 MPG @ 80 MPH 26-28 MPG (drafted a SUV once and got 31 MPG over a 40 minute highway stint) Your lower numbers are probably from 91 Octane with a higher ethanol mixture. I have noticed a slight difference with 5% and 10% mixes. Also, the car has a huge deviation in MPG until the oil temp warms up. Short frequent trips without the oil warming up will leave you much lower, mine gets 26 MPG on a 10 minute highway trip with a cold engine.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Ford Focus ST in VA is:

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