2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats 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 Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid 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 Hybrid’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 Hybrid’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 Hybrid 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 Toyota Corolla Hybrid weighs 422 to 513 pounds more than the Ford Fiesta. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla Hybrid 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 hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Corolla Hybrid’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Fiesta’s camshafts. If the Fiesta’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The Fiesta’s redline is at 6000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Corolla Hybrid has a 4000 RPM redline.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla Hybrid 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’ 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 Corolla Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Fiesta Auto (53 city/52 hwy vs. 27 city/37 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the Corolla Hybrid’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 Corolla Hybrid’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 Corolla Hybrid comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Fiesta.

The Corolla Hybrid 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

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

 

Corolla

Fiesta

Front Rotors

10.8 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

7.9” drums

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid has standard 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 that work much harder than conventional brakes.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corolla Hybrid has larger tires than the Fiesta (195/65R15 vs. 185/60R15).

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid’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

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Ford Fiesta has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Corolla Hybrid has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Corolla Hybrid 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 Hybrid’s wheelbase is 8.3 inches longer than on the Fiesta (106.3 inches vs. 98 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Corolla Hybrid is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Fiesta.

Chassis

The design of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid amounts to more than styling. The Corolla Hybrid has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .28 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 Corolla Hybrid get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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

The Corolla Hybrid has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (88.6 vs. 85.1).

The Corolla Hybrid has 2.4 inches more front hip room, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 3.6 inches more rear legroom and 5.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Corolla Hybrid has a larger trunk than the Fiesta Sedan (13.1 vs. 12.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla Hybrid easier. The Corolla Hybrid’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the Fiesta’s liftover is 28.3 inches.

Ergonomics

The Corolla Hybrid’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 Corolla Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Fiesta SE/ST-Line’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla Hybrid the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Fiesta can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Corolla Hybrid 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/ST-Line.

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

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Corolla Hybrid has standard extendable sun visors. The Fiesta doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Corolla Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford offers heated mirrors for extra charge, but only on the Fiesta SE/ST-Line.

The Corolla Hybrid 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 Hybrid 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.

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

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