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2018 Ford Fusion vs. 2018 Ford Focus: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Eric Brandt September 2018
  • The 2018 Ford Focus is a compact available as a sedan or hatchback, and the 2018 Ford Fusion is a midsize sedan.

  • Both cars have a lot of differences in pricing, options and size.

  • The Fusion and the Focus are good values, but you might be surprised by how expensive they can get.

Ford's recent bombshell announcement that it's phasing out passenger cars in the U.S. except for the Mustang has put several cars in its current lineup on death row. Two of those cars are the Focus and the Fusion, which are now in their final generations as we know them.

With these cars slated for replacement exclusively by SUVs, are they still worth considering? Let's take a look at what makes these cars different and whether or not they're still worth a look for discerning shoppers.

Exterior

The most notable difference between these two cars is that they're in different classes. The Ford Focus is a compact, and the Ford Fusion is a midsize sedan. The Focus is available as either a sedan or a hatchback, both of which are smaller than the Fusion. The Fusion is about a foot longer and a few inches wider than the Focus Sedan.

As for styling, the Focus has a youthful look to it, while the Fusion looks a little more grown up. The aesthetic differences speak to what kind of buyers these cars are targeting. The Focus is supposed to introduce younger buyers to the brand, and the Fusion is supposed to be the car they upgrade to when they're done with the Focus.

Interior

Since the Fusion is a bigger car than the Focus, it has a bigger interior. All occupants have more room in the Fusion, but with a Focus hatchback, you actually get more cargo room than you do in the Fusion's trunk, and you get even more space when you fold down the back seats.

The Focus has a nicely designed interior, but it's starting to show its age. There are a lot of plasticy materials that can make for a cheaper-feeling driving experience, but the car's controls are nicely within reach. The Fusion feels a little more premium on the inside, especially on the higher trims.

Mechanicals

The Focus and the Fusion both have several different engines available. The base engine in the 2018 Ford Focus is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque while returning 24 miles per gallon city and 34 mpg highway. A smaller turbocharged 1.0-liter inline-three is available, making 123 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque -- and it's quite efficient at 30 mpg city/40 mpg hwy. If you upgrade to the sporty ST trim, you'll be treated to a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, while the Focus RS comes with a turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder making very impressive performance numbers of 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy isn't as good in the performance trims, with the ST getting 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, while the RS only manages 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

For the midsize Fusion, three different turbocharged EcoBoost engines are available, along with a naturally aspirated base engine. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-four that gets 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy while producing 173 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. Upgrading to the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder similar to the one in the Focus ST gets you a nice bump in performance up to 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, while still getting pretty good fuel economy of 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy. Finally, the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 in the Sport model ups the performance to 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, getting 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

The Fusion and the Focus are both front-wheel drive, but both can be had with all-wheel drive. The only AWD-equipped Focus is the RS model, and AWD is available on a few trims of the Fusion -- but not all of them. The Ford Fusion Sport, however, comes standard with AWD.

Features and Technology

The Focus and the Fusion both offer Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system, which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities. They're also both available with the FordPass mobile app, which allows you to do things like start the car, lock and unlock the doors, compare gas prices and even find parking before you get to your destination.

Since the Fusion is a segment higher than the Focus, it's available with more luxurious features and technology in the higher trims. A few of these features include adaptive cruise control, inflatable rear seat belts, pre-collision assist, enhanced active park assist and much more.

Pricing

Being a smaller car, the Focus is more affordable than the Fusion. The Focus starts at a reasonable MSRP of $17,950, while the bigger Fusion starts quite a bit higher at $22,215. Incidentally, the Focus has a higher price ceiling than the Fusion because of the Focus RS, which starts way up at $41,120. By comparison, the Fusion Sport, which admittedly is a much different car, only costs $33,845. Something to keep in mind about the Focus RS: it's expensive because it's worth it.

Every non-performance trim of the Focus can be had for less than $25,000 including the loaded Titanium model. For the Fusion, the really nice ones are in the mid-$30k range. They're both pretty strong values, but it can be easy to get carried away when adding options.

Conclusion

Both cars offer a lot of variety within their respective lineups. For both the Focus and the Fusion, you can get a lower-end affordable model, a mid-range model with some nice features, a luxury car minus the luxury badges and price tag and one (or multiple, in the case of the Focus) performance trim that not only looks better, but drives better.

Deciding which one is right for you mostly comes down to the size of the car. If you don't need a lot of passenger room but anticipate hauling a lot of cargo, then you might appreciate a Focus hatch. If you want nice, roomy family transportation, then the Fusion will likely suit you better.

These nameplates might only have a few more years of life left in them, but these two Fords are still strong players in their respective segments.

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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.
2018 Ford Fusion vs. 2018 Ford Focus: What's the Difference? - Autotrader