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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
7.6
Out of 10

Based on 204 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

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

Great little car-were it not for so many problems!

By on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Warranty

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great looking- efficient, maneuverable & quick!"

Cons: "XMSN-Capless Fuel-Warranty/Support- Awful!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I bought this car after original owner had it for about a year. I instantly disliked the Dual Clutch Tranny. Grinding, hesitation, rattling & sometimes refusing to even start. Cap-less Fuel filler was an absolute joke that made a fill-up a 15-20 minute hassle. Had it in the Shop numerous times for many Transmission issues. Car would literally stall & stumble in traffic. Even though the car was nearly new & had low miles, the (Overseas) Dealer was reluctant to acknowledge & repair many of the issues under Warranty. Once the car was out of warranty by the calendar then they agreed there were problems, and made me pay dearly to get it back on the road. The last major Tranny failure was awful! Locked Shift Control caused a major blockage in our apartment parking garage. It cost me nearly $250 to tow it to nearest Ford repair shop that would repair transmissions. Mechanics caused more damage trying to repair the initial problem. Repair parts were thousands of miles away. Despite a well-documented history of Transmission problems, I paid 100% of Parts & Labor. Strangely, Ford classified the broken Shift Module an Emission problem and claimed that it was not a warranted repair. I've owned and driven Fords in the US, Europe & Asia, but this last experience has taught me to never give Blue Oval another dime!"

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."

1 person out of 1 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."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Basic car, performs adequatley

By on Thursday, July 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Drives well"

Cons: "arm rests useless"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"After owning this car for two plus years I am not dissatisfied. I would have preferred a better options package and probably should have shopped harder. It is a basic car, performs well, gas mileage just ok. I had a few minor problems with the vehicle; but they have been addressed efficiently and satisfactorily."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Pretty nice car!

By on Monday, July 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Nice interior, Amazing gas mileage, Very nice look"

Cons: "Battery and electical system."

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

"The ford fiesta is a cute little car that does its job, or at least it should. I have had a 2014 fiesta SE sedan for a few days now and the car needs to be jump started everytime i go to drive it. I took it to the dealer and hopefully they will fix it the first time around but i have my doubts. Im sure it will be what most dealers do and it will take 20 trips back and forth just to get it fixed. Im 17 and i need this car for school and work but whats the point if i cant even drive a one year old car without it having problems."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Lots of Transmissions issues

By on Saturday, June 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,101

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "cheap priced car"

Cons: "plagued with issues"

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

"The 2011-2013 Fiesta's are plagued with transmission issues that the dealer can not fix. I have had my Fiesta in the shop 4 times for the same issue with no fix available. It only has 20,000 miles on it and the clutch is having issues. It is an automatic but has a clutch in it. I am pursuing the Lemon Law with regard to this car and will never buy another Ford again (this was my first one)."

23 people out of 43 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

Buying this car?