Greene Ford Compares 2018 Ford Focus VS 2018 Fiat 500L Near Flowery Branch, GA

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2018 Ford Focus

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2018 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 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 500L 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 500L 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 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, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights and 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



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.

There are over 8 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.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 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 fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 77 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 32nd, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 10 places higher in reliability than Fiat.

Engine Comparison

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 SE Sedan SFE gets better fuel mileage than the 500L:







3 cyl./Manual

30 city/40 hwy




3 cyl./Auto

27 city/38 hwy

22 city/30 hwy


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







4 cyl./Manual

25 city/34 hwy




S/SE 4 cyl./Auto

26 city/38 hwy

22 city/30 hwy



SEL/Titanium 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/34 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 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

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 a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. 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.

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 500L doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

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 1.3 inches wider in the front and .6 inches 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 350 pounds less than the Fiat 500L.

The Focus is 7.5 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

The Focus has 3.1 inches more front legroom and 3.4 inches more rear hip room than the 500L.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Focus Hatchback has a larger cargo area with its rear seat up 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 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.

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 500L 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 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

The Focus will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Focus will retain 35.64% to 41.81% of its original price after five years, while the 500L only retains 32.9% to 33.7%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Focus will be $2848 to $5838 less than for the Fiat 500L.

Recommendations Comparison

The Focus was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 7 of the last 18 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 17 years. The 500L has never been an “All Star.”

The Ford Focus outsold the Fiat 500L by over 96 to one during the 2017 model year.

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