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2012 Ford Fiesta

Overview
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2012 Ford Fiesta Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're all about room and high resale, the Honda Fit trumps the Fiesta in both categories. Newer models such as the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio offer just as much styling and features as the Fiesta, but at a lower price.

What's New for 2012

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 the Fiesta

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.

SYNC
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.

2012 Ford Fiesta Details
Interior

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.

Exterior
2012 Ford Fiesta photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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)

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2012 Ford Fiesta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.8
Out of 10

Based on 152 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    7.9/10
  • Reliability
    8.3/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Horrible, clanky transmission

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Nice to look at"

Cons: "Horrible transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The transmission in our Ford Fiesta has had multiple issues and still makes lots of noise and is jerky. Ford tells us that this transmission comes with some noise but the noises get worse as does the responses of shifting and accelerating. The latest issue is with the AUX button on the sound system which doesn't work anymore, and a scraping.noise when turning the wheel. We are scheduled yet again to have these things fixed but can't get in to the dealer service department until Aug. 11th......today is July 11th.....as they are completely booked due to other Ford recalls. We feel frustrated and stuck with this very poorly made vehicle because we would never in good conscience sell it to anyone and are pretty sure no one who drove it and heard it would want it. We will NEVER give Ford our business again. Beware of the Ford Fiesta......we are not the only ones having these issues."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun to drive, nimble handling and 41 mpg!

By on Saturday, July 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Handling, gas mileage and manual transmission."

Cons: "None yet - ask me in another 5 years."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"After 40 years of practical car shopping, I bought this used 2011 Fiesta on a whim. It looked sharp in the showroom, had all the bells and whistles and, most important to me, a manual tranny. Two years and 30K miles later I'm still really happy with the car! If I can get 150K with no serious maintenance, I'll consider this one of my best cars ever. The clutch and tranny feel just right - not quite snick-snack shifting but darn close. First gear could be a little longer, but after a quick shift into second the revs match up well with my needs. Available torque is impressive for the 1.6L, and the set up is perfect at highway speeds - no need to plan ahead or downshift for passes and lane changes. Handling is a strong point; the best I've had by far after a long line of typical sedans. Quick, nimble and predictable. Wonderful in the snow and with plenty of ground clearance, great for New England ski trips regardless of the weather. Gas mileage is a solid 41 mpg over the full two years. About 50-50 highway-city with just myself in the car. I'm recommending this car to all who ask me and will likely buy another in the future."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

So far I cannot complain- does everything needed.

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, SYNC funtion"

Cons: "The tranni ats weird for the first 5K miles until"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought the 2014 model in Sept. '13 from Midway Ford. The interior is just as you would expect for any economy car so I cannot complain- you get what you pay for. However, I use the SYNC function all the time with my Kindle and the sound from the six speakers is terrific. The gas mileage is incredible: recently I drove 425 miles on one tank of gas (nearly all highway though) Its the perfect commuting car if you need a car to get to/from work and need something economical and that will get you from point A to B."

Great car to drive…until you try to stretch out.

By on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "fun to drive and with a light touch, great milage"

Cons: "No room to spread out"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I am very pleased over all with no problems and an average of 38mpg. For a car that was bought for its low price, I have been impressed with the quality of the build and the driving dynamics. The only issue I have is with the lack of stretch out room for your legs on long trips. It seems that Ford could have scooped out the console to give you room to spread out, but no, style won out over comfort. My 19yo would rather ride in the tight back seat than fight the console! Oh well, I feel that other than that it is a great car, in fact I am ready to trade it in on a 2015 with an Ecoboost engine, 1liter or 1.6. I can go for either great milage or great fun!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

love it first bran new car that ive owned

By on Monday, July 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, love sync"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"first bran new car ive owned but ive had just about everything from a coupe to a f150 this thing handles like a dream great mpg im getting about 30 mix but mostly highway driving"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Awful for daily use

By on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Great track car"

Cons: "Most people don't work at a track"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Absolute worst purchase decision I've made. The car is a blast to drive. That's it. The fun stops there. There is nothing convenient about this car or the Sync system."

15 people out of 30 found this review helpful

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