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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 228 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
    7.7/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Great car for the price

By on Thursday, July 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "m"

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

"I brought my fiesta 2 years ago with 10,000 miles on it and I haven't had any problems out of it. Mine is a 5 speed transmission and I get like 41 miles a gallon."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Rental Car

By on Friday, July 15, 2016

I don't own this car

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "smooth ride, easy turn"

Cons: "uncomfortable seats, dreaded dashboard humps"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This was the car that I received during a rental. It is a nice car, I will admit, however there are some things that could be desired. Driving is great in it - turns are very easy and smooth. Braking is a breeze, as long as you don't press down onto the break too hard. As for what could be desired, the seats are uncomfortable for me. I am used to the seats in the Nissan Versa that when I sit in this car, it is very stiff and rigid, and I am one of those who enjoys sitting up straight. Another thing that annoys me is the annoying dashboard humps. Seriously, when you are short, it doesn't matter how much you pump up your seat, it can make it rather hard to see. Yes, it adds to the appearance but its effectiveness is a no go."

Nice Car

By on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great mpg, price, looks, ride, interior"

Cons: "shaky trans at low speed, feels like a manual"

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

"My 2012 Fiesta sedan has 95K miles and has been a great commuter vehicle. Great mpg (between 35-47), comfortable ride, good looks, inexpensive, and roomy driver seat and trunk. I've only had 1 repair (recall) besides new brakes and tires."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

2014 SE Hatchback Manual w/ Ecoboost - Excellent

By on Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great Price, Excellent Commuter, Fun to Drive"

Cons: "Not fast, Mid quality Interior"

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

"Owned this car for two years. Avg 39 mpg since purchase; includes stop and go Seattle rush hour traffic. Fun to drive and look at. This is an ideal car for the economical commuter, and for doing city trips where tight, nimble parking is required. It handles well in elements and we've taken it camping. Hatchback fits a surprising amount of stuff. Great to couple with a more utility vehicle if you're in a 2+ car household. Love the manual ecoboost; DO NOT recommend the automatic. I frequently travel for work (meaning I drive a lot of compacts), and the experience difference between the auto and the manual is jarring. I also appreciate that you can downgrade the sync system (i.e. not use MyFord Touch). I like the downgraded version a lot as it syncs well with my iPhone and isn't overpowering. Though it can be a little finicky. (I strongly dislike talking cars and computer screens in cars etc; they do not age well and I do not enjoy them) The comfort upgrade is nice, too. Warming seats, without an excessive price-tag or too many other unnecessary features (I'm a low feature guy)."

Good When New

By on Monday, June 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "steering, fuel economy, great subcompact"

Cons: "transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This car was my very car. I loved it when it had less miles. I took this car into several ford dealerships during the 36000 warranty for transmission problems. The car shutters really bad after you've driven it for a few miles in a day. It was pretty bad, the car felt like it was going to break down but luckily to this day it has not. There were several other issues that arose as the car aged. I had the radiator fan go out on me, one of the door latches went out, and lastly one of the speakers went out. The car handles beautifully though. This car has some of the best tuned steering I have ever driven. It stops fairly well, it handles, though it is a bit slow, it is pretty good considering it is a sub compact. In comparison to the rest of the subcompacts, I find the Fiesta to be the best. I would recommend this car to someone who wants something nice but is on a budget. I definitely recommend purchasing this car within warranty because of the little issues that have come up, the car has not depreciated very well either. Bought it in 2013 with 15k miles at about $15k and 3 years later the kbb value is less than half that (about $6k) I know that's somewhat expected though."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

completely hate this car!!!!!!

By on Saturday, June 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,498

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: "nice looking car"

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

"I hate this car...Nothing but recalls since the day I bought it. The dealership was no help I had a warranty and was talked into another warranty that has been of zero help to me I have out of pocket spent over 500.00..... THE TMC Which is a recall has now been fixed twice in a year of me having this car. A waste of time if u have one get rid of it now...... More time in the shop then on the road....."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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