2018 Ford Focus vs Chevrolet Cruze
A compact car has to be good these days to attract buyers away from crossovers of a similar size, and the 2018 Ford Focus is the latest version of a car that’s been best in its class for quite a while. So, let’s see how it measures up to one of its popular domestic rivals, the Chevrolet Cruze.
2018 Ford Focus vs Chevrolet Cruze
Even though crossovers are popular because they drive more like a car than an SUV, the high-riding design inevitably means they still don’t drive and handle as well as a car does. Without the expense and impracticality of an all-out sports car, the Ford Focus is a great way to get a lot of driving fun in a package that’s still extremely practical. Even with its tiny three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine the Focus is a hoot, but strap yourself into a 252 horsepower ST model and you really will rediscover the joy of driving.
The Chevrolet Cruze has no answer to the Focus in this area, as its four-cylinder turbo engine can only muster a paltry 153 horsepower. And we haven’t even considered the outrageous 350 horsepower Focus RS the Chevy has no equivalent to, so this is a huge win for the Ford.
Whether a compact hatch or sedan will be a second car or the primary vehicle in a family, safety will be a major concern. Most people assume compacts are not as safe as larger vehicles, which is one of many reasons for the popularity of crossovers and SUVs. The Focus may be an older model than the Chevy Cruze, but Ford has kept on top of updating the safety features in the Focus.
Both come standard with a rearview camera these days, which a lot of buyers see as an essential item, but the Ford just edges out the Chevy when it comes to those all-important crash test ratings. Although both cars get five-star overall ratings from the NHTSA, the Focus gets slightly better scores when we look at the individual ratings, which is why it’s the one to choose for if safety is high on your list of priorities.
If standard features and equipment are a key factor in your buying decision, you’ll find a wide range of Focus models with varying levels of performance to choose from. That means there’s a model in the range for most people. Entry level Focus S models get power features, air conditioning, 15-inch wheels at the smallest, steering-wheel audio controls, a rearview camera, and AM/FM/CD audio with Bluetooth streaming.
By way of contrast, the Cruze L is a model that’s really in the range as the lowest price vehicle that can be advertised. The L has essentials like air conditioning, but it’s lacking some of the features of the Focus. As we go up the trim levels, a lot of things that are standard in the Focus can be expensive options with the Cruze.
At worst, the fuel economy of the Focus is more than acceptable, but at best it’s pretty fantastic. The most frugal models are those with the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost, which gets EPA ratings of 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined when paired with the six-speed manual transmission.
The Cruze is available with diesel that gets better mileage than the three-cylinder Focus, but the Ford is also available in an all-electric form if you want to go down that route. The best figures that gas versions of the Cruze can manage are 29 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined.
Learn More about the Ford Focus
At the entry level there’s not a lot of difference between the 2018 Ford Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze, but when advancing through the trim levels the gap in favor of the Focus gets bigger and bigger. That, among other reasons, is why we recommend the Focus over the Cruze.