Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW i3 VS 2016 Ford Focus Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW i3

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2016 Ford Focus

Safety Comparison

The i3 offers optional Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Focus Electric doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The BMW i3 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The i3 has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the i3 and the Focus Electric have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rear parking sensors.

Warranty Comparison

The i3 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Focus Electric’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Focus Electric’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Focus Electric.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 12th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

The i3’s electric motor produces 27 more horsepower (170 vs. 143) than the Focus Electric’s electric motor.

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW i3 is faster than the Ford Focus Electric:


Focus Electric

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

10.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

10.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.5 sec

3.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.1 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

80 MPH

Top Speed

92 MPH

85 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Focus Electric (137 city/111 hwy vs. 110 city/99 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 REx gets better fuel mileage running on electricity alone than the Focus Electric (127 city/107 hwy vs. 110 city/99 hwy MPGe).

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 81 miles, 7% further than the Focus Electric’s 76 mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the i3 REx can then continue for 68.9 more miles on its internal combustion engine, while the Focus Electric has to recharge for 3 hours and 30 minutes. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 20 hours.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The i3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Focus Electric are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the Focus Electric:


Focus Electric

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Focus Electric. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i3 is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Focus Electric.

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the Focus Electric’s (32.3 feet vs. 36 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 1000 pounds less than the Ford Focus Electric.

The i3 is 1 foot, 3.5 inches shorter than the Focus Electric, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The i3 has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Focus Electric with its rear seat up (15.1 vs. 14.2 cubic feet). The i3 has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Focus Electric with its rear seat folded (36.9 vs. 33.2 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the i3’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The Focus Electric’s useful cargo area space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Ergonomics Comparison

When different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer a memory system.

The i3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Focus Electric’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the i3 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The i3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Focus Electric has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the i3 offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The i3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The i3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the i3 will retain 46.75% to 47.37% of its original price after five years, while the Focus Electric only retains 30.29%.

Recommendations Comparison

Both the BMW i3 and Ford Focus Electric won four awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue.

 The i3 is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The Focus Electric is not ranked.

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