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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
7.7
Out of 10

Based on 165 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    7.9/10
  • Reliability
    8.2/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Terrible vehicle

By on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,800

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage when it runs"

Cons: "everything other than the gas mileage"

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

"I would advise against this vehicle. I do not like what Ford did with the interior, for one. Additionally, I have already had a major breakdown at 6500 miles (yes, I sai 6400). Not only that, the artery died less than 24 months of use. This is truly a terrible car."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Fast Fun to drive great gas millage

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Performance, gas millage, fun factor, Recaro seats"

Cons: "none"

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

"The is the best value I found when looking for a sports car! It has great styling, very smooth 6 speed manual transmission, and corners like it is on rails. It gets 35 MPG commuting to work and 32 overall."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I love this car!

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "small, maneuverable, reliable, great gas milage"

Cons: "small, SYNC doesn't work very well"

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

"I have a 2011 Fiesta SE Hatchback with a 5 speed manual transmission. I absolutely love it. It's small and maneuverable, has great gas mileage, and a lot of cargo room considering it's such a small car. I've got 100,000 miles on it, and the only thing I've done is replace the breaks (at 80,000 miles!) and the shocks (right at 100,000 miles). I'm surprised to see the comments about reliability, but they mostly seem to come from the automatic transmission, which I would never have considered buying. I need to replace the AC compressor, which is making noise but still works. My main complaint is with the Voice-Activated SYNC stereo, which is showing its age when compared to SIRI on my iPhone, though I was never very impressed with it. I will probably replace the stereo with a 2DIN car-play/android stereo once I find a good aftermarket 2DIN kit for this car. I really wish they could have gone with a more standard dashboard arrangement for the stereo."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Might be the best car I've ever owned.

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handling, economy, motor"

Cons: "Center console layout, 12v outlets (only 1)."

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

"I'm 6' 1", and this fits me perfectly. Handling is superb, motor loves to run. We went across the country - 9400 miles in 25 days - it got an average of 42 mpg, with the AC on @ 70 mph. Trunk is big enough for two people for a trip like that."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Automatic Transmission Problems!

By on Friday, September 26, 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
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "good gas mileage"

Cons: "major transmission flaw, not good investment!"

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

"I am the original owner of a white, 2012 Fiesta SFE, 6-speed auto, with heated seats, mirrors, block. It does get 40-45 hwy mpg when empty, but not if you are climbing hills or have passengers and cargo (28-34 hwy mpg). My biggest problem is I have had transmission problems for about 24 of the 30 months of ownership. They replaced the transmission once(took 3 weeks). The main problem is when the car is in drive and you step on the gas, the transmission slips or doesn't engage. Not good when crossing intersections and it leaves you stranded facing oncoming traffic! Now Ford sent me a free extended warranty up to 7 years or 100,00 miles because of their poor craftsmanship on the 6 speed transmission. But I don't think this is worth keeping it. My plans are to get rid of this car soon! Here is a quick breakdown of the problems with this car ranking from high to low. 1. Transmission doesn't work (slipping or not engaging gears) 2. Cheap paint job...the paint is flaking and chipping off all over (this car is also stored in garage) 3. Door seals don't stay on 4. Brakes squeal all the time since it was new."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

A great car with abysmal reliability.

By on Thursday, September 25, 2014

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
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Far more comfortable we thought it would be"

Cons: "Unreliable"

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

"First the good: I bought it in 2011 to use as a commuter car. Before driving 1000 miles to my inlaws for Thanksgiving that year, our Volvo was acting up. We were going to rent a "comfortable" car, but my partner convinced me to take the Fiesta although taking a "cheap econo-box" was not my idea of fun. We had only driven it around town and feared it would be rough, uncomfortable, etc. Instead, we were both genuinely surprised at how comfortable it was on such a long road trip. The gas mileage was fantastic (which we already knew) and keeping up with 90 mph traffic on West Texas was a breeze (the speed limit on the interstates is 85). From then on, it became the go-to car for long trips. Now the bad: Last December, it turned 50K miles. Since then, I've replaced the electric driver window motor ($450), the transmission and transaxle (under warranty, but because we were on vacation when it happened, I'm still out of pocket $600 in other expenses because of it, not to mention the extra trip back to pick up the car and time off work), a valve in the fuel filler line that prevented me from putting gas in the tank ($400), and now the electric fan motor that cools the engine ($700). Add that up, and I'm out over $2000 injust nine months. The bloom is off the rose. I'm getting rid of this car as soon as I can. This has been the most unreliable car I've ever owned, with the *possible* exception of a 1974 AMC Hornet I had in college -- and even then I don't recall four expensive repairs in less than a year. Needless to say I'm done with Ford."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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