By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
The 2012 Ford Fiesta sub-compact is the first American in the sub-compact segment that can actually run in the same circles as the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa. The 2012 Ford Fiesta is available as both a 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback (Ford calls it the "Hatch"), and runs the price range from entry-level bare-bones to a nicely-equipped commuter pushing into the $20,000 range. Beyond its slick European good looks, impressive 40-mpg fuel economy, and fun-to-drive factor, the 2012 Ford Fiesta sub-compact is loaded with features uncommon in this class, including a wide variety of wild interior and exterior color choices, a watered-down version of Ford's popular SYNC audio and communications system, and more interior room that one would expect.
If you're looking for a fuel-efficient small car, but you don't want to sacrifice the interior quality or modern features usually only found on larger, more expensive cars, the 2012 Ford Fiesta sub-compact is an easy choice.
The 2012 Ford Fiesta sub-compact sedan and hatchback adds two new interior option packages to the SEL and SES trims, sees a revised Sport Package with more features, and makes integrated side blind-spot mirrors standard on all models.
Driving Impressions Having driven the European Ford Fiesta, we were certain Ford would water down the car's excellent chassis to better suit American drivers. But, to our surprise and...delight, the 2012 Ford Fiesta subcompact remains intact. On the highway, the Fiesta delivers a ride that is both comfortable and controlled, with only mild wind buffeting outside the windows to distract from an otherwise quiet interior. Push the Fiesta through a curving on-ramp or twisting back road and you'll discover a little slice of heaven on four wheels. 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. If there is one drawback to the 2012 Fiesta's playful nature it can be found in the rather anemic 4-cylinder engine. With the 5-speed manual transmission, the driver can keep the rpm high enough to get some decent acceleration on level surfaces, but Fiestas equipped with the dual-clutch automatic lack a manual-control option, meaning you're at the mercy of the transmission computer for your fun.
Ford's voice-controlled SYNC infotainment system continues to grow ever more robust and desirable.
Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors
Standard on the side mirrors of every 2012 Ford Fiesta are small secondary mirrors that find cars hiding in those nebulous areas between peripheral vision and mirror coverage.
If you're looking for a reason to purchase the 2012 Ford Fiesta over its Japanese and Korean competitors, it can be found in the car's interior. Ford has done a masterful job with both the Fiesta's interior styling and execution, offering a number of interior packages, including white/black leather seating, black leather with contrasting piping, and plum leather seating surfaces. Soft-touch surfaces reside where you'd expect and require them to be (armrest, console lid, steering wheel) and high-end options include heated front seats, push-button start and multi-color selectable ambient lighting. Missing from the 2012 Ford Fiesta's option list is navigation, something most of is competitors offer. However, given the affordability of aftermarket units from Garmin, not to mention the widening use of Google Maps via most smart phones, this omission is not a glaring one.
The 2012 Ford Fiesta subcompact can be had in either 4-door sedan form or as a 5-door hatchback - the "Hatch." While the sedan's trunk does offer a bit more security, we think in this segment the Hatch makes much more sense. We applaud Ford for not handicapping entry-level Fiesta models with cheap-looking unpainted parts and ugly wheel covers, an attribute that makes even the least-expensive 2012 Ford Fiesta sub-compact appear upscale. Of course, the more money you're willing to lay down, the fancier the Fiesta becomes. Upper-end trims include such nice details as chrome-bezel surrounds for the LED parking lamps, sporty 17-inch aluminum wheels and a host of bright paint colors. Also worth noting is the Fiesta's capless fuel filler that negates the need for a twist-off fuel cap.
A 2012 Ford Fiesta S sedan includes air conditioning, 4-speaker AM/FM audio system with auxiliary audio input jack, four-way adjustable steering wheel, a 5-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 manual crank windows and not even the option of SYNC or SIRIUS Satellite radio.
A fully-loaded 2012 Ford Fiesta includes a 6-speed automatic transmission, leather seats, moonroof, keyless entry and start, voice-controlled SYNC smart phone 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 2012 Ford Fiesta's 4-cylinder engine is relatively smooth and strong, but it's more notable for its fuel efficiency than its power. Transmission choices include a 5-speed manual and Ford's first dual-clutch automatic transmission. Compared to a traditional automatic, the 6-speed "PowerShift" unit delivers more direct engagement, faster shifts and greater fuel economy. 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.
1.6-liter in-line 4
120 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
112 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/38 (manual), 29/39 (automatic), 29/40 (automatic w/SFE package)
By Buzz on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy on gas and decent ride"
Cons: "Auto transmission is jerky."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car as a commuter car, I don't belong to a car pool so I needed a thrifty car to get to work daily. Aside from regular maintenance I have not had this car in the shop in the first 100K miles. For a small gas efficient car it has performed as I expected and I am very happy with it."
12 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Big Dady on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "42 hwy-36 city fun to drive very comfortable"
Cons: "NONE AT ALL"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought this car for my wife to drive to work (89 miles round trip)Let me tell you this is one fine car !! I have owned several luxury vehicles in the past and this rides better, handles better with more options than anything I have ever owned. Please believe me this is the Best Car in it's class. We will buy another if and when this one ever wears out. 2014 SE with all options. P.S. I am 6'4" and weigh 250 + pounds"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
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."
20 people out of 45 found this review helpful
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"
19 people out of 32 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"
16 people out of 25 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."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful