Chevrolet Cruze vs. Ford Focus

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - January 27, 2015

Both the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus stand far above their makers' previous attempts at building high-volume compacts. You no longer have to sacrifice quality or performance to get a modestly priced domestic sedan that's good on gas.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Cruze & Focus >>

In yet another instance of Ford versus Chevy, which compact does more to woo buyers?

What We Like About the Cruze

Although the Cruze isn't big enough to quality as a family car, its quality and features are right up there with larger sedans, as is the generous trunk. Buyers also get competent handling coupled with a pleasant ride. The sport-tuned suspension on the upper trims is on the firm side, but the impact on riding comfort is minimal. In terms of overall consumer appeal, the Cruze ranks just as highly as the best-known imported compacts.

The base Cruze runs with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 138 horsepower, but most versions carry a 1.4-liter turbo that delivers more torque and slightly better fuel economy. Eco versions of the Cruze are good for 42 mpg on the highway. There's also a new 2-liter turbo-diesel that generates 151 horsepower and reaches 46 mpg.

What We Like About the Focus

A quick look around the Focus reveals that it's a cut above what buyers expect in an economy car. Its exterior styling is sharp and expressive, and the interior surrounds you with high-quality materials. The dashboard layout, in particular, conveys a reassuring level of quality and refinement.

The Ford's 2-liter four-cylinder makes 160 horsepower, yet it still delivers up to 40 mpg on the highway. Crisp handling and a well-balanced suspension contribute to an overall feeling of satisfaction in daily driving. The Focus lineup also includes an all-electric model for the eco-minded.

Which Has an Edge?

The Cruze challenges more expensive hybrids in efficiency while offering plenty of space and features for couples and young families. For its part, the Focus is undeniably stylish and refined, with road manners and power that make for one entertaining compact.

Our Verdict: Ford Focus

There's no question the Cruze is a top-tier contender in this class. Even so, the Ford's engaging style and performance make it a more compelling choice.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Cruze >>

Take a closer look at the Ford Focus >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.