Subaru Impreza vs Ford Focus

Comparing the Subaru Impreza and the Ford Focus


Right out of the gate, the all-new 2017 Subaru Impreza is winning heaps of praise from the automotive press and car buyers alike, for its sharp new styling, excellent handling and performance and impressive safety ratings. But the compact car category is a crowded one, and other top competitors like the popular Ford Focus are certainly worth a look. Let's take a closer look at how the Impreza and Focus compare in some key areas. Both are available as either a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback.

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  • All-wheel drive. This is a no-contest contest. Only the Subaru Impreza comes standard with symmetrical all-wheel drive, a crucial differentiator if you live in an area of the country that regularly experiences rough winters or even just have to regularly navigate rough back roads. Subaru's all-wheel-drive sends power to all four wheels all the time, greatly improving traction and handling on slippery surfaces, including snow and ice.

  • Performance. Both the Impreza and the base Ford Focus use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; the Impreza's produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque while the Focus' makes 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. The Focus has other models available at different price points and equipped with different types of engines, including the frugal SE that's powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder and gets up to 40 mpg highway and the performance-tuned 2.3-liter four-cylinder RS that cranks out 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. However, the Impreza uses a boxer engine, designed with horizontally-opposed pistons. This has a lower center of gravity than a traditional engine, which helps with traction and handling. Again, worth noting if you regularly drive in snow and ice or other slippery situations.

  • Safety. Both cars have five-star overall ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administratio, and the 2016 Impreza was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Only the Impreza however can be outfitted with Subaru's available EyeSight® driver assist technology. EyeSight uses two small cameras mounted on either side of the rearview mirror to monitor traffic movement, optimize cruise control, and warn you if you sway outside your lane. Subaru's Pre-Collision Braking feature can even apply full braking force in emergency situations, helping you avoid or reduce frontal impacts.