Let's hatch it out - Ford Focus Vs Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra and the Ford Focus have been a staple in our top five sold cars for the last five years. Both British manufactured, their slick styling, value for money and overall running costs have made them a firm favourite with Brit motorists – but which one of these hot hatches truly rules the roost?

Drive, performance and economy

There’s plenty of debate when it comes to overall handling for both cars, and if VW’s recent emissions-gate is anything to go by, then manufacturer C02 emission figures should always be taken with a pinch of salt. That said, most car reviewers unanimously agree that the Focus delivers razor sharp dynamics in any age of the Focus. Updates in the cars power steering make the car more agile and compliant around country roads. There are high levels of grip if you want to just get from A to B, but still room for driver interaction if you want to do so with a smile on your face.

The 1.0-litre Ecoboost is ideal for ‘around the town’ driving, with enough poke to still give strong acceleration from low rev, while the 1.0-litre 123bhp version delivers better acceleration for motorway driving. Fuel per 100 miles averages £7-£12, depending on engine sizes.

Ford’s Ecoboost engine range is also a big plus for any drivers looking avoid road tax, which is something Vauxhall is still yet to utilise.

The Astra also doesn’t disappoint, delivering plenty of involvement and grip to the road. Ride quality can sometimes let down the most recent model – with cabin noise a particular problem on the cheaper engine versions. That said, the Astra achieves more speed through a set of bends than its nearest rivals, the Focus and SEAT Leon, and a huge range of petrol and diesel engines are available too, including the efficient 1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX diesel which comes in either 108bhp or 134 bhp – perfect for both town and motorway driving. Fuel per 100 miles average £7-£14, depending on engine sizes.

The Astra still lacks of the level of driving response that you would find on the Focus, and despite the comprehensive (and sometimes confusing) model range, top of the range cars are expensive when compared to Ford’s leading seller.

Round one goes to: Ford Focus

Interior quality and practicality

A big selling point for any car is the quality and practicality of the cabin. As most motorists can spend upward of 24 hours a week driving, cabin quality can make-or-break when buying a car. Ford have always championed their vehicle’s refinement, however we’d argue that the Astra has not only caught up on build quality but also surpassed its British rival. Technology is probably where the Focus edges out the Astra slightly, featuring more intuitive controls and safety features.

The Astra boasts a less cluttered control panel and more expensive looking quality overall, we’d also argue that this is carried over into cabin access and seating positions too – with the Astra providing a much roomier experience.

Round two goes to: Vauxhall Astra

Styling, image and extras

On the surface we’d probably say that Ford has the edge over Vauxhall on British shores – just because of its reputation as the UK’s top car manufacturer. In terms of exterior style the Astra has always been consistent in delivering sharp, bold and often futuristic styling and the newer GTC model is one of our biggest growing finance models.

However, the Focus is a traditionally better-looking car, with a few more bells and whistles in terms of finishes and extras too. Buyers of the Focus can look forward to Active Parking Assist to help park hands-free, Active City Stop to help avoid accidents in slow-moving traffic and Driver Alert which constantly monitors your driving style to detect and tiredness or fatigue – to name a few.

Round three goes to: Ford Focus

Overall Verdict

If purely numbers drives you then the Focus clearly wins against the Astra, however it’s a very close call. In reality, either car is a pretty good winner as an investment with a wide variety of engines and models to suit most needs. If you’re looking to buy a car on finance and have decided on either a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra, check out or competitive car finance deals and our car finance calculator today.

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