Ford has undergone a significant amount of changes since the new millennium rolled around, and one huge change was the replacement of the Escort with the Focus. Six model years later, the Fusion rolled in to bridge the gap between the aging Taurus and the fun-loving Focus.
Both models have enjoyed plenty of success in recent years, and both have received recent redesigns -- the Focus in 2012 and the Fusion in 2013. But which one offers the most for your dollar, the thrifty and compact Focus or the roomier Fusion?
Under the hood, the Fusion has the edge with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine churning out 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque to the Focus' 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque from its 2-liter engine. The Fusion also has the advantage of coming standard with a six-speed automatic transmission to the Focus' standard five-speed manual gearbox, but the Focus does have an optional six-speed auto. The Focus' 2-liter and manual transmission setup does, however, net better gas mileage, as it turns in 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway to the Fusion's 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
The Focus has the advantage of a hatchback option, which drives its luggage capacity up to a maximum of 44.8 cubic feet to the Fusion's 16 cubic feet. When comparing sedan to sedan, the Fusion easily trumps the Focus' 13.2 cubic feet of luggage space. In terms of overall passenger room, the larger Fusion offers much more space in all directions, as expected.
The Focus kicks things off with a lower base price -- $16,310 to $21,900 -- plus, Ford is pushing the slower-selling Focus with added incentives in some areas. As expected of a car that checks in at $5,000 more, the Fusion comes with more standard equipment, but jumping into the $18,515 Focus SE nets the compact sedan nearly the same equipment as the base Fusion at a significantly lower price.
Our Verdict: Ford Focus
The Fusion is a great option for any family, but the Focus' low base price and strong incentives mean it's more car for the money. This rings especially true when comparing the Focus SE to the base Fusion.