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 Bill on Friday, December 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The car drives great and has a hands free phone service, beeps when a car is in blind spot.rear view mirrows shows when other cars in blind spot to change lanes and very easy to park. Just what I need for an older person like me."
By A on Saturday, December 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas milage, can park anywhere"
Cons: "horrible transmission, doors won't stay shut"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"While this car may be fun to drive, have really good gas milage, and serve its purpose it can't seem to stay out of the shop!! We leased the car with 7 miles on it. From the moment we got it home it had issues. When you would go to take of from a stop or a slow roll it would stutter, almost as if you were driving a manual transmission and had tried starting of in a high gear, (this car is automatic) we took it back to the dealer and they told us that the computer needed a bug fixed that it was trying to shift into first and second at the same time. We bring the car home it drove fine for 2 days and started doing the same thing. We took it back 4 times to have this fixed. Finally they decide to take the clutch housing apart and the clutch manifold (or something technically like that) apart in the guys hand. It is an automatic car with 23,000 miles on it the clutch should not be falling apart in the mechanics hand. We finally got that replaced and now our doors won't shut! We have had to replace two of our door mechanisms because when we go to shut the door it doesn't stay latched. I have had to drive home with tie downs holding my doors shut,this is unacceptable especially when I have my kids in the car with me at times"
3 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Jimmy Jones on Sunday, November 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 223,972overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "a good price"
Cons: "starting to erode away"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"2013 Ford Fiesta Red colored Mileage just under 224,000 it still run ok, but is getting ready for the scrap yard. rusted out under body , used hard, but still running, interior ripped in back because of cheap ness bough car around $16,500 in Nov 2012 brand new with 14 miles on it, so its been an o-k car for the price. was used as taxi cab average miles per day:307"
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Steve on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,230overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Transmission noisy, front wheels vibrate at normal take off, it down shift noisy and sometimes in a jerky fashion. Shifting from drive to reverse it is not smooth, and acts af if it need u-joints.The dealer said all the above is normal.If you own one and have not yet experienced the listed problems your day is coming."
By Wife's car on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "So easy on gas, fun to drive, great engine"
Cons: "Auto transmission, small back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Fun to drive, a breeze to park, and more comfortable than many larger cars. My wife is only 5 ft. tall, and wanted a small car. This was the answer. Did have the transmission problem at 8400 mi. but dealer repaired with free rental. Now runs much smoother than it did when we purchased it. Just wish the back seat was a bit more comfortable. Trunk is huge for this size car."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Deb on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well, fun to drive."
Cons: "No complaints except gas mileage so-so."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The car is fun to drive. The gas mileage has never been as good as the rating posted. I am a small female, and it is a good fit for me. Though a sub-compact, it is adequate for my husband and me on short trips. It is a bit tight for big people."
8 people out of 20 found this review helpful