2019 Toyota Corolla vs. 2018 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Corolla has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats (WIL), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WIL system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Corolla has standard Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Fiesta doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Toyota Corolla has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Fiesta doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Corolla’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Corolla’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Corolla and the Fiesta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Toyota Corolla is safer than the Ford Fiesta:





5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

5 Stars




4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

120 lbs.

156 lbs.

Neck Compression

78 lbs.

118 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

395/206 lbs.

544/408 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Toyota Corolla is safer than the Fiesta Sedan:




Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

77 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation



Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota Corolla is safer than the Ford Fiesta:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

106 G’s

210 G’s

Hip Force

412 lbs.

413 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

70 G’s

96 G’s

Hip Force

765 lbs.

900 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

53 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” to “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Corolla the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 91 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fiesta was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

The Toyota Corolla has a better fatality history. The Corolla was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 31.1% lower per vehicle registered than the Fiesta, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Fiesta.


The camshafts in the Corolla’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Fiesta’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Fiesta’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Corolla’s reliability 72 points higher than the Fiesta.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Fiesta isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota first in reliability. Ford is ranked 15th.


The Corolla’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (132 vs. 120) and 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (128 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Corolla LE Eco’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (140 vs. 120) and 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (126 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Toyota Corolla (base engine) is faster than the Ford Fiesta (manual transmissions tested):




Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.5 sec

10.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.8 sec

35.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

79 MPH

As tested in Consumer Reports the Toyota Corolla (base engine) is faster than the Ford Fiesta (automatics tested):




Zero to 30 MPH

4 sec

4.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.9 sec

10.9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.9 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

17.7 sec

18.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

82.9 MPH

79.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla gets better fuel mileage than the Fiesta:








27 city/35 hwy

27 city/35 hwy

1.6 4 cyl./Manual


LE Eco/Auto

30 city/40 hwy

27 city/37 hwy

1.6 4 cyl./Auto


LE Eco 16” Wheels/Auto

29 city/38 hwy




A six-speed manual is standard on the Toyota Corolla 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. SE, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Fiesta.

The Corolla offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Corolla’s brake rotors and drums are larger than those on the Fiesta:




Front Rotors

10.8 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Drums

9 inches

7.9 inches

Opt Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

The Corolla SE/XSE has standard antilock four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Fiesta. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes which work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Corolla stops shorter than the Fiesta:





70 to 0 MPH

180 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

149 feet

159 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corolla has larger standard tires than the Fiesta (195/65R15 vs. 185/60R15). The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fiesta (215/45R17 vs. 195/50R16).

The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Fiesta’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Corolla SE/XSE has standard 17-inch wheels. The Fiesta’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Toyota Corolla’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Fiesta only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

The Corolla has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Corolla flat and controlled during cornering. The Fiesta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Corolla’s wheelbase is 8.3 inches longer than on the Fiesta (106.3 inches vs. 98 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Corolla is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Fiesta.

The Corolla SE handles at .82 G’s, while the Fiesta Titanium Sedan pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Corolla a Mid-size car, while the Fiesta Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Corolla has 12.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (97.5 vs. 85.1).

The Corolla has 2.4 inches more front hip room, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 10.2 inches more rear legroom and 5.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 27.1 inches, while the Fiesta’s liftover is 28.3 inches.


The Corolla’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Fiesta SE/Titanium.

The Corolla has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Consumer Reports rated the Corolla’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Fiesta’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Corolla has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Fiesta has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SE/Titanium.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Corolla detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Fiesta doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Corolla LE/XLE/SE/XSE has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Corolla has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Fiesta doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

The Corolla will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Corolla will retain 46.66% to 47.64% of its original price after five years, while the Fiesta only retains 33.69% to 46.67%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla is less expensive to operate than the Fiesta because it costs $279 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Corolla than the Fiesta, including $46 less for a muffler, $11 less for front brake pads and $28 less for a power steering pump.


Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Fiesta isn't recommended.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Ford Fiesta by over seven to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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