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2014 Ford Focus vs. 2014 Ford Fiesta: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

If you're interested in a new small car, you might be considering the 2014 Ford Focus and the 2014 Ford Fiesta. Both offer reasonable pricing, hatchback and sedan body styles, and Ford's high-tech MyFord Touch infotainment system. So what's the difference between the two cars? We took an in-depth look to find out exactly what distinguishes the Focus and the Fiesta.

Exterior

Compared to the compact Focus, the subcompact Fiesta's smaller size can be easily seen when the two cars are parked next to one another. Almost every aspect of the Fiesta is smaller than the Focus, including the hood, front grille and rear window. The Fiesta is also narrower than the Focus, indicating that it doesn't have as much passenger space. It also uses a more upright profile than the Focus's more traditional, stretched design.

Interior

Although the Focus and Fiesta can be easily distinguished from the outside, they aren't quite as easy to tell apart from the inside. The Focus and Fiesta use roughly the same interior design, boasting a similar center stack, gauge cluster and switchgear. Perhaps the largest difference is the cabin space. The Focus, expectedly, features more hip room, leg room and cargo space in the back.

Mechanicals

As you might expect, the mechanical differences between the Focus and Fiesta are a lot like the other major differences between the two vehicles. In other words, the Focus has a larger engine than the Fiesta has, with more power.

In the Focus, the standard engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 160 horsepower -- though shoppers can also upgrade to an electric model (dubbed the Focus Electric) or a 252-hp performance model called the Focus ST. Base-level Fiesta models, meanwhile, make do with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that produces 120 hp, while a sporty Fiesta ST offers 197 hp. For 2015, the Fiesta is also adding a fuel economy focused model with a new 123-hp 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

Speaking of fuel economy, the Focus and Fiesta are surprisingly close. Focus models reach 27 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the most popular engine and transmission combination (the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and Ford's 6-speed automatic), while the Fiesta tops out at 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy with the same transmission and a 1.6-liter engine.

Features

Interestingly, there aren't many features available on one model that you can't get on the other -- whether you're talking about simple items such as air conditioning or upscale amenities such as parking sensors or a backup camera.

With that said, the two cars do have a few discrepancies -- including the unusual fact that the Fiesta offers more standard equipment than the Focus does, such as Ford's impressive SYNC voice control system. At the top of the range, however, the Focus offers a handful of extra options, including a remote-start system for automatic models, an automated parallel parking system, xenon headlights, and a slightly larger touchscreen for drivers who choose the infotainment system. The major items are highly similar, with both cars offering leather upholstery, heated front seats and automatic climate control.

Technology

If it's technology you're after, you'll find that the Focus and Fiesta will generally serve you well as far as compact cars go. Admittedly, the Focus has a few more optional features, such as an automated parallel parking system, xenon headlights, a remote starter and a slightly larger screen if you opt for infotainment. Both cars offer Ford's excellent MyFord Touch infotainment system along with a backup camera, keyless ignition and entry and a Sony sound system. In fact, the only gadget-related complaint we can even think of relates to the lack of safety technology in the Fiesta and Focus.

Safety

Although a wide range of modern cars are adding an impressive array of high-tech safety features, the Focus and Fiesta lag behind. Neither model includes a lane-departure warning system, a forward-collision alert system, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control or automatic braking assistance -- features that are available in an increasing number of rival models. With that said, there are few safety-feature-related differences between the Focus and Fiesta, so you can't exactly choose one model over the other to get a wide range of additional equipment.

As for crash-test ratings, however, the Focus boasts a notable advantage over the Fiesta. While the Fiesta earned only four overall stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- including a troubling two stars in the agency's side-impact test -- the Focus earned a perfect 5-star rating. In testing conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Focus and Fiesta earned roughly the same rating.

Conclusions

Differences between the 2014 Ford Focus and the 2014 Ford Fiesta are largely limited to size, powertrain and base prices. If you can afford to spend a little more and get a Focus, that's what we recommend. Not only does the Focus offer more interior room than the Fiesta does, but it boasts more encouraging crash-test scores, extra optional features and about the same fuel economy. With that said, we think both the Focus and Fiesta are excellent new cars -- though we wish they offered more in terms of modern safety features.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Ford Focus vs. 2014 Ford Fiesta: What's the Difference? - Autotrader