Holden Cruze SRi-V vs Ford Focus Sport

20 March 2013

Holden Cruze SRi-V vs Ford Focus Sport

Holden Cruze SRi-V and Ford Focus Sport go head-to-head in this comparative review.

Value

Holden Cruze SRi-V

from $28,690

Spend as little as $22,490 to get this engine but the top-spec Cruze is still exceptional value. Standard on every new Cruze is the MyLink multimedia system and 7-inch touchscreen, and reverse assist. The SRi-V lacks satnav but adds 18-inch alloys, leather, keyless ignition and rear camera.

Ford Focus Sport

from $31,690

It's a pretty compelling package, coming as it does with Ford's excellent SYNC multimedia system with voice control, nine-speaker Sony sound, 5-inch screen with satnav, Bluetooth, cruise with speed limiter and 17-inch alloys. There's a drive-away deal on 2012 plate models, but the extra tech justifies the premium.

Design

Holden Cruze SRi-V

It's almost identical to the 2011 model first produced in Adelaide, except all models get bigger and cooler wheels. The Holden's interior is of perceptibly lower quality than the Ford's but you can have hatch or sedan shapes, both of which are of a generous size for this class.  

Ford Focus Sport

Hatch only. The sedan dropped from Sport spec when manufacture moved from Germany to Thailand. Pity. The sharp featured five-door's interior is pleasant enough with supportive front seats. The mass of tech function is enabled by a mass of buttons, which are pretty fussy.

Technology

Holden Cruze SRi-V

Holden transformed the base Cruze. The job was easier here thanks to the tasty 1.6-litre turbo four from Opel. It's the perfect match for the new six-speed manual. Watts link rear suspension, lower ride height and sports calibration make it a warmish hatch for $10K less than usual.  

Ford Focus Sport

Its 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine with decent outputs of 125kW/202Nm turns a six-speed twin-clutch auto. The engine's adequate, the transmission is the best of its type. A torque vectoring control on the front axle ensures super-sharp handling and direct steering. A turbo diesel is optional.

Safety

Holden Cruze SRi-V

As with the Focus, the Cruze has the full electronic array and the maximum stars. Yet the active safety inherent in its dynamics is even greater. Its sporty intent is underwritten by composure and poise and the immense grip of its Bridgestone tyres, biased to right-hand drive.  

Ford Focus Sport

When first driven in the US two years ago, the Focus convinced me Ford had turned a corner. A five-star crasher with the complete suite of safety measures, the solidity and quality is closer to Audi than Volkswagen, with extremely able dynamics.

Driving

Holden Cruze SRi-V

This new engine delivers a response Volkswagen buyers might recognise. Holden's torque converter auto is as fast as the Ford's and is better off the mark. Refinement and ride are exceptional. A return of 7.4L/100km is hardly unreasonable.

Ford Focus Sport

The Focus has matured since the previous model. That's as it should be but it's no longer such fun. It must be driven in sport mode to maintain momentum. Its adroit handling deserves greater torque. The 6.6L/100km thirst is enviable.  

Verdict

Holden Cruze SRi-V

19/25

Better luck
next time :(

Ford Focus Sport

19/25

Winner winner
chicken dinner!

At the outset I had no idea how this contest would go between mostly similar quality cars. That makes the purchase decision very subjective. What a pleasant dilemma for you.  

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Written by

Paul Pottinger

Published 20 March 2013

Published In

Head to Head

We compare, head to head, two similar models of competing manufacturer cars. Which do we prefer? Why? Find out in CarsGuide's Head To Head showdowns.