2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla 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 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 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 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, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Corolla’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.

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’ 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 Corolla’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 19 more horsepower (139 vs. 120) and 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (126 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 49 more horsepower (169 vs. 120) and 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

 

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Fiesta

 

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

 

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

Transmission

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

A six-speed manual is optional on the Toyota Corolla SE/XSE 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 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.

The Toyota Corolla has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Corolla’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 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 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 (225/40R18 vs. 195/50R16).

The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 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 18-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

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

Passenger Space

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

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

The Corolla 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 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 easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the Fiesta’s liftover is 28.3 inches.

Ergonomics

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/ST-Line.

The Corolla’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 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 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 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Fiesta doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Corolla XLE/XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Fiesta doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

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.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Ford Fiesta isn’t available as a four-door hatchback.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Ford Fiesta by almost six to one during 2018.

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

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