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STYLING | 8 out of 10
The front fascia is still an attractive amalgamation of creases, strakes and chrome, with headlamps that sweep back over blistered fenders...
There's enough sheet metal sculpting to give the Fiesta a sporty persona without it looking overwrought or discordant.
The stylish, soft-touch dash is a welcome upgrade from the cheap plastic typically found in compact cars...
Soft-touch materials where your hands fall, cost-cutting harsher stuff where they don't.
A four-door sedan version of the Fiesta is being launched simultaneously, but its styling is nowhere near as successful as the hatchback's.
There was quite the buzz around the introduction of the all-new 2012 Ford Fiesta to the U.S. last year, and we can see why. There's just no other subcompact that looks this daring or handsome, and we soundly agree with Ford's descriptors like "expressive" and "vibrant."
Overall, we're big fans of the crisp profile and arched roofline, as well as how the curves around the hatchback's rear pillar nip and tuck. Also of note: how the headlights sweep well back into the fenders--a styling cue we've seen more of in the new 2012 Ford Focus--and the high-mounted taillights, again in the hatch, that rise into the rear pillars. The four-door sedan doesn't raise our pulse nearly to the same degree--it feels a bit like an afterthought designed after the hatchback--but nevertheless it's neat and trim.
The 2012 Fiesta doesn't get any less exciting inside. The instrument panel is a but more angular and modeled than most in this class, deliberately based on mobile-phone keypads, with angled keys in the sculptured center stack, as well as controls for the sound system, heating, cooling, and ventilation, and other switches. Drivers can choose among seven "mood lighting" colors to illuminate areas like the cup holders and foot wells. Interior colors on higher trim levels aren't limited to standard black, but include hues like plum and cashmere, definitely distinctive for the class. In all, it looks great--but in execution it all doesn't work as well; this isn't the vehicle for those who want simplicity and function over form.
Ford has given the Fiesta an especially bright--some might say shocking, or garish--palette of colors, including ones like Lime Squeeze and Bright Magenta. But if you're less shout-out-loud, there are silver, black, and white shades, plus a new Oxford White package this year that includes the sharp contrast of tuxedo black. Also, a Race Red packag gets you a hot red-and-black leather seating theme, a red steering wheel, and other red trim.
Thankfully, the stylish 2012 Ford Fiesta sure doesn't have a hint of that bargain-basement small-car feel.