Jones Ford Compares 2016 Ford Focus VS 2016 Fiat 500L Near Goodyear, AZ

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2016 Ford Focus

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2016 Fiat 500L

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Focus have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Fiat 500L doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Focus are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Fiat 500L doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Focus’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 500L doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Focus (except S) offers optional Reverse Sensing System to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The 500L doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

To help make backing safer, the Focus’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 500L doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Focus (except S) offers optional SYNC ®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500L doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Focus and the 500L have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available blind spot warning systems.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Ford Focus is safer than the 500L:



Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

7 cm

14 cm

Chest Evaluation



Max Chest Compression

19 cm

22 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

3.63/2.27 kN

10.1/3.9 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



For its top level performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal impact, side impact, rear impact, roof-crush crash tests, and an “Acceptable” rating in the newer small overlap frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Focus as a “Top Pick” for 2015. The 500L is not a “Top Pick” for 2015.

Warranty Comparison

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Focus 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500L. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500L ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Focus’ 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the 500L runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 23 times as many Ford dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Focus’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Focus has a standard 590-amp battery. The 500L’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Focus’ reliability will be 158% better than the 500L.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 54 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 33rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 24th in reliability. With 85 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 30th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Focus 4 cyl. is faster than the Fiat 500L (manual transmissions tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

16.4 sec

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Focus 4 cyl. is faster than the Fiat 500L (automatics tested):



Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.6 sec

8.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

21.3 sec

23.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.1 sec

9.5 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.6 sec

4.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

86 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Focus SFE 3 cyl. SMG gets better fuel mileage than the 500L Auto (28 city/40 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Focus gets better fuel mileage than the 500L:



1.0 turbo 3 cyl./6-spd. Manual

30 city/42 hwy



2.0 4 cyl./6-spd. Manual

26 city/36 hwy

25 city/33 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

2.0 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

26 city/38 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto


24 city/33 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Focus 1.0 ECOBoost’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 500L doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Focus stops much shorter than the 500L:



60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Focus Titanium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500L (235/40R18 vs. 225/45R17).

The Focus Titanium’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500L’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Focus Titanium offers optional 18-inch wheels. The 500L’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Ford Focus’ wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500L only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Focus Titanium offers an optional full size spare tire so your trip isn’t interrupted by a flat. A full size spare isn’t available on the 500L, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Focus has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Fiat 500L has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Focus has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Focus flat and controlled during cornering. The 500L’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Focus’ wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the 500L (104.3 inches vs. 102.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Focus is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than on the 500L.

The Focus SE Hatchback handles at .83 G’s, while the 500L Lounge pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Focus Titanium Hatchback executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the 500L Lounge (26.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Focus may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Fiat 500L.

The Focus is 7.9 inches shorter in height than the 500L, making the Focus much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

The design of the Ford Focus amounts to more than styling. The Focus has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .295 Cd. That is lower than the 500L (.31 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Focus get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Focus uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 500L doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Focus SE Hatchback is quieter than the 500L Lounge (43 vs. 45 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Focus Hatchback is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the 500L is rated a Small Station Wagon.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Focus Hatchback has a larger cargo area than the 500L with its rear seat up (23.3 vs. 22.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The Focus automatic offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 500L doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Focus’ available exterior PIN entry system. The 500L doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

Intelligent Access standard on the Focus Titanium allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500L doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Focus has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the 500L only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Focus SE/Titanium has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500L doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Focus SE/Titanium’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 500L doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Focus Titanium’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 500L doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Focus will be $2138 to $3558 less than for the Fiat 500L.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Focus won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Fiat 500L only won one award.

The Focus was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 7 of the last 17 years. The 500L has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Focus was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 4 of the last 16 years. The 500L has never been an “All Star.”

The Ford Focus outsold the Fiat 500L by almost twenty to one during the 2015 model year.

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