Ford Fiesta

A review of the new Ford Fiesta

The Good

The 2012 Ford Fiesta benefits from a stylish exterior, comfortable seating and ride quality that rivals that seen in much more expensive vehicles. It is also a great gas saver.

The Bad

The acceleration is fairly weak, thanks to a transmission which seems uncertain about when it wants to shift. It suffers from some ergonomics drawbacks, and the manual transmission isn’t much better than the tentative automatic.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a reliable and affordable domestic vehicle that helps you save gas, the 2012 Ford Fiesta is an option you should take into close consideration. It stacks up well to its competitors, so issues like styling and desired features may be the tipping point in your decision.


The new Ford Fiesta is available in five different trim packages, three of which are four-door sedans and two of which are five-door hatchbacks. The sedans include the S, SE and SEL trim packages, and the hatchbacks are available in SE and SES variations. The cost of a Ford Fiesta varies, depending on the body style and trim package you choose; five-door SES is the most expensive, and the four-door S is the least expensive.

MSRP: $13,200 to $17,500

Average paid: $13,089 to $17,118


Acceleration and power

Ford Fiesta reviews are virtually unanimous in pointing out that the vehicle has some fairly significant limitations in the arena of acceleration and power. This is due in large part to the fact that the inline-4 engine generates a maximum of 120 horsepower, which isn’t much even for an economy car. However, acceleration is further hampered by the uncertain automatic transmission, which doesn’t optimize the full capabilities of the modest engine. Even so, the 2012 Fiesta goes 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds, thanks largely to the vehicle’s nimble weight and slim profile.

Handling and braking

The ride quality, steering and handling are all what you would expect from an entry-level subcompact car: decent but not exceptional. Under normal driving conditions, you won’t be left wanting for responsiveness or cornering, and the steering is fairly responsive. The car is very easy to control, even at highway speeds.

The same is true of the braking: it is functional, but not extraordinary. Brake fade is not an issue. Given the car’s relatively light weight, the brakes are able to bring it to a full stop from highway speeds in a short period of time.



While the 2012 Ford Fiesta’s official seating capacity is five passengers, any more than four fully grown adults would surely feel cramped in its snug interior. Knee room in the rear seats is suboptimal, even for this vehicle class. However, the front seats offer decent headroom, and all seats are reasonably comfortable, all things considered. The front seats are also reinforced to promote good posture, which is an added plus. Incline and recline angles are excellent.


MP3 capability is standard on all 2012 Fiesta models, except for the four-door S base trim package. Auxiliary input jacks are standard on all models, and four to six built-in speakers power a reasonably decent but modest OEM stereo. Speed-sensitive volume adjustment is standard on all models, but Bluetooth capability is not available for the four-door S trim package, though it is standard on both five-door hatchback models. On the whole, you will get adequate but not spectacular bang for your buck in terms of interior features.

Cargo space

If you need a lot of cargo space, you are shopping in the wrong vehicle class. The new Ford Fiesta tops out at 12.8 feet of cargo space.


On the whole, the car scored well on crash and safety tests. The only area in which there was significant room for improvement was in the area of leg and knee safety on front and side impact, but that is to be expected in a car with very limited legroom. Standard safety features include a tire pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes, side curtain airbags for both seating rows, and front and side impact airbags for the driver and passenger.


The 2011 Ford Fiesta model marked the first time Ford used this brand name in 30 years. A few things are new in the 2012 model, including blind spot mirrors, expanded options and stylistic upgrades.

  • Transmission: 5-speed with overdrive (automatic and manual options available)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Engine Type: Inline-4
  • Engine Size: 1.6 L
  • Horsepower: 120 @ 6350
  • Torque: 112 @ 5000
  • MPG, City: 29 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 38 MPG
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