Focus ST vs Fiesta ST

Focus ST vs Fiesta ST

Last Updated April 18, 2024 | Kevin Brent
Contents

In the spring of 2012, Ford introduced two new hatchbacks to their vehicle lineup: The Focus and the Fiesta. As production began, the Focus and Fiesta both got “sports technology” editions with the introduction of the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST. These additions were viewed by many as a more practical alternative to a Mustang.

Over time, Ford fans across the country have grown to love the performance and attitude of the Focus ST and Fiesta ST, making them staple fixtures at autocross events and other performance driving circuits. Passionate fans of both vehicles like to compare the Focus ST vs the Fiesta ST, but the truth is that these two vehicles have much more in common than not.

Along with their similar exterior designs, both the Focus ST and Fiesta ST are powered by ultra-efficient EcoBoost engines and are deceptively powerful given their respective physical statures. The Focus ST and Fiesta ST each contain six-speed manual transmissions and feature 60-0 braking distances of 120 feet. Additionally, both turbocharged hatchbacks offer overboost functions and have their own torque vectoring systems.

Despite the striking similarities, there are a number of notable differences between the Focus ST and Fiesta ST. We've already covered what unites the two of them, so let's dive deeper into the differences in the Ford Focus vs Fiesta as well as their ST variants.

Fiesta ST vs Focus ST Exterior Differences

Both Focus and Fiesta are available as sedans and hatchbacks. The hatchback option improves their cargo capacity and makes them an ideal choice for daily commuters who occasionally need to pick up groceries. The Focus ST and Fiesta ST are only available in the hatchback option.

The Fiesta is technically a subcompact while the Focus is a compact, meaning there is an obvious difference in size that translates into the overall appearance difference.

In their hatchback form, the Fiesta ST has a more square shape that makes it appear youthful, while the Focus ST is elongated. It's an indicator of who these two cars are made for, at least in Ford's mind. The Fiesta is young and fun, while the Focus sports a more traditional, compact design.

The Focus ST offers 18” x 7” wheels in the front and back, while the Fiesta ST is sitting on 17 x 7s all around. The Focus ST has five-lug wheels, while the Fiesta ST has four lugs, meaning that there are less aftermarket wheel options for the latter.

Below is a table comparing the Focus ST vs Fiesta ST exterior dimensions for the 2018 model year.

Fiesta ST Blue Hatchback

Focus vs Fiesta Exterior Dimensions
DimensionFocus SedanFocus ST HatchbackFiesta SedanFiesta ST Hatchback
Wheelbase 104.3" 104.3" 98" 98"
Width 71.8" 71.8" 67.8" 67.8"
Height 57.8" 57.8" 57.1" 57.1"
Length 178.7" 171.7" 173.5" 160.1"

The colors available for the Focus vs the Fiesta vary wildly based on which trim you choose, with the “S” option for both nameplates typically carrying only a couple of colors. Naturally, the Focus has more trim options so it also has more color options, but the individual models vary.

Focus Exterior Colors
ColorS TrimSE TrimSEL TrimTitanium TrimST TrimRS Trim
Oxford White
Ingot Silver
Magnetic
Shadow Black
White Gold
Hot Pepper Red
Lightning Blue
Blue
Outrageous Green
Triple Yellow
Race Red
Nitrous Blue
Fiesta Exterior Colors
ColorSSETitaniumST
Oxford White
Ingot Silver
Shadow Black
White Platinum
Hot Pepper Red
Lightning Blue
Outrageous Green
Bohai Bay Mint
Magnetic
Orange Spice

Focus ST vs Fiesta ST Performance

In their base models, the Focus ST and Fiesta ST are both capable commuters. The Fiesta is a little more fun, given its tight turn radius and very low curb weight coupled with stellar gas mileage.

Both the Focus and Fiesta have a couple of performance models that show off their capabilities. The Focus ST and Fiesta ST remain perennial favorites of enthusiasts on a budget or people who need a fun commuter in addition to their weekend track car. If you're looking to learn a lot more about this performance model, check out our complete guide to the Focus ST for everything from trim levels to performance specs.

Red Focus ST

The Focus's most desirable trim package, the Focus RS, has specs that would impress anyone. Comparing the Focus RS and Focus ST shows just how much the RS package actually adds. Unfortunately, the Fiesta never received an RS model, despite rumors that it would.

Below is a chart comparing the Fiesta vs Focus performance specs for each engine option in the 2018 model year. The Chart includes the ST Models of each vehicle as well.

Focus vs Fiesta: Performance
ModelEngineHorsepowerTorqueGas Mileage(City/Highway)
Fiesta 1.6L I-4 120 hp 112 lb-ft 27/37
Fiesta ST 1.6L Turbo I-4 197 hp 202 lb-ft 26/33
Focus 2.0L I-4 160 hp 146 lb-ft 26/38
Focus 1.0L Turbo I-3 123 hp 125 lb-ft 30/40
Focus ST 2.0 L Turbo I-4 252 hp 270 lb-ft 22/30
Focus 2.3L Turbo I-4 350 hp 350 lb-ft 19/25

Focus ST vs Fiesta ST Engine

Both the 1.6L and 2.0L EcoBoost engines allow the Focus ST and Fiesta ST to put down an incredible amount of horsepower and torque, given the respective sizes of the two hatchbacks. The larger Focus ST wins the horsepower and torque competitions by 55 and 68, respectively. The results should not be too surprising given the difference in engine sizes but still is worth pointing out.

Focus ST vs Fiesta ST Engine

In addition to having a larger motor than the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST leaves the factory with a K03 turbocharger that allows you to boost the engine's power even further. While powerful for its size, the KP39 turbocharger under the hood of the Fiesta ST provides a more limited boost. Based on what it's already sporting and the aftermarket upgrades available, the Ford Focus ST gets a slight edge in the power category.

While it is not as fast as its hot hatch counterpart, the Fiesta ST packs a powerful punch in its own right. Paired with the 1.6L EcoBoost engine, the K939 turbocharger produces between 16 and 19 psi of boost, which allows the Fiesta ST to have an impressive power output while operating at a low RPM.

Additionally, the Fiesta ST is built with innovative suspension and steering systems that are designed for quick maneuvering and heavy cornering, which pays dividends on the autocross course, as well as winding through traffic on the city streets. The Ford Fiesta ST also can save you some pain at the pump by achieving 26 MPG through town and close to 33 on the highway.

The size difference between the two hatchbacks is apparent at first glance, but bigger doesn't always mean better. Since it weighs roughly 500 pounds less than the Focus ST, some of the Fiesta ST's power disadvantages are offset by the reduction in overall mass, which enables the Fiesta ST to feel nearly equal to the Focus ST in terms of speed.

Both the Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST are reasonably priced, but the Fiesta had a base price of over $3,000 less than the Focus ST, meaning it can deliver similar performance results as the Focus ST at a much better deal.

Focus ST vs Fiesta ST Interior

Despite claims that one has significantly more space than the other, the Focus ST and Fiesta ST are pretty close in most metrics. In fact, the Fiesta offers a slightly roomier experience for the driver.

The Focus's second-row seats are where you'll see a huge difference. Focus occupants get an extra two inches of legroom. When the backseat is folded down, the Focus sees 44 cubic feet of storage compared to 25 cubic feet in the Fiesta.

In short, the Focus is a little more family-friendly, but for people looking for a commuter or other solo-use car, the Fiesta gains the edge.

These cars are really more alike than different on the inside. They're both available with SYNC3, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The Fiesta does get one thing that the Focus doesn't: Amazon's Alexa assistant. However, the Focus ST has blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and park assist, all of which are features that improve safety significantly.

Some reviewers were quick to note that the interior of the Focus ST felt more upscale, but a lot of that depends on how you option them. Both the Focus and the Fiesta models are flush with options.

Focus vs Fiesta: Interior
Dimension2018 Focus Sedan2018 Focus ST Hatchback2018 Fiesta Sedan2018 Fiesta ST Hatchback
Front Head Room 38.3" 38.3" 39.1" 39.1"
Front Legroom 41.9" 41.9" 42.2" 42.2"
Rear Head Room 38" 37.9" 37.1" 37.2"
Rear Legroom 33.2" 33.2" 31.2" 31.2"
Cargo (Back Seat Up) 13.2 cubic feet 23.8 cubic feet 12.8 cubic feet 14.9 cubic feet
Cargo (Back Seat Down) N/A 44.8 cubic feet N/A 25.4 cubic feet

Fiesta vs Focus Trim Packages

The biggest thing that will affect the features, as well as the price of a Fiesta or a Focus, is the trim package. The base model for each is referred to simply as the “S” model.

As if it wasn't enough that you have a remarkably limited color selection for the base model, you also lose out on even the most basic of comfort features. The upgraded SE package for both the Focus and Fiesta was only $1,200 more, making it a significantly more popular choice.

The Focus has one middle-of-the-road package that the Fiesta didn't receive, which was the SEL. The SEL wasn't top of the line, but it at least bumped up the audio system to the much improved Sony ten-speaker system. It also took a few of the things that the SE allowed as options, like daytime running lights, and made them standard.

The Titanium Package is the top of the line in terms of comfort features. It includes SYNC3, Driver Assist (if you have the Focus), and a few other minor features. If you plan on skipping the track and mostly obeying the speed limit, this is the package for you.

ST is the performance line for the Focus and Fiesta Models. For the Fiesta, it's the top model, designed to be sporty and fun. With a few mods, STs can really shine, and make a great base for a lot of performance builds.

The RS is the top variant in terms of performance but it is only available for the Focus, and limited in terms of comfort features.

2018 Focus vs 2018 Fiesta: Price
Trim Level2018 Focus Sedan2018 Focus Hatchback2018 Fiesta Sedan2018 Fiesta Hatchback
S $17,950 N/A $14,205 $14,505
SE $19,245 $20,540 $15,435 $15,735
SEL $21,870 $22,070 N/A N/A
Titanium $24,270 $24,470 $19,195 $19,495
ST N/A $25,170 N/A $25,170
RS N/A $41,120 N/A N/A

Mods for Fiesta ST vs Focus ST

Maybe the best thing about the Focus ST and Fiesta ST is how customizable they are in the aftermarket. As two of the most popular hot hatches available, the aftermarket has ensured that there will always be a wide range of mods available for both vehicles.

There are a lot of ways to modify your Fiesta ST with aftermarket upgrades. One of our favorite “mod packages” is the Fiesta RS. Ford never made a Fiesta RS and that was a mistake because people would have loved it. That doesn't mean that you can't make your own Fiesta RS by copying the best features from the Focus RS.

The Focus ST already has the edge in terms of performance, but that also means it has even more potential if you add the right mods

A quick tune, a cold air intake, or even just an improved air filter can help give your Fiesta or Focus a little added bump in performance. You can also add these improvements modularly so that you can spread out your build over time.

Check out the categories below and shop our full range of aftermarket Focus ST and Fiesta ST parts.

Verdict: Fiesta ST vs Focus ST

At comparable trim levels, the Focus is fairly even in terms of features and space vs the Fiesta. They differed in their target audience. The Focus was catered to families and people who preferred some luxuries while the Fiesta was made to be youthful and fun.

There's also the fact that the Focus had some trim levels where no equivalent existed for the Fiesta. If you had your heart set on a Focus RS, there was no equivalent Fiesta. Likewise, having the middle package in between the SE and the Titanium was a brilliant compromise that allowed people the benefit of frugality and luxury.

Which is better? The Focus ST or Fiesta ST? That all depends on what you are looking for! If added size is the most important thing to you, then you would be a great candidate for a new Focus ST.

Because of its size, the Ford Focus ST features a wider turning radius than its smaller alternative. Overall, the Focus ST remains flat and stoic during cornering and its overall ride quality is hard to top.

In contrast, while it does not feature as much cargo room or as many aftermarket wheel options, the crafty and nimble Fiesta ST sports a remarkable power-to-weight ratio, giving the vehicle an almost go-kart-like feel. The reduction in bulk makes the Fiesta ST extremely agile, which leads to a driving experience that few road cars can match.

While it can't offer the same performance benefits as the Focus, the Fiesta is several thousand dollars cheaper, so if the cost is an important factor in your decision, then the Fiesta ST would be your best bet.

Sources: 2018 Fiesta Brochure, Ford | 2018 Ford Focus ST ST Hatch Features And Specs, Car and Driver | Image Credit: Car and Driver, Which Car

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.