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2012 Ford Fiesta

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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
7.6
Out of 10

Based on 207 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    7.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.1/10
    Performance
    7.8/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Fiesta ST - makes me smile every time

By on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,350

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Handling, power, features, mileage, MyFord Touch"

Cons: "Ride is a bit soft"

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

"First, I'm 54 and traded a Miata on this Fiesta ST. I've always owned sporty/sports/performance cars because life is too short to drive anything boring. This car is an absolute scream to drive - passing power (even above 80mph), cornering (corners harder than my Miata), silky smooth 6-speed and clutch action (also better than my Miata), features galore (I have had NO trouble with MyFord Touch), gas mileage is great (I took a 200 mile trip and averaged 35mpg at ~80mph on the interstate), and it looks good (everywhere I go, people ask "that's a Fiesta?...I am quick to tell them that it's the ST model). My only (small) complaint: it rides a bit too soft for me - after having a Miata with sport suspension, this Fiesta has a Lincoln-soft ride. Firming up the ride will be my first post-purchase project. Most people will say that it rides too firmly - but I'm not most people. In short, if you want performance along with economy and features, the Fiesta ST has no competition (the pricing on the Mini Cooper S is ridiculous, and my memories of Fiats back in the 70s is not good)."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

worst car ever

By on Monday, August 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "no pros"

Cons: "no console, blindspots, wipers upstruct pass view"

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

"this is by far the worse car ever. i bought it brand new and since it was 6 months old it was in the shop for the transmission. I went through 2 seals 2 clutches uploading software and a shift interlock. going though a lawyer for the lemon law"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Decent Economy Car

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, economical, spacious interior"

Cons: "Ford Synch, transmission software issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Ford has done a great job with their vehicle designs over the last 10 years and the Fiesta is no exception. It is fun to drive, handles well, has an interior that is very spacious and can hold a large amount of items (with seats folded down). Gas mileage has been great, anywhere from 30 to our best of 48 MPG. The car handles very well, the engine is responsive and revs nicely (before recent software update) and overall is fun to drive like a small sports car. The downsides unfortunately have over come what we love about this car. First, the Ford Synch system that is designed by Microsoft is HORRIBLE and should have never been released. The controls are not intuitive and the system has a mind of its own as fas as what it wants to do and when. Unfortunately Ford has decided to not offer an upgrade to the new Blackberry based system coming out in the 2016 model line. Had they done this, we would certainly have considered keeping the car even if we had to pay a portion of the hardware and labor costs to have the upgrade performed. The next problem item has been with the software that controls the transmission and throttle. We have had the vehicle in multiple times since the beginning of 2015 after a software update was performed which has caused all kinds of issues from slow throttle response, no throttle response, erratic engine speeds, engine stumbling & stalling (during traffic of course) and rough, indecisive shifting patterns by the transmission. Also at times the transmission seems to not want to upshift into higher gears even when reaching cruising speed on the highways. Hopefully Ford will get this sorted out soon since this has really spoiled an otherwise excellent economy car."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Awful buying experience.

By on Friday, July 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,700

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
2/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage small body style"

Cons: "Won't start, that's all I want in a car"

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

"I really liked this car when I test drove it and looked at it, however three days after I bought it I got in it and it wouldn't start. There is a ticking noise and the lights and Gage's flicker, I've never seen anything like it."

7 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Not a good quality car.

By on Saturday, July 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "nice looking"

Cons: "Transmission jumpy.."

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

"Transmission is jumpy. Sync /radio awful...good mileage though and sporty looking. Not a smooth ride."

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "easy to drive, good mileage"

Cons: "limited compartments"

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

"I have this car in manual and it is my first manual car. It was pretty easy to learn to drive compared to other manuals I have practiced in. It also has a light function to let you know when to shift which is helpful when you are learning how to drive. It's very compact and I love having extra space when parked in a spot. Even though it is small, there is still enough space to have people in the back seat sit comfortably. Another plus is that the trunk is HUGE for a car this size. I feel very safe while driving and would recommend you to try out this car."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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