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 Chevrolet Spark doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
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 Spark doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
The Focus Titanium’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Spark doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
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 Spark doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Focus and the Spark have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.
The Ford Focus weighs 616 to 802 pounds more than the Chevrolet Spark. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
The Focus’ corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Spark’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Focus has a standard 590-amp battery. The Spark’s 375-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
The Focus SE Sedan’s standard 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. produces 25 more horsepower (123 vs. 98) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (125 vs. 94) than the Spark’s 1.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Focus’ standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 62 more horsepower (160 vs. 98) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (146 vs. 94) than the Spark’s 1.4 DOHC 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the Focus SFE Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Spark Manual (30 city/40 hwy vs. 29 city/38 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 Spark doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Focus has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Spark (12.4 vs. 9 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 Spark doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better stopping power the Focus’ brake rotors and drums are larger than those on the Spark:
Opt Rear Rotors
The Focus offers optional antilock four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Spark. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes which work much harder than conventional brakes.
For better traction, the Focus has larger standard tires than the Spark (195/65R15 vs. 185/55R15). The Focus’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Spark (215/50R17 vs. 185/55R15).
The Focus’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Spark’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Focus offers optional 17-inch wheels. The Spark’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.
The Ford Focus’ wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Chevrolet Spark 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 Spark, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.
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 Chevrolet Spark 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 Spark’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.
The Focus has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Spark doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
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 Spark doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Focus’ wheelbase is 10.4 inches longer than on the Spark (104.3 inches vs. 93.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Focus is 6.7 inches wider in the front and 5.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Spark.
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 Spark doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Focus Hatchback is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the Spark is rated a Small Station Wagon.
The Focus has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Spark can only carry 4.
The Focus has 7.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Spark (90.7 vs. 83).
The Focus has 1.4 inches more front legroom, 5.7 inches more front hip room, 4.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear legroom, 4.8 inches more rear hip room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Spark.
The Focus Hatchback has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Spark with its rear seat up (23.3 vs. 11.1 cubic feet). The Focus Hatchback has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Spark with its rear seat folded (43.9 vs. 27.2 cubic feet).
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 Spark 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 Spark doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
The Focus’ standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Spark LT.
The Focus Titanium’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Spark LT’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
The Focus’ standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. The Spark LS doesn’t offer power locks.
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 Spark doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.
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 Chevrolet Spark’s available Passive Entry with Keyless Start doesn’t unlock the trunk.
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 Spark doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Focus’ optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Spark doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.
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 Spark 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 Spark 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 Spark doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The Focus SEL/Titanium’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Spark doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Focus SE/SEL/Titanium has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Spark doesn’t offer rear vents.
The Focus SEL/Titanium’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Spark’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
With standard voice command, the Focus offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Spark doesn’t offer a voice control system.
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 Spark doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Focus is less expensive to operate than the Spark because typical repairs cost much less on the Focus than the Spark, including $57 less for a water pump, $119 less for an alternator, $50 less for front brake pads, $38 less for front struts and $230 less for a power steering pump.
The Focus was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 7 of the last 18 years. The Spark 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 Spark has never been an “All Star.”
The Ford Focus outsold the Chevrolet Spark by over five to one during the 2016 model year.