If you’re in the market for a good value family runabout, you’ve probably found yourself browsing the Ford range. Specifically, the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus.
We’re talking about two very popular models. Until recently, when SUVs started dominating the market, the Fiesta was one of the best-selling cars in the UK. The Focus also continues to win favour with family buyers.
But which will be the best suited to your needs? This article will walk you through the key differences between these two cars to help you decide.
Both models have recently received a facelift to keep them looking fresh and upmarket. The smaller Fiesta gets a wide front grille and some sleek LED headlamps. It’s around 300mm shorter and 30mm narrower than the focus, making it easier to manoeuvre in town.
The Focus is the more grown-up looking of the two cars, and not just because of its larger size. The pointy LED headlamps and deeper front bumper lend it a more sporty appearance, and the wide grille changes as you move up the range.
The Fiesta comes with 15-inch steel wheels on the basic Trend model, you’ll have to step up to the Titanium X model if you want alloys. The Focus gets alloy wheels on all but the entry level model.
Really, choosing between these cars based on looks will come down to your personal preference, however the Focus is better proportioned than the Fiesta and is therefore the more traditionally handsome of the two.
Interior and tech
The fiesta and Focus share a similar interior design. Both look smart enough, if a little dated at this point. The Fiesta does still retain physical climate buttons, which are easier to use than the touchscreen controls you now get in the Focus.
Material quality is decent across both cars, however the Focus does feel that little more plush than the cheaper Fiesta.
An eight-inch touchscreen comes as standard in either car, and they both have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the Focus gets a much more impressive 13.2-inch touchscreen on all but the basic model.
The Focus also has heated seats and a heated steering wheel from mid-spec and up, as does the Fiesta. Realistically, both cars are well equipped as long as you avoid the basic Trend models.
Space and practicality
If interior space is your number one priority, you’ll need to go for the Ford Focus. Being the bigger car here, it offers more head and legroom than the Fiesta, and it’s only offered in practical five-door guise.
The Focus also offers 375-litres of boot space, compared to 292-litres in the Fiesta. That said, a Volkswagen Golf is more practical still with 380-litres of space.
The Ford Fiesta does have a decent amount of cubby holes for your bits and pieces, and space is OK for a car of its size. However, it’s outdone in the practicality stakes by alternatives such as the Skoda Fabia and Dacia Sandero.
The basic Ford Fiesta gets a 1.1-litre petrol engine with 75hp. This engine may be suited to younger drivers, however it is fairly gutless. All other models are available with the excellent 1.0-litre turbocharged unit.
This is offered with 100hp, or 125hp in mild hybrid form. Either option feels peppy and has enough power to tackle motorway journeys comfortably. 1.0-litre cars get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, which is excellent to use, or you can have a seven-speed automatic. The 1.1-litre car gets a five-speed manual only.
The Focus is offered with a similar range of engines, except it does without the 1.1-litre entry level unit. The 1.0-litre turbo petrol is also boosted to 125hp as standard.
You can also have a 1.0-litre mild hybrid which also has 125hp. Unlike the Fiesta, the Focus is offered with a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 120hp. All engines can be paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The diesel is available with an eight-speed automatic as well.
MPG, emissions and tax
If you’re looking for the best fuel economy, you’ll want the Focus with the 1.5-litre diesel because it will return a claimed 62.8mpg. However, if you want to save on your company car tax, the 1.0-litre mild hybrid Focus has the lowest BIK rate.
The most economical Fiesta you can buy is the 1.1-litre petrol, which should return around 53mpg. That said, the 1.0-litre petrol will return almost 50mpg, and will only cost around £7 a year more in company car tax at 20%.
The mild hybrid 1.0-litre engine offers around 3 more mpg over the standard 1.0-litre and a slightly lower BIK rate, however it will cost you over £1,000 more making it hard to recommend.
Out on the road is where Ford models tend to excel, as they offer a more engaging driving experience than alternatives.
The Fiesta is no exception to this, and it’s a fun car to chuck down a country road. The ST-Line model has lowered and stiffened suspension, making it even more sporty to drive. Be warned though, this does affect the ride comfort.
It’s much the same story with the Ford Focus, only it’s more refined once you’re on a motorway. Cars such as the Citroen C4 will be more comfortable still however. The larger dimensions of the Focus make it less suited to city driving than the Fiesta as well.
Overall, the Ford Focus offers a better all-round driving experience. It’s the more comfortable car here, without compromising on the fun factor.
Safety and reliability
Both the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus scored the maximum five stars in their latest Euro NCAP crash tests, so they both offer decent protection should the worst happen.
The Focus goes one step further though by offering more active safety features as standard. You get lane keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection.
As for reliability, both of these cars have stood the test of time well so far, with no major common faults to report.
All new Ford models come with a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty as well for added peace of mind.
Deciding which of these cars is best will depend a lot on what you need from a car. If you’re after something to haul the family around on long trips, you’ll definitely be better off with the Ford Focus. It’s far more practical and refined than the Fiesta, and it’s not that much more expensive either.
However, if you’re a new driver, or just need a car for nipping around the city and going to the shops, the Fiesta is still a great option. It’s well equipped, well made and fun to drive.
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