The 2013 Ford Fiesta definitely hints with its styling that it's a little more extroverted than most other subcompacts. And while the Ford Fiesta does have chassis tuning that's on the sporty side, it really is what it is: a light, maneuverable four-cylinder small car with respectable gas mileage figures.
Against the group of subcompacts that pairs a low sticker price with high mileage, the Fiesta manages to be one of the strongest performers, and its 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is actually enough to move the 2,600-pound Fiesta quite rapidly. It's not quick by any gauge (we're talking about ten seconds to 60 mpg), but there's a sense of responsiveness you might not expect considering a car that can hit 40 mpg.
The five-speed manual is our recommendation, among the two transmissions, with its light, precise feel. Otherwise the six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic that leaves a lot to be desired in low-speed driving, with some lurchiness and indecision, and it can simply take too long to downshift for more power.
Much like the original Mazda Miata, the Fiesta does a great job convincing you it has more performance credentials than it really does, and good steering and suspension tuning is key to this. The electric power steering system has just the right amount of weighting and feedback, and the Fiesta feels responsive and nimble, but secure enough for highway trips. the Fiesta feels nimble around town, secure enough on the highway. This is a short car, and noticeable nosedive when stopping quickly is the only bothersome trait.