Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2017 Ford Focus VS 2017 Fiat 500 Near Avondale, AZ

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2017 Ford Focus

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2017 Fiat 500

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 500 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 500 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Focus Titanium’s 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 500 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Focus SEL/Titanium has standard Reverse Sensing System to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The 500 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

To help make backing safer, the Focus Titanium’s 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 500 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 500 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 500 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.

The Ford Focus weighs 416 to 682 pounds more than the Fiat 500. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Lighter cars are also affected more by crosswinds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Focus is safer than the Fiat 500:





5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Stress

239 lbs.

406 lbs.

Neck Compression

54 lbs.

152 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

168/250 lbs.

436/571 lbs.




4 Stars

3 Stars




Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

173 lbs.

256 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

404/227 lbs.

479/866 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 Sedan is safer than the 500:




Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

7 cm

7 cm

Chest Evaluation



Max Chest Compression

19 cm

19 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

3.63/2.27 kN

8.2/4.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



Tibia forces R/L

2.6/3.7 kN

6.4/4.8 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Focus is safer than the Fiat 500:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

293 lbs.

684 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

60 G’s

70 G’s

Hip Force

626 lbs.

852 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

3 Stars




Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

698 lbs.

1103 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the Focus is 2.8% less likely to roll over than the 500.

Warranty Comparison

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

There are almost 19 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 500’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 72 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Focus has more powerful engines than the 500:




Focus SE Sedan 1.0 turbo 3 cyl.

123 HP

125 lbs.-ft.

Focus 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

160 HP

146 lbs.-ft.

500 1.4 SOHC 4 cyl.

101 HP

98 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

157 HP

183 lbs.-ft.

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




Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

10.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

17.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Focus SE Sedan SFE gets better fuel mileage than the 500:







1.0 3 cyl./6-spd. Manual

30 city/40 hwy

31 city/38 hwy

1.4 4 cyl./Manual


1.0 3 cyl./6-spd. Auto

27 city/38 hwy

27 city/33 hwy

1.4 4 cyl./Auto


2.0 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

26 city/38 hwy



On the EPA test cycle the Focus SEL/Titanium Auto 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the 500 Auto with its standard engine (26 city/36 hwy vs. 27 city/33 hwy).

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 500 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Focus has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500 (12.4 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Focus has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 500 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Focus’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the 500:




Front Rotors

10.9 inches

10.1 inches

The Focus stops much shorter than the 500:





80 to 0 MPH

210 feet

237 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Focus has larger standard tires than the 500 (195/65R15 vs. 185/55R15). The Focus’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500 (215/50R17 vs. 205/40R17).

The Ford Focus’ wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500 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 500, 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 500 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Focus has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The 500’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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

The Focus’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 500 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Focus’ wheelbase is 13.7 inches longer than on the 500 (104.3 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Focus is 5.8 inches wider in the front and 5.4 inches wider in the rear than on the 500.

The Focus’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (58.5% to 41.5%) than the 500’s (63% to 37%). This gives the Focus more stable handling and braking.

The Focus Titanium Sedan handles at .88 G’s, while the 500 pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Focus Titanium Hatchback handles at .90 G’s, while the 500 pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Focus Titanium Hatchback goes through Road and Track’s slalom faster than the 500 (69.2 vs. 68.9 MPH).

The Focus SE Sedan performs Popular Mechanics’ emergency lane change maneuver 6.1 MPH faster than the 500 (60.66 vs. 54.6 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

The design of the Ford Focus amounts to more than styling. The Focus has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .295 Cd. That is significantly lower than the 500 (.332 to .359) 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 500 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Focus Sedan is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the 500 is rated a Subcompact.

The Focus has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500 can only carry 4.

The Focus has 15.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500 (90.7 vs. 75.5).

The Focus has 2.4 inches more front legroom, 6 inches more front hip room, 6.2 inches more front shoulder room, 2.4 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom, 10.2 inches more rear hip room and 6.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Focus Sedan has a much larger trunk than the 500 with its rear seat up (13.2 vs. 9.5 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 500 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Focus has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 500 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Focus’ standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Fiat does not offer a locking feature on the 500’s power windows.

The Focus Titanium’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches. The 500 ’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Focus’ standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

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 500 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 500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Focus 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 500 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Focus Titanium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Focus’ optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 500 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Focus Titanium has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Focus SEL/Titanium’s standard dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 500 doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Focus SE/SEL/Titanium has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer rear vents.

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 500 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Focus owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Focus with a number “1” insurance rate while the 500 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Focus is less expensive to operate than the 500 because typical repairs cost much less on the Focus than the 500, including $211 less for a water pump, $22 less for front brake pads, $106 less for fuel injection, $79 less for a fuel pump and $92 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

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

The Ford Focus outsold the Fiat 500 by almost twelve to one during the 2016 model year.

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