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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 148 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
    8.0/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

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"

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."

14 people out of 27 found this review helpful

Has major shudder problems

By on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
2/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Steers well"

Cons: "Shudder problem, hard to navigate dash"

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

"My Fiesta has 26,000 miles and there was a shudder problem from the get go. When going from stop to start the car shudders like slamming on the ABS brakes. Took in three times and did what Ford corporate told the mechanics to do: recalibrate, then check bolt, then look for grounding problem. Nothing worked. Why? Ford will only reimburse a dealer for clutch/transmission problems if they reach "critical" levels. They refuse to do a recall b/c that would cost them millions. They have customers come in multiple times by extending the drive train to 60,000 miles. That shuts up consumers until they are forced to dump their lemons."

15 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Cute, fast car but expensive repairs

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

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

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "eye-catching and pretty, drives nicely."

Cons: "repeated problems with the computer systems"

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

"Just beyond its regular warranty, this car needed expensive repairs — more than $3,000 worth. It looks good. It is fun to drive. But it has computer problems that make it costly to service and difficult to take in for repairs at the local garage. What you've heard about the Fiesta. It's all hype."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Really a fun car to drive

By on Saturday, May 17, 2014

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

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: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Driver arm rest small no arm rest for passenger."

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

"It has power to pass and go up mountain passes quickly with no effort. Love to drive on highway. In town it is great - always can find a spot to park in. It doesn't need a lot of room. It is a really good looking car."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Saturday, May 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

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: "Fun to drive, great mpg, great power"

Cons: "None"

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

"Got this car on a lease, then bought it. This is the best car I've ever owned, and I'm 66 years young. Consistently gets 40 mpg. I'll drive this until the wheels fall off."

6 people out of 10 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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