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Hello everyone,

I'm in the market for a used car lately and I've been looking for a hatch that hits a sweet spot between fun and practically. Test driving a few 2012 Focus' was a real love at first drive experience in this regard!

On the surface, this car got pretty glowing reviews (for good reason), thankfully I've gone a bit deeper and come across this forum in my research. Now I'm aware of the many issues with the DC trans in these cars. This obviously gives me pause on a car that I really wanted to go for.

So - I'm asking for the advice of the community - how much of a gamble is picking up the DCT 2012 Focus? As people have racked up miles, do these issues inevitably hit, or is it a random subset? Has the extended warranty / technical service bulletin resolved some of these issues and made it easier to get them serviced? Would such a warranty even matter to a used car buyer like myself?

I'll also take any thoughts on opting for the manual instead. I have never driven manual, but I've always flirted with the idea of learning. How has the reliability been in this version of the car?
 

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I'll also take any thoughts on opting for the manual instead. I have never driven manual, but I've always flirted with the idea of learning. How has the reliability been in this version of the car?
I had a 2012 DCT before I bought my 2013 with a 5 speed manual. The DCT exhibited all the problems that are mentioned in the forum. It shuddered and it had a transmission control module failure that scared me to death. I got rid of it and bought the 5 speed MTX-75. It is rock solid. That manual transmission has been around for many years and has a solid track record. It is also a blast to drive.

One thing I will mention is that you should take a close look at brand new cars before you buy used. Ford has some really good incentives on the Focus at the end of the year and dealers are anxious to unload 2014s as the new 2015 will be rolling into showrooms soon.
 

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My wife is not fond of 5sp cars, and she found my Focus very easy to get in and drive - if you've thought about getting a manual trans car, test drive one.

I'm very happy with mine, no issues at all, 50k miles.
 

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I have the 5 speed as well. There's no craziness with the shifting. It's very straight forward, super easy. I taught my wife to drive a MT in an afternoon with only one stall out in it.
 

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Hello everyone,

I'm in the market for a used car lately and I've been looking for a hatch that hits a sweet spot between fun and practically. Test driving a few 2012 Focus' was a real love at first drive experience in this regard!

On the surface, this car got pretty glowing reviews (for good reason), thankfully I've gone a bit deeper and come across this forum in my research. Now I'm aware of the many issues with the DC trans in these cars. This obviously gives me pause on a car that I really wanted to go for.

So - I'm asking for the advice of the community - how much of a gamble is picking up the DCT 2012 Focus? As people have racked up miles, do these issues inevitably hit, or is it a random subset? Has the extended warranty / technical service bulletin resolved some of these issues and made it easier to get them serviced? Would such a warranty even matter to a used car buyer like myself?

I'll also take any thoughts on opting for the manual instead. I have never driven manual, but I've always flirted with the idea of learning. How has the reliability been in this version of the car?
I would opt for th manual, about which I have heard nothing but good observations.
 

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My advice, don't take advise from a forum. We are all sincere people but are sharing our own individual experiences that may or may not be indicative of actual problems across the brand or model. Yes, read what you can, understand what potential issues and perks a car has, and talk with the service department where you are buying from and see what they think and have seen. At the end, make an informed decision that allows you to be happy with what you decided. If you have any reservations on a purchase, do not make it. I have found that when one has doubts on anything, they will look for trouble. When trouble arrises, they then over think it, make it worse and proceed to find fault in everything about it rather than calmly work out a solution and correct the problem. If you like a car, most likely it will work fine and any issues will be minor irritations and not major PIA's If you expect trouble any small infraction will be blown up to major PIAs and cause you un needed grief.
Having said all that, my 2012 was a great car and worked flawlessly. ( I traded it for a better equipped Electric Focus, All the fun of an ICE Focus without the gas! ) I would buy another one without reservation if I were in the market again.
 

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I bought an early build 2012 Focus and have had it now for 3 plus years. Its a great car but the 2012 model year was the first generation of the MK3 Focus. As such, there was a high number of complaints regarding the DCT. If you find one without any issues, you should enjoy the driving experience. If you can find one with the Sport Package, you will enjoy it even more.

Good Luck
 

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I'll say avoid the DCT if possible

5 spd is a sure bet!
 

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5 speed all day. I've had mine for 45,000 miles, bought brand new, and there hasn't been a thought in my mind to get rid of it for something else (aside from an ST).
 

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Yes, the 2012 Focus DCT has generated quite a few customer complaints. I think these complaints fall into three buckets:

1) Even when functioning as designed, it doesn't work like a traditional automatic. For example, you can feel the clutch engage at launch, low speed on/off throttle can generate "trailer-hitching" and the lack of a torque converter can lead to bogging when a good amount of throttle is applied at low revs. As DCTs and manuals are rare here, owners that didn't expect something different were unhappy.

2) There were real problems with clutch materials, leaking seals and programming. These did lead to all kinds of drivability problems (shaking, shuddering, clutch chatter, etc.). These seem to have been pretty well addressed by Ford with new clutches and seals. Plus most Focuses were given an extended warranty on clutches, seals and programming should these problems occur. And the warranty is not just for the original owner.

3) Then there are those that have problems that seem to defy resolution. This seems a very small subset, but it does exist. Whether this results from an unidentified defect, driving style, dealer service department incompetence or owner crankiness is open to debate.

So, don't exclude the Focus from consideration. But test drive the heck out of it in every condition you expect to encounter. If you get shudder, or other bad behavior, or you just don't like it, look elsewhere. If the dealer says it's normal, don't necessarily believe them. If they say they'll fix it after your buy it, run away. Good luck! The Focus is a terrific car, but you're right to be attentive to the DCT issue.
 

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I'm still new to the focus community. I bought my certified pre-owned focus on November 1st, completely unaware of the potential problems with the DCT. I'm not a technician, I consider myself a shade tree mechanic, but open to find out how something works and always looking to expand my knowledge of the evolution in technology with cars and trucks, from an enthusiast perspective. With that said, after owning for almost 2 months I feel that my input may be helpful. I have owned a 2008 jetta with a 2.0 turbo and DSG (DCT). Very fun car but fairly expensive to maintain. The transmission seemed to work flawlessly, shifted smooth, so I thought. My dislike was it had to be serviced every 50,000 miles at nearly $400 for just the transmission service. Why service a manual transmission that often? Because of wet clutches. Since I wasn't happy with the car for numerous reasons, I traded in for a Fusion. Enough of that, back on topic.

I have always liked the Ford Focus, have always been a Ford man. Comparing this Focus to the Jetta I mentioned earlier. I prefer the Focus, hands down. It may not be as powerful, but it feels more comfortable, maintenance is cheaper, the DCT in the focus shifts 10 times smoother, the only dislike with the transmission is the delay in shifting when using sport mode. But understanding what has to happen to make the gear change possible, it doesn't bother me knowing that its an actual manual transmission, but automated. It seems that with volkswagen's DSG, after researching it, is nothing more than a glorified automatic with a fancy valve body.

I think the shuddering we have all experienced , some far worse than others is programming with the clutch engagements. My opinion anyway. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Great feedback already (as soon it was moved to this sub-forum). Big thanks to everyone who has chimed in and to the mod who moved it here!

At this point I'm thinking a used DCT Focus could still be an option, just under fairly stringent conditions. I'd want ample test driving to observe any shudder and I'd need to feel total comfort with the dealer. Definitely throwing specific questions about the transmission and its issues/quirks and what their service approach is to it, especially in regard to the extended 100,000 mile warranty. If they downplay or show ignorance of the issue, they won't get my business.

On the manual side, I spent about an hour driving my friends manual Mini Cooper yesterday. I'm 30 and its my first time ever driving a manual car. Only killed the car 3 times! Its an interesting experience and I could see how the extra control might be fun after I get to the other side of the learning curve. It is a lot more to think about though and would be kind of mentally taxing during the learning process. My left foot is not yet cool with the idea of being anything but an afterthought in the driving experience.

I'm glad to hear the manual trans is rock solid in the Focus, definitely going to consider it as I get more manual driving practice in with my friend.
 

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I know a lot of people will prefer a manual, I actually prefer a manual. One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is that my DCT does not like stop and go traffic. Thankfully we don't have much of that where I live. The way I see it, something has to suffer from that, whether it be your clutch leg, in the DCT's case, the clutch or electronics that control the transmission or the torque converter on a traditional automatic. I strongly believe that with some more research and development from Ford, along with work from the engineers that this could be a superb transmission. But I don't think it will happen without the needed feedback from the consumers. I know it can be frustrating having to deal with the dealership when we have issues, but I feel its the only way problems will get solved.
 

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Great feedback already (as soon it was moved to this sub-forum). Big thanks to everyone who has chimed in and to the mod who moved it here!

At this point I'm thinking a used DCT Focus could still be an option, just under fairly stringent conditions. I'd want ample test driving to observe any shudder and I'd need to feel total comfort with the dealer. Definitely throwing specific questions about the transmission and its issues/quirks and what their service approach is to it, especially in regard to the extended 100,000 mile warranty. If they downplay or show ignorance of the issue, they won't get my business.

On the manual side, I spent about an hour driving my friends manual Mini Cooper yesterday. I'm 30 and its my first time ever driving a manual car. Only killed the car 3 times! Its an interesting experience and I could see how the extra control might be fun after I get to the other side of the learning curve. It is a lot more to think about though and would be kind of mentally taxing during the learning process. My left foot is not yet cool with the idea of being anything but an afterthought in the driving experience.

I'm glad to hear the manual trans is rock solid in the Focus, definitely going to consider it as I get more manual driving practice in with my friend.
Just a word of warning from someone that had several issues with their DCT transmission. Just because it works perfectly today, doesn't mean it will work perfectly tomorrow. So even with an extended test drive, you might have issues a week, month or year down the road.

My car (I no longer have it) would always drive perfectly until fully warmed up. In fact, on a cold day, it barely displayed any issues. But on a hot day it was a completely different animal.

Keep in mind I've had a very negative experience so I'm quite jaded. I just know on a cold day if you drove my car for less then 30-40 minutes it would be 99% fine.
 

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Just a word of warning from someone that had several issues with their DCT transmission. Just because it works perfectly today, doesn't mean it will work perfectly tomorrow. So even with an extended test drive, you might have issues a week, month or year down the road.

My car (I no longer have it) would always drive perfectly until fully warmed up. In fact, on a cold day, it barely displayed any issues. But on a hot day it was a completely different animal.

Keep in mind I've had a very negative experience so I'm quite jaded. I just know on a cold day if you drove my car for less then 30-40 minutes it would be 99% fine.
Your case was an extreme case tho... not all DCT are the same as yours!
 

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Your case was an extreme case tho... not all DCT are the same as yours!
Yes, absolutely correct. I've driven at least a dozen different Focus' (dealer loaners mostly) with the DCT and mine was special. I can only recall two of them being at all hard shifting or having a "shudder". And even then, not nearly as bad as mine (you could live with it).

I'd suggest an extended test drive with lots of stop and go driving to anyone looking at a used DCT Focus.
 

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My opinion? Get a manual or avoid the (2012 to mid-2014) Focus. If you'd like a more in-depth explanation, feel free to send me a PM! [wiggle]
 

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My opinion? Get a manual or avoid the (2012 to mid-2014) Focus. If you'd like a more in-depth explanation, feel free to send me a PM! [wiggle]
No need in-depth explanation...

More used DCT focus on the markets mean people mostly trade-in their recent focus for another car! (Hint: people don't trade-in recent car unless they are pi** off about it... they know they will loose money)

Good cars don't end up in used cars lot (except for rentals/fleet/defaulted cars that's another story).

Good cars don't depreciated that fast. (Quick depreciation worked for me when I purchased my 2012 used 5spd Focus)


IMO Focus is a great car but not for the DCT version.
 
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