By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Have you heard the story about the domestic auto industry that kept claiming its products were as good as Japan's best? It's a twist on the tale of the boy who cried wolf. In Aesop's original, nobody believes the boy when things really do go bad. In our update, people are skeptical when things really do go good. That's the battle Ford faces in selling America on the most impressive, most recommendable, most buyable lineup a domestic automaker has offered in many drivers' lifetimes. Do we think the 2011 Ford Fiesta is as good as Japan's best in the category (the Honda Fit)? It's better. And if you don't believe us, blame the past practices of the domestic auto industry.
If you're searching the sub-compact segment for style, interior quality, driving dynamics and/or fuel efficiency, just put the 2011 Ford Fiesta at the top of your list and then try to beat it.
Two things everyone knows: (1) America can't make good small cars and (2) Americans don't like small cars. The 2011 Ford Fiesta is good enough to change both perception and reality.
Driving Impressions Many months before we drove the first U.S.-spec Fiesta, Ford gave us a week behind the wheel of the European version. Some of us were impressed, others blown away, and...everyone shared the same sentiment: "I hope they don't ruin the U.S. version." Hallelujah, they didn't. The Fiesta is comfortable and quiet on the highway, fun when you work the wheel and just feels pricier and more substantial – more European, really – than any of its competitors. Shortcomings? The fun part requires a little planning because there's not a lot of juice available at the bottom of the rev range, we think the dual-clutch auto deserves a manual control option, and some of us have reservations about long-haul seat comfort. But when you're talking about the best car in the class, that's really just nitpicking.
Ford's voice-controlled SYNC infotainment system continues to grow ever more robust and desirable.
Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors
In the upper, outside corner of the 2011 Ford Fiesta's side mirrors is a small secondary mirror that finds cars hiding in that nebulous area between peripheral vision and mirror coverage.
The 2011 Ford Fiesta boasts not only the sharpest sheetmetal in the category, it also has the most stylish and refined interior. Soft-touch materials and top-notch design permeate all trims, and you can outfit the Fiesta with features like heated leather seats, push-button start and selectable seven-color ambient lighting. A navigation system is the only glaring omission from the Fiesta's options list and instrument panel, but a four-inch multifunction LCD display carries some of that load.Exterior
The 2011 Ford Fiesta is available in two styles: four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. We're partial to the hatchback, which is the only style offered in Europe, but America still prefers sedans. Kudos to Ford for not crippling entry-priced Fiesta models with black bumpers and door handles and such; the 15-inch covered steel wheels are about as cheap as it gets, and the covers are decent. Still, the more you pay the better you look, and loaded models feature things like chrome-bezeled LED parking lamps and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Every 2011 Ford Fiesta comes with Ford's cool capless fuel filler.
A 2011 Ford Fiesta S Sedan starts just under $14,000 and includes air conditioning, four-speaker AM/FM audio system with auxiliary audio input jack, four-way adjustable steering wheel, a five-speed manual transmission and the same fun suspension and powertrain found in every Fiesta. It also gets all the safety goodies, like electronic stability control and seven airbags – including the category's first driver's-side knee airbag. Base model shortcomings include 15-inch covered steel wheels, roll-'em-up windows and not even the option of SYNC or SIRIUS.
A fully loaded 2011 Ford Fiesta includes a six-speed automatic transmission, leather seats, moonroof, keyless entry and start, voice-controlled SYNC smartphone integration, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, heated seats, satellite radio and a trip computer. Step back five or 10 years, read that list again, and try to imagine the price – and badge – on such a car.
The 2011 Ford Fiesta's four-cylinder engine is relatively smooth and strong, but it's more notable for its fuel efficiency than its power. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and Ford's first dual-clutch automatic transmission. Compared to a traditional automatic, the six-speed "PowerShift" unit delivers more direct engagement, faster shifts and greater fuel economy. We're not big fans of electric power steering systems, which generally deliver better fuel economy at the expense of driving feel, but the Fiesta's qualifies as one of the less compromised units. To attain Ford's much-hyped 40 mpg highway fuel economy rating, you have to pay for the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) Package, which makes the car a bit more aerodynamic, a tad lighter and probably compromises handling to some degree, thanks to special mileage-maxing tires.
120 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
112 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/38 (manual), 30/38 (auto), 30/40 (auto w/SFE package),
By HRRich on Saturday, April 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "overall cost, fuel mileage, handling, trunk is ok"
Cons: "Small cabin- ok commuter, not a family car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The Fiesta is good on gas and handles well for a car in this class. I have had no problems the present mileage of 64,000. I do have the 5 speed. I drive it 180 miles a day at 70-80 mph. Fuel mileage is best at 70-75 and below, where it can get 37-39 MPG."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Trev80 on Friday, March 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,251overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "SYNC is cool"
Cons: "everything else is sub par for the price paid"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"To everyone considering a Ford Fiesta, I don’t rant, I don’t complain and I certainly wouldn’t put down comments like this in places like this if it weren’t an actual concern of mine. I want to help you make this important decision. Please skip to the last 2 paragraphs if you don’t want the whole story, I can be a bit of a story teller. I was a huge Ford follower. My two previous cars were ford (escape and explorer) and I’ve enjoyed their quality vehicles and reputation for years up until a few month after purchasing my Fiesta SE. I was looking to buy a new car because my escape had +180k miles on it and was looking to be up for a major repair soon. Being that I just moved and started a new job, a major repair was the last thing I needed, so I decided to go car shopping. After searching for a decent fuel efficient vehicle for a few weeks (compact was fine, I travel a lot), I settled on a Fiesta SE. The first few months were great, nothing out of the ordinary, I drove a lot so by month 6, I had 11,000 miles on it. About that time I had to make a business trip to Las Vegas. The drive up there was flawless, I enjoyed the USB voice activated music system (Sync) the entire way. The trip back is when my nightmare began. On a routine hill, something any car should be able to handle, the car suddenly lost power. It was as if it didn’t want to shift and simply couldn’t pull the car up the hill. With so many large big rigs flying by at 75 mph, my speed dropping from 75mph to 45 mph within seconds became incredibly dangerous, I ended up having to drive in the breakdown lane till I somehow managed to make it to the top of the hill. Although I was in the middle of nowhere, 45 min out from hoover dam and an hour to Kingman, I spotted a rundown gas station in the distance. I don’t know how, but I managed to coast/accelerate the car just enough to pull it in there and call the Ford emergency repair. They were amazing, polite and did what they could to help me, although it’s promised to get a tow truck to you within an hour, I waited almost 3 hours before the tow truck arrived, reluctantly paying $4 for a coke and $3 for a snickers to help pass the time by. The tow back and the experience at the dealership when I pulled my car in was fine, they did what they should, were courteous and offered to take me to a hotel while they figure out what’s going on, telling me to keep my receipt in the event Ford will reimburse me for hotel costs. The next day I was picked up and returned to the dealership, where I was told the timing belt had snapped, wrapped around the cam shaft and pulled it out enough to where they will need to both replace the camshaft, but also re-time the engine. Estimated duration: 1 week. They put me in a rental car and sent me on my merry way. One week later, while dealing with a regional manager, I was finally contacted and told they found additional problems and will need another week to fix it. My car had 11,454 miles on it, I had just had a “The Works” package done on it two weeks prior to this, I had to pay $55 for the rental car tax, never was offered reimbursement for the hotel, told I wouldn’t get it and paid $40 for the gas of having to drive 4.5 hour back to the dealership to pick up my car. Although Ford honored their contractual obligation to fix the problem, I now drive a car that has less than 13k miles on it and has had major repairs done to the engine. Maybe it was fluke, maybe it was bad luck but the car runs worse than before. You know that moment when you’re making a left and you time it just right to make the turn, hit the gas and, nothing for 3 seconds, it’s quite the experience. Literally watching the cars rapidly approaching while my car decides to accelerate. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. DON’T BUY THIS CAR. There are better options out there. I received a courtesy call to be sure the car was still running, but all communication with the manager, my local dealership and everyone else involved ceased immediately. For those interested, Arizona Lemon states that a car has to be out of commission for 30 days or 4 attempts have to be made to fix the same problem. Any mechanic can make a car work in that time frame, so the law is utter non sense."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mely on Thursday, March 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "No pros honestly"
Cons: "Where should I start? Seriously walk way."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I liked the price, and that it was good on Gas, but other than that I have had nothing but trouble with it. The 2013 Fiestas aren't at all what they are making it seem. It makes horrible noises. I have taken it in about 12 times back to the dealer. Ford claims their is nothing wrong. Wait until you hit more than 15miles on it and its all down hill from there. Don't buy one and save yourself the trouble."
By ranbo on Monday, March 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "good on gas"
Cons: "loud trans shifts"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Trans noise after about 3000 miles. Ford would do nothing about it. The Ford service rep.never called back after we talked"
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By stever123 on Saturday, March 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, nice to handle, decent power"
Cons: "small car, rides low"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"If you are looking for a luxury automobile, this is not the car for you. But if you are looking for basic transportation that is fun to drive and get excellent gas mileage then this IS the car for you."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Mel on Thursday, March 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage"
Cons: "Problematic, left me stuck unable to put in gear"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Never again will I buy a Ford. The car won't go into drive or reverse unless it warms up for at least 15 minutes. Very jerky ride. Had to pay $1400 to fix it after 3 years. Too many problems. I wanted a car that was good with gas and reliable for my 16 year old son and ended up with a lemon."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful