Ford Focus vs Fiesta – Which is Better?

Find out which of Ford’s popular models comes out on top with our comparison of the Focus & Fiesta, from performance & reliability to design & practicality

As one of the most popular auto manufacturers in the world, Ford knows a thing or two about how to engineer bestselling models. The Ford Focus and the Ford Fiesta are two of the most recognisable cars on British roads, offering excellent performance and a sporty aesthetic.

The subcompact Ford Fiesta is ideal for zipping around the city or along country roads, while the Ford Focus offers extra space and power. If you're tossing up between the two, it pays to put deciding factors like reliability, performance and comfort to the test. 

Brand History 

Ford is one of the most popular auto manufacturers in the world, with both the Focus and Fiesta carrying the instantly recognisable blue oval logo. The Ford Fiesta first hit the road in 1976, with the Focus introduced in 1998 (replacing the much-loved but aging Escort).


When it comes to people's choice, the Ford Fiesta runs circles around the Focus. The latest statistics from YouGov reveal the Fiesta is the second most popular model in the UK, preceded only by the VW Golf. The Ford Focus claimed eighth place, making it a hugely popular model but not quite on par with the Fiesta. 


The Ford Fiesta is the second most popular car in the UK for good reason. Motorists love the reliability of the bestselling model, with the latest statistics from CarBuyer revealing less than 5% of owners experienced issues within the first year. The Ford Focus is slightly less reliable, with 7.7% of drivers experiencing a problem within the first year of ownership. 


Overall, both the Focus and Fiesta earned great crash testing scores. In recent Euro NCAP crash tests, the Fiesta was awarded a five-star safety rating. The Focus received a similar review, with an adult occupant safety rating of 85%. The latest Focus model also offers the option to ramp up safety credentials with blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning and rear parking sensors. Parents appreciate clever settings like MyKey, which can be used to limit maximum speed and stereo volume for new drivers. 


Compared to most models on the market, the Focus and Fiesta both offer excellent fuel economy. 2019 Ford Fiesta models offer a choice of two engines, including a 1.6-liter inline four with 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 27 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg for highway driving. The 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four engine offers 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque, with 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on highways.

The Focus ramps things up with four engine choices. The 2.0-litre inline four offers 160 hp, 146 lb-ft of torque and 26 mpg city/38 mpg highway. Other options include a 1.0-liter turbocharged inline three and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four. For an impressive 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, opt for the 2.3-liter turbocharged inline four. 


Both the Focus and Fiesta champion a sporty design that looks great zipping around urban streets or cruising along rural motorways. One of the main differences between the Fiesta and the Focus is size. While both are roughly the same height, the Focus offers extra length and width. This makes it a popular choice for motorists in search of a compact car with plenty of space.

Both models are available as saloons or hatchbacks. Inside, both cars offer five seats. Choose a basic model or upgrade with options like leather seats, satellite navigation and Sony premium audio. 


Whether you prefer the Focus or Fiesta will depend on your unique needs as a motorist. As small cars, both models are a breeze to park and are deservedly popular with city drivers.

For small families who want to put a baby or toddler seat in the back, or motorists simply looking for more space, the Ford Focus is the preferable option. Both models offer dual USB ports and a pair of 12-volt outlets which make it easy to charge your devices on the go. You'll also enjoy Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. 

Engine & Fuel Choice

The newest version of the Ford Focus has been reimagined with impressive CO2 emissions starting at just 91g/km. The Ford Fiesta is also an eco-friendly choice, with the small engine emitting just 82g/km. Of course, emissions increase relative to engine size.

Over the past few years Ford has been working hard to improve efficiency across the entire range. This includes the introduction of the innovative Eco Button that tweaks settings to improve fuel economy, such as reducing the rate of acceleration, lowering idling speed and adjusting climate control.  

Benefit-in-kind (BIK)

BIK percentage bands will depend on the engine specs of the model and the P11D list price value. At a glance, a basic petrol-powered Ford Focus Hatchback will have a BIK rate of between £75 and £150 p/m. In comparison, a base model Ford Fiesta Hatchback requires BIK tax of around £58 to £116 p/m.

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