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2010 Corolla XLE vs Focus SE

laurenplaurenp Posts: 3
edited July 2014 in Ford
Hello everyone!

I'm looking for some advice on which may be the better vehicle for me to purchase. I'm planning on keeping this car for a number of years, and am used to driving my 2000 Mitsubishi Mirage so anything newer feels like I'm being spoiled and any car will do.

I'm a school teacher, so definitely budget conscious, and have qualified for 0% 60 months financing. I also am a recent grad so qualify for a $500 discount with Ford and a $1000 discount with Toyota (both to be verified with the dealer, of course). My trade-in value will be $600 (began at $400).

A friend of a friend has worked at a local Ford for years and is offering the focus SE at invoice price. So after all taxes etc. are added, and the $500 student discount and trade-in downpayment, the monthly payment is $292 for 60 months. I'm okay with that.

Toyota, after the previously mentioned trade-in and student discounts, would be $276 for the LE, and I think I could get the XLE for about $287/month.

My question is: there are obvious differences between the two cars - brand, engine (focus 2.0L vs corolla 1.8L), various features, interior/exterior looks...but to me - someone who has driven the same car for the past 10 years (my only car I've owned, I'm 30) - they both seem so similar that for such a similar overall monthly payment (and I know the discounts hide the base price a bit - they are both close to invoice if not invoice) I'm not sure which to choose. I like them both for different reasons, and the 2-years free toyota maint. is incentive for sure. The Toyota guy said their LE was similar to the focus SE - but with the discount I could get the XLE for similar cost to the original LE quote, which may put Totoya over the top.

So I would like to decide by Thursday, but ideally tonight! How ever the steering is, the braking, etc., I'll adjust - so I'm not terribly concerned about the basic differences of how the cars handle. They seem similar to me in reliability and safety, though not so similar in holding value (but 10 years from now, that $1000 is not as important as the 10 years I spent driving it everyday). Are there certain features that, being an older car owner, I would only learn that I really appreciated after I purchased and drove the car for a while...or certain features that I'd learn I wish I had only after purchase?

Any tips please???!

I'm not sure if this link works, but it is a side by side comparison of a few focus and toyota models. Even looking at this they seem so similar to me. 22B0&v3=USC00FOC122D0&v4=USC00TOC041D0&v5=USC00FOC122D0&spAd=y



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    If you like both cars about the same, why not buy based on price? The XLE costs less, and is likely to have better resale value (based on history).

    One think you might do if you haven't already is take both cars on a LONG drive--over a weekend if possible. Both cars are available in rental fleets, so that is not difficult to do. That is important since you intend to keep the car for a long time.
  • laurenplaurenp Posts: 3
    Thanks for your input! Based on price is how I first decided on the corolla vs focus. Once I got a range (around $300) I realized that for a few extra $$ per month (of course, over 60 months) I could have a few extra's, which I feel I deserve. I guess what I'm now wondering is that, looking back at the price, are the options in the Focus SE enough to outweigh the additional $3/month? (I miss typed above - the focus SE would be $292/month, $200 down, the corolla XLE would be 289/month (not 287) with $0 free maintenance and as you said historically better resale value. They are so close in cost and I just don't really know what all the options are/what they mean/what owners find to be the most useful and what ones they find to be the most pointless! :) (I'm in a time crunch here, too - so most of my research, aside from seeing them (not side by side) will be done online from here on out!)

  • laurenplaurenp Posts: 3
    oh and the drive for a long weekend - GREAT idea. I wish I had the time...!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    It's pretty simple. No one can tell you the value of different features, to YOU. You have to decide that. But first, decide which car you want to DRIVE every day for many years. If they are about equal, then look at the different features. Also consider whether it's easy to add a feature to a car that doesn't have it. If for example you really love Sync, and you don't think you'd want to be without it, that's not available on a Corolla at any price.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    I have a 2009 XLE and just love it. From the steering to the braking, from the moonroof to the 400 watt JBL stereo system, from the ride and handling to the engine power, I just am totally happy my purchase.
  • I too was trying to decide between the 2 cars plus a Kia Forte. Even though the KIa looked the best of all 3 and had the most features, I kept reading about very low resell value and the jury was just not in on Kia long term quality.

    I then drove the Focus and Corolla LE and while the Focus had more bells and whistles, the interior just looked so cheap and "plasticky" The Corolla also looks much better on the outside in my opinion. I just didn't like the squared off edges of the Focus car body. Even though the Corolla was described as the "Wal-Mart" of small cars by one big web review, it just looked more stylish and drove more smoothly than the Focus. I'm sorry, the more I looked at the front grill on the Focus, the uglier it got.

    That being said, I LOVED test driving the 2010 Ford Fusion. Such a beautiful car and a smooth ride. They just would not come down enough on the price so I got my Corolla for about $16,000
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    As a current 2009 and four time Corolla owner, in my opinion you made the best choice!

    Not sure what the "Walmart of small cars" means but if it means the best car for reliability, longevity and most bang for your buck, then that's a good description.
  • I think I made a good choice as well.

    What the reviewer was saying with his "Wal-Mart" comment was that the Corolla was rather Vanilla in style and amenities compared to 2010 models such as the Kia Forte, Mazda 3 and a few other cars. But to me, the new Corolla style reminds me of a slightly smaller Camry and I like the look of both Toyota models
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    I was toying with buying the Mazda 3 for a while also, but I stayed with the Corolla.
This discussion has been closed.