2019 Toyota Prius c vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Fiesta 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 Fiesta doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Toyota Prius c 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 Prius c’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 Fiesta doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius c 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, 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 Fiesta:

 

Prius c

Fiesta

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

38%

52%

Neck Compression

37 lbs.

118 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

373/348 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 Prius c is safer than the Fiesta Sedan:

 

Prius c

Fiesta

Overall Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head injury index

349

509

Peak Head Forces

67 G’s

77 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.5/.6 kN

2.7/1.8 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

.86%/.57%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia forces R/L

2.4/1.3 kN

5.7/3.4 kN

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 Prius c is safer than the Ford Fiesta:

 

Prius c

Fiesta

 

Front Seat

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Hip Force

366 lbs.

413 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Spine Acceleration

90 G’s

96 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

198

282

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 30.1% lower per vehicle registered than the Fiesta, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Warranty

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 Fiesta.

Reliability

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 65 points higher than the Fiesta.

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.

Engine

The Prius c’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (125 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Prius c

 

Auto

1.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

48 city/43 hwy

Fiesta

 

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

 

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Prius c’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Fiesta doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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

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 Fiesta doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Prius c stops shorter than the Fiesta:

 

Prius c

Fiesta

 

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

135 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

159 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Prius c’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Fiesta (100.4 inches vs. 98 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Prius c is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Fiesta.

For better maneuverability, the Prius c’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the Fiesta’s (31.4 feet vs. 34.4 feet).

Chassis

The Prius c is 11.1 inches shorter than the Fiesta Sedan, making the Prius c easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Toyota Prius c amounts to more than styling. The Prius c has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Fiesta (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Prius c get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Prius c a Compact car, while the Fiesta Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Prius c has 2.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (87.4 vs. 85.1).

The Prius c has .4 inches more front hip room, 3.8 inches more rear legroom, 1.6 inches more rear hip room and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius c has a much larger trunk than the Fiesta Sedan (17.1 vs. 12.8 cubic feet).

The Prius c has a much larger trunk than the Fiesta Hatchback with its rear seat up (17.1 vs. 14.9 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 Fiesta’s liftover is 28.3 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 Fiesta Sedan’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

The Prius c’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/ST-Line.

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 Fiesta doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Prius c has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Fiesta only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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

Economic Advantages

The Prius c will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Prius c will retain 40.31% to 41.41% of its original price after five years, while the Fiesta only retains 32.01% to 34.95%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius c is less expensive to operate than the Fiesta because it costs $270 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Prius c than the Fiesta, including $183 less for a muffler, $3 less for front brake pads and $5 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Toyota Prius outsold the Ford Fiesta by 69% during 2018.

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

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