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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
7.5
Out of 10

Based on 220 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.0/10
    Quality
    7.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Great driving auto with a learning curve.

By on Friday, January 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,800

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Excellent driveing car! Very good tech"

Cons: "A stick to hold the hood up? Really?"

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

My Speeder, 2015 Ford Fiesta SE

"I bought this one last November. In the nearly year and a half that I have owned it I have had no problems with the car itself. This auto was my first encounter with the dual clutch transmission system. Frankly I had no idea how to use the thing. Put it in drive and go I guess. However after a few talks at the dealership, I learned how to use the standard option properly. I have read and heard of others having transmission issues, with this car. I guess I was lucky because mine is doing its job very well. And its been an all around great auto. I am very pleased with this purchase. I have the 4 door SE Sedan. For a single person I found this auto to be just about perfect for my needs. It does take some getting used to. But once you spend a couple weeks behind the wheel and learn its particular quirks and personality I found it to be awesome. I did upgrade the tires to Dunlop DRZ2. A "summer" tire. But works really well on this car. I was not even a little impressed with the Hankook tires that came from the factory. An expensive upgrade, but to me it was well spent money."

My Speeder, 2015 Ford Fiesta SE

Great car but don't get the automatic.

By on Saturday, January 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great engine/chassis, ergonomic, good value used"

Cons: "Poorly engineered automatic transmission"

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

"I drive it around 900 miles per week as a work car and it's been a great little commuter with the exception of it's horrendous transmission. It's not that it's unreliable, it's just not a pleasant driving experience with the slipping, shaking, and noise coming from the computer controlled, dual clutch, electronically shifted automatic. Sometimes it drives fine, but other times it's jerky, unresponsive, and makes a mess of gear changes. As much as the car is overshadowed by transmission problems, it's not without it's perks. It's great on the highway, corners good, great on gas, comfortable, practical, decent build quality, easy to drive, good visibility, and a great little engine to boot. They're about the cheapest new cars you can buy on the used market and if you can opt for the better looking, more practical hatch back with the manual transmission, you won't go wrong."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Don't feel safe anymore.

By on Monday, December 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,601

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great on gas."

Cons: "Transmission Problems"

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

"I bought this car for $18,000 in 2012 new. I loved it at first but I've had three recalls so far. I've noticed for a year now it shakes a lot when I excels and go fast on the highway, when I brought the car in for another recall they told me there was another one for the transmission (causing all the problems and shaking) that I never received any information on (sketchy) this has been happening on all ford fiestas and focuses. I do not feel safe driving the car anymore and it still shakes but they can't fix it."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Bargain gone bad

By on Thursday, December 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fuel efficiency, cargo capacity, halogen lights"

Cons: "Transmission, dealer services, no cruise control"

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

"My wife and I were looking for a fuel efficient subcompact-compact hatch. Then we found out Ford Fiesta SE. Although we loved the Chevy Cruze, we decided to buy this little guy due to better affordability. I guess you get what you pay for, because within the first month we were at the dealership four to five times. The first of our problems, covered under a nice warranty, was the sound system. The front two speakers were blown when we bought the car and dealer said they'd fix before we drove off the lot. We're not audiophiles so we didn't know until a week later when we went to jam to some country tunes and herd a lovely static. Check number two came when the power window stopped auto scrolling. Check three came when the car went into "limp mode" a week later due to transmission problems. The dealer reprogrammed it and we were off, until it happened again a week after reprogramming. Now the dealer wants to replace the clutch - and the kicker, said it would take 3-6 months for the part to come in. So now I am forced to drive in "limp mode" for three to six months. The worst part is, we paid for extra warranty, which the dealer states should give us a rental vehicle if anything goes wrong. lol They told me they couldn't afford to pay the rental company for that long and I would just have to wait. (I wonder what my lawyer thinks) Other than that hot fuzz, the car drives (drove) excellent, sporty, smooth handling, and little wind and road noise. The back seat is cramped, but that's to be expected in a small car. Fuel efficiency is a major stepping stone from the SUV we did own. We went from about 20mpg to a now more affordable 34-36mpg avg. The fuel tank is a bit small, but fill ups only cost about $25. It's a reasonable bargain if you don't get stuck with Ford's shoddy transmission!"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

purchase used not a reliable car

By on Wednesday, December 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,486

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"2013 ford fiesta is not a reliable car. It has a bad engine/ motor that make a sound every time i pull off,"

16 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Awful experience, Dont buy

By on Monday, November 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

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
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Nice looking"

Cons: "Recalls, small backseat"

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

"I purchased my 2012 Ford Fiesta in 2013, as the first owner. I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle. there have been MANY recalls, some of which are very important features. like breaks, door locks, and transmission. On top of all the recalls, it does not get the gas mileage Ford advertises. At best, I may get 35 MPG. and this is really stretching it. I will never purchase another Ford Fiesta, and with the way Ford handles their issues, I may never purchase a ford again. (Also, you cannot fit a rear facing car seat in the back seat.)"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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