The Ford Focus has been one of the world's favorite compacts for two decades now, but the competition continues to nip at its heels. The Chevy Cruze is one of the more prominent and serious rivals of the 2018 Ford Focus, so let's take a look at how they compare.
At this price there are lot of vehicles to choose from, but you might have to go for a luxury or prestige compact to beat what the Cruze and Focus offer. The Cruze is probably the most desirable of the pair at the lower trim levels with its very appealing styling, but the pair of aces up the Ford's sleeve is its performance ST and RS models. It's therefore a split decision up to a point, but as there's nothing in the Cruze lineup as desirable as a Focus ST or RS so this opening contest has to go to the Ford.
Small cars are meant to be fun and affordable to buy and run, and that certainly sums up the Focus. Sedan versions are fairly run-of-the-mill runabouts that happen to have a decent chassis and good handling when pushed, but hatchbacks can be among the most fun you can have at this level and price of car. There really is an engine for everyone from the standard 2.0-liter to the incredible 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost. And then there's the thrilling 2.0-liter EcoBoost and positively mental 2.3 EcoBoost in the RS.
The standard engine in the Cruze is a good 153 horsepower 1.4-liter turbo, and the 1.6-liter turbo added last year has torque to spare. That's no match for the performance and ferocity of what the Focus can offer though, so this is another win for the Ford.
There's a good amount of space inside the Focus, but there's more legroom in the front of the Chevy and a lot more room for those in the back seats. An unusually sculpted dash in the Focus robs some front seat space, but its fighter cockpit design for the driver does have its appeal. The rest of the interior of the Focus is starting to look a little dated though, which is something that can't be said of the Chevy. If you were going to spend a lot of time in one of these you'd enjoy your time more in the Cruze, especially as a passenger.
Any compact car worth considering has to offer good fuel economy, and the gas-powered Cruze sedan with its available six-speed automatic transmission is rated at a solid 29 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined. But a Focus with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine and manual transmission beats that with 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined. That would be enough to claim victory under normal circumstances, but the Cruze now offers a diesel that can deliver a staggering 52 mpg on the highway, so we'll have to score this one as a draw.