The Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra are two of the UK’s most popular cars and that means there are lots of used examples to choose from. Both are brilliant and they’re closely matched in every area, so how do you work out which is better? Here’s our guide to the Focus vs Astra, looking at how the latest version of each car compares in key areas.
Interior and tech
The Focus and Astra both look good from the outside but how do they compare on the inside, and how easy are they to use? The good news is that you’ll feel at home and comfortable in either car, and they’re equipped to keep you entertained on longer journeys.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with both, so you can control your smartphone apps through the in-car screen. The Focus’s screen looks snazzier, although that’s not surprising since it was launched in 2018 while the Astra has been around since 2015. The Astra’s screen is quicker to react when you use it, however, especially if the Vauxhall you’re looking at is the most recent version (launched in November 2019) since this gained a newer infotainment system as well as updated exterior styling and engines.
On the whole, the Astra feels a bit nicer inside. The Focus is good, but the Astra has an extra feeling of quality to it, with materials that look and feel a bit more premium.
Boot space and practicality
A few millimeters here and there is all that separates the Focus and Astra in most external dimensions and their interiors are equally similar in size.
In the front seats there’s little to choose between them. You can easily get two adults in the back of either car, although three would be a bit of a squeeze on longer journeys. Taller adults will find slightly more space in the back of the Focus, but both are roomy for cars of this size.
On the whole, both cars are practical enough for families but when you’ve got the back seats in place the Astra has the edge on boot space. If you fold the back seats down for larger items you’ll get a bit more outright space in the Focus, so it’s slightly better suited to loading up with bicycles or a mammoth trip to the tip. Both cars have plenty of cubby holes and door pockets, as well as a pair of cup holders with sliding covers between the front seats.
Which is the best to drive?
The Focus and Astra are two of the most enjoyable cars of their type to drive, so which is best for you depends on your priorities.
Both are comfortable and easy to park, and are as happy around town as they are covering long distances on the motorway. But if you’re someone who enjoys their driving, and likes taking the country road home rather than the dual carriageway, you’ll find that the Focus feels a bit more fun, with an agile, balanced feel and steering that gives you real confidence behind the wheel.
If that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, then there’s not a huge amount to choose between the two cars. If comfort is a priority avoid any sportier trims (such as the ST-Line models in the Focus) because the ride may not be quite as cushy. Generally, the Focus’s ride comfort is slightly better, but both cars ride smoothly and make fine motorway cruisers because you don’t hear much road or wind noise inside either at higher speeds.
Which costs less to own?
Both cars are excellent value for money but you’ll generally find that the Astra costs slightly less to buy than the Focus.
When it comes to running costs, much will depend on which engine you go for. The petrol cars are more affordable to buy and the fuel will cost less at the pump, but the diesels return better fuel economy, with a top official average of 62.8mpg in the Focus and 65.7mpg in the Astra. Note however that the engine line-up in the Astra changed in 2019 and older models are less efficient.
You might see a few newer Focus models advertised with ‘mild hybrid’ technology. This is an extra electrical system attached to the petrol engine that helps reduce fuel economy slightly, but it’s not a full hybrid and won’t let you drive on electric power alone.
Safety and reliability
Both Ford and Vauxhall have a good reputation for reliability, although the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study – an independent customer satisfaction survey – ranks Vauxhall a few places higher than Ford. Both manufacturers sit way above the industry average though, which is positive news for prospective customers.
Should anything go wrong, both Ford and Vauxhall offer three-year, 60,000-mile warranties. That’s the norm for this type of car, although some rivals have much longer warranties with the seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty of the Kia Ceed a particular standout.
Both cars come with lots of safety features. The Focus was given a maximum five-star rating by safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2018, with strong scores in all areas. The Vauxhall Astra scored five stars back in 2015 and had almost identical scores. Both cars come with six airbags as standard. Automatic emergency braking is standard for the latest Focus but while many used Astras have this key safety feature others (especially older examples) may not, since it was an option for some models.
There’s a reason that the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra have been hugely popular for years. They’re both great family cars and which one is right for you depends largely on your priorities. If you want the best value, the nicest interior and the biggest boot the Astra is the one for you. The Focus is more fun to drive, has more up-to-date tech and some more efficient engine options. For those reasons it’s our winner here by the tiniest of margins.
You’ll find a huge range of high-quality used Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra cars for sale at Cazoo. Find the right one for you, then buy online and either have it delivered to your door or choose to collect it from one of our Customer Centres.