2019 Toyota Prius c vs. 2018 Ford Focus

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Prius c 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 Focus doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Prius c has a standard Pre-Collision System, which uses 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 Focus doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Prius c’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 Focus doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius c and the Focus have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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 Prius c is safer than the Ford Focus:


Prius c





4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

37 lbs.

41 lbs.

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

The Toyota Prius c has a better fatality history. The Prius c was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 14.9% lower per vehicle registered than the Focus, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius c 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 Focus.


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 Prius c’s reliability 80 points higher than the Focus.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 second in reliability, above the industry average. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Prius c gets better fuel mileage than the Focus:





Prius c



1.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

48 city/43 hwy




SFE 1.0 turbo 3 cyl.

30 city/40 hwy



2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/34 hwy



SFE 1.0 turbo 3 cyl.

27 city/38 hwy



S/SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/38 hwy



SEL/Titanium 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/34 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Prius c’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Focus doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Prius c uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Focus SE Sedan requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.


The Toyota Prius c comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Focus.

The Prius c has a standard 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 Focus doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Prius c stops shorter than the Focus:


Prius c



70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

135 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Prius c handles at .83 G’s, while the Focus SE Sedan pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Prius c’s turning circle is 4.6 feet tighter than the Focus’ (31.4 feet vs. 36 feet).


The Toyota Prius c may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 500 pounds less than the Ford Focus.

The Prius c is 1 foot, 4.3 inches shorter than the Focus Sedan, making the Prius c easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Prius c has .3 inches more front headroom and 1.8 inches more rear legroom than the Focus.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius c has a much larger trunk than the Focus Sedan (17.1 vs. 13.2 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Prius c easier. The Prius c’s trunk lift-over height is 25.7 inches, while the Focus’ liftover is 28.2 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Prius c’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Focus Sedan’s useful trunk space.

The Prius c’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Focus S/SE Sedan’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.


The Prius c’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Focus’ standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The Prius c 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 Focus doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius c is less expensive to operate than the Focus because it costs $324 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Prius c than the Focus, including $39 less for a muffler and $2 less for front brake pads.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Prius c will be $2291 to $5200 less than for the Ford Focus.

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

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