RAC Cars News


Ford Fiesta Vs Ford Focus

By raccars Published

These 2 offerings from Ford are incredibly popular, with good reason too. Whilst both are primarily hatchbacks competing in an extremely competitive sector, each vehicle offers something the other may not.

Used Ford Fiesta - What Do You Need to Know?

Ford Fiesta

● Economical with good MPG and low road tax costs

● Not the best storage

● Servicing costs are low

● Low resale value

● Plenty of used bargains out there

View all of the used Ford Fiesta models on RAC Cars.

Used Ford Focus - What Do You Need to Know?

● Sporty, aerodynamic design

● Poor resale value

● Known for a driving dynamic above its class

● Lots of hard plastic in the cabin

● Known to be a reliable line of models

View all of the used Ford Focus models on RAC Cars.

A Short History of Two Iconic Fords

The Ford Fiesta has sold more units in the UK than any other vehicle. Now if that’s not making a statement then I’m not sure what is. The fact that the latest model continues to outsell its rivals points to a manufacturer absolutely switched on to its customer’s needs.

Replacing the Ford Escort in 1998, the Focus came screeching in and silenced critics that were sure the rallying Escort was irreplaceable. Nearly two decades later and the only thing critics are divided on is whether the Focus has now overtaken its older brother in the icon race.


Ford ensures its models stand out from the crowd and that, in part, is achieved thanks to some striking design traits, including that large front grille. Bold, stylish and instantly recognisable even from a distance. Then there are the sweeping headlight clusters, LED daytime running lights and sleek body styling, all features that give the cars a modern twist.

A new generation Fiesta arrives next year with sharper and more athletic styling, but the current and early models still have many plus points including the rising waistline, which has always given the Ford Fiesta plenty of sporty appeal.

Its big brother, the Ford Focus is a little more sophisticated and grown up in appearance. It also feels much larger once inside although the cabin dimensions are very similar.

Fiesta - What Should You Look out For?

● Every warning light should come on when you start the car, and then go out straight away. If they don’t, ask the dealer and view the car’s service history.

● Listen for noise when you drive over speed bumps. The creaking noise means that the front suspension drop-links will need replacing, which can be costly.

● A damp front carpet could mean that there is an air conditioning leak or water seal leak which could cost £300 to fix.

Ford Focus - What Should You Look out For?

Ford Focus

● In early models, from 2006, ask about the ignition switch lock cylinder. This problem manifests in the key no longer turning in the ignition. We have seen repairs for this issue go past £200.

● If you hear squeaking from the back end of the car then it might not be too bad. This is likely to be a parking brake cable bracket in models from 2006 then again in the newer versions.

● Those earlier models are also prone to a faulty DPFE Sensor, which is a problem that an RAC Inspection could show.

● In the 2000-2005 2.0 SPI engine, dropped valve seats will cost a lot to repair so check the service and maintenance history.

How Do They Compare On Driving Dynamics?

The Ford Fiesta tops many polls when it comes to performance and driving dynamics. That is partly down to the car’s excellent driving position and comfort levels. However, it’s also due to the fact that the Fiesta is available with some outstanding engines, such as the ST200 model that can sprint from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds.

In the used car market the Focus has some great history and you can find SE models that do wonderful things in terms of driving dynamics. The Fiesta doesn’t have such a storied history but is nonetheless a car fighting above its class.

With the new models it’s the Focus that takes the chequered flag in the sprint stakes thanks to its recently-launched Ford Focus RS model. It is powered by a 2.3 EcoBoost 320 bhp engine (the same as used in the Mustang) and reaches 62mph in a very rapid 4.7 seconds. Both the Focus and Fiesta are beautifully grounded and offer excellent grip throughout their line of old and new models.


With a new generation model due for release in 2017, the current Fiesta is looking forward to a revamp in the near future. In the older models the storage space is comfortable enough and there’s a good, if not great, amount of legroom.

The Focus is more suited to drivers who want a little more space and flexibility. It has about 5cms extra legroom and 1cm additional headroom and is available as a five-door hatchback or in estate guise which is ideal for carrying bikes and plenty of luggage.

Both models offer good storage options. The Fiesta boot has a capacity ranging from 290 litres to 974 (with the rear seats folded). The Focus boot ranges from 316 litres to 1,215 litres on the hatchback and 476 litres to 1,502 litres on the estate.

New Ford Fiesta And Ford Focus Models

Engines and gearboxes

The Focus and Fiesta have a lot more in common than sharing the same Ford badge. They are equipped with the same variety of engines, but as the Fiesta is slightly lighter it gets the better performance from the engines with higher fuel efficiency and faster sprint times.

Stand-out engines on offer in both models are the award-winning three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine or, for diesel fans, the 1.5-litre engine which can deliver up to 88.3mpg on a combined run (74.3mpg on the Focus).

Both Fiesta and Focus models are available with a five or six-speed manual gearbox or a dual clutch automatic transmission.

Ford Fiesta models are available in four trim levels called Zetec, Titanium, and ST. Prices new range from £13,545 to £22,895, whereas used prices range from £200 to £18,000.

Trim levels on the Focus are called Style, Zetec, ST, Titanium, Titanium X and RS. Prices new range from £16,445 to £31,395, however you can find second hand versions of these models ranging from £250 to £18,000.

Used Prices

You can pick up a 2012 Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec with less than 40,000 miles on the clock for under £5,000

You tend to pay a little more for the Focus, a 2012 1.6 Zetec with under 50,000 miles is likely to cost in the region of £6,000

View used Ford Fiesta and used Ford Focus models on RAC Cars.

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