Focus vs Fiesta

Focus vs Fiesta

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

Though neither the Ford Focus nor the Ford Fiesta will continue to be sold in the United States, these two cars have been staples for years. There's little doubt that they'll continue to dominate the used car market for years to come. If you’re unsure which of these two better suits your needs, then here's a rundown of the differences and similarities are between the Focus and Fiesta.

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 that occasionally need to pick up groceries.

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

In their hatchback form (which is overwhelmingly the most popular and practical), the Fiesta has a squarer shape that makes it appear youthful, while the Focus is elongated. It’s an indicator of who these two cars are made for, at least in Ford’s mind, and it translates into every other aspect of vehicle design.

The Fiesta is young and fun, while the Focus a more traditional compact. Both have a lot to offer for their price points.

A bright blue Fiesta Hatchback

2018 Focus vs 2018 Fiesta
Dimension2018 Focus Sedan2018 Focus Hatchback2018 Fiesta Sedan2018 Fiesta 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 both vary wildly based on which trim is selected, 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
Shadow Black
White Gold
Hot Pepper Red
Lightning Blue
Outrageous Green
Triple Yellow
Race Red
Nitrous Blue
Fiesta Exterior Colors
Oxford White
Ingot Silver
Shadow Black
White Platinum
Hot Pepper Red
Lightning Blue
Outrageous Green
Bohai Bay Mint
Orange Spice


In their base models, either is a perfectly capable commuter. The Fiesta is a little more fun, given its tight turn radius and very low curb weight coupled with stellar gas mileage and acceptable stats in other key categories.

Both the Focus and Fiesta have a couple of performance models which show what they’re actually capable of. The Focus and Fiesta ST, which we’ve compared in greater detail before, remain perennial favorites of enthusiasts on a budget or people who need a fun to drive commuter in addition to their weekend monster. 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.

A bright yellow 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, and it's a lot. Unfortunately, the Fiesta never received an RS model, despite rumors that it would.

2018 Focus vs 2018 Fiesta: Performance
ModelEngineHorsepowerTorqueGas Mileage(City/Highway)
Fiesta 1.6L I-4 120 hp 112 lb-ft 27/37
Fiesta 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 2L Turbo I-4 252 hp 270 lb-ft 22/30
Focus 2.3L Turbo I-4 350 hp 350 lb-ft 19/25


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

But the Focus’ 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 as long as they don’t have substantial amounts of belongings that they need to carry.

These cars are really more alike than different on the inside (at least from the driver’s seat, backseat passengers may disagree). 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. On the other hand, the Focus 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 felt more upscale, but a lot of that depends on how you option them. Both the Focus and the Fiesta are flush with options.

2018 Focus vs 2018 Fiesta: Interior
Dimension2018 Focus Sedan2018 Focus Hatchback2018 Fiesta Sedan2018 Fiesta 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

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 that it’s outfitted with. The base model for each is referred to simply as the “S” model, which is the trim they make expressly to punish people who want a vehicle at the advertised “super-low” MSRP.

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 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. Including SYNC3, Driver Assist (if you have the Focus) and a few other nice goodies. If you plan on skipping the track and mostly obeying the speed limit, this is the package for you, with all of the gadgets and gizmos you could want to make a longer commute a dream.

ST is the performance line. 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 tip-top in terms of performance but 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 Focus and Fiesta

Maybe the best thing about both of these cars is how customizable they are, not really from the factory but 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 each.

There are a lot of ways to modify your Fiesta ST with aftermarket upgrades. One of our favorite “mod packages” is the Fiesta RS. So 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 features you want to make a Fiesta that can fly at the track. As the older sibling, 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, and you can add these improvements modularly so that you can spread out your build over time.

Focus vs Fiesta

A bright red Focus RS coming around a curve
Focus RS

At comparable trim levels, the Focus and Fiesta were fairly even in terms of features and space, but where they differed was in how much the Focus catered itself to families and people who preferred some luxuries while the Fiesta was youthful and fun.

Of course, 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 (the true base since we won’t talk about the S) and the Titanium was a brilliant compromise that allowed people the benefit of frugality and luxury.

For now, the Focus and Fiesta are relegated to the used market until Ford returns them to the United States.

Sources: 2018 Fiesta Brochure, Ford | 2018 Focus Brochure, Ford | Image Credit: Car and Driver, Which Car

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