2012 Ford Fiesta Review

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8.0
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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

You could do better if you most value space and comfort, but the 2012 Ford Fiesta packs in a lot of style and substance.

The 2012 Ford Fiesta certainly isn't the most affordable small car, but especially if you consider the Fiesta's stylish appearance and surprisingly stout feature lists, it's one of the better ways to downsize—without feeling like you're moving downscale, that is.

Last year, Ford brought a version of its very successful European Fiesta to the U.S. market, and we think this model hits the spot, considering how Americans are increasingly wanting to get into smaller, more economical cars that don't sacrifice features and amenities.

In some respects, what you see is what you get with the Fiesta. This little Ford looks stylish and even a bit racy, with an urban-runabout element that had been missing from Ford's U.S. lineup. In following, the Fiesta drives just as dashing as it looks, with impressive steering and handling and a nimble, maneuverable feel that's better than most softened, numbed appliances its size. On the other hand, with 120 hp and 1.6 liters for about 2,600 pounds, the Fiesta is responsive but never quick.

Despite a top-notch interior that will pass the first-glance, first-date test in flying colors, try to pack a few friends into the Fiesta and you'll become aware of some typical small-car sacrifices. Its narrow body and tight backseat whittle down its usefulness for long road trips, though we like the added versatility of the hatchback models. We're also not so thrilled about the Fiesta's instrument-panel layout, which clumps audio controls into an odd array of slanted buttons.

Back to the initial point, Ford has held the line on pricing for 2012; the base Fiesta S starts at just $13,995 and includes a decent sound system with auxiliary input, a split-folding back seat, rear heater ducts, A/C, power locks, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel--none of them to be taken for granted in this class of vehicle. Safety ratings have been impressive, and a driver's knee bag is even included in all versions. Fully load a top-of-the-line SES hatchback and you could hit about $23k, but you'll have a small car with leather seats, premium audio, the voice-controlled Sync Bluetooth and USB interface, and an interior that has no hint of econobox.

But that begs a question: At that price, why not get the somewhat roomier, more refined Focus, or a base (but perceived as more upscale) MINI Cooper? The answer it forces is that Ford has almost--but not quite--purged the baggage of subcompacts with this great little hatch and sedan. Keep it simple and affordable, and it makes a lot of (very stylish) sense.

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October 25, 2015
2016 Ford Fiesta 5-Door HB SE

Good economy car overall, except for problematic auto transmission design.

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Generally, I really like my Fiesta. It's fine as a little commuter/get-around car. This car would be near-perfect, but for a problem with the automatic transmission design that is hard to get past, so I would... + More »
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July 20, 2015
2016 Ford Fiesta 4-Door Sedan S

Just go and drive one!

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I have several cars; New Golf R, Porsche 911, New SLK. All very good but not as good as my 2016 3 cyl Fiesta Zetec S. The chassis is perfect. Everyone should be made to drive one. I can't see how other cars in... + More »
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June 10, 2016
For 2015 Ford Fiesta

Great car love it!!!

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I would buy another one!! Great on the road nice ride and handling. Great on fuel
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September 28, 2015
2015 Ford Fiesta 5-Door HB Titanium

Cute economical car

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I just purchased this car a few days ago & I am loving the gas mileage and maneuverability! I traded my 2011 Acura RDX for it. I wanted something more fuel efficient and with us already having my husbands SUV... + More »
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May 13, 2015
2015 Ford Fiesta 5-Door HB S

Agile and comfortable

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The 2015 Fiesta hatchback is a fun to drive, comfortable and quiet small car. The manual transmission shifts very smoothly.
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April 13, 2015
For 2015 Ford Fiesta

Fun to drive, good handling, great gas mileage.

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The Fiesta gets fantastic mileage around town. It runs well at highway speed but mileage goes down quickly as the speed goes up. You really have to keep the revs up to feel it's power but it is there.
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August 6, 2015
2014 Ford Fiesta 5-Door HB SE

Good Value Except for Trans Design Flaw

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Overall, the Fiesta would be a fine economy car, but there is a flaw in the auto trans design, which is the #1 owner complaint. Because of it, there is slipping, hesitation, and shuddering/shaking. The dealer... + More »
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April 17, 2015
For 2014 Ford Fiesta

get the manual, fun car

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Awesome car gor the money. Average fuel econony is at 34mpg. Lots of fun!
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March 4, 2016
For 2013 Ford Fiesta

Clutch and transmission are a very bad make; the clutch has been replaced 3 times in 5000 miles!

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The clutch and transmission are horrible! The clutch has been recalled rwice and relplaced 3 times within 5000 miles!
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October 8, 2015
For 2013 Ford Fiesta

Lost opportunity to make it much better

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Great little car, great mileage in town and fun to drive. But it is woefully under powered. Engine spools up nicely, but with such low gearing, it takes a while to get up to speed. And highway mileage isn't... + More »
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