KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 9/7/2012
The Ford Fiesta may be the only American sub-compact that can truly stand up to the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris. Slick Eurostyle looks, impressive 29/39-mpg fuel economy and true fun-to-drive chassis tuning do the trick. But, in addition, the Fiesta loads on features unexpected in this class, including wild interior and exterior colors, a version of Ford's SYNC audio and communications system, electronic stability control, remote engine start and a dual-clutch automatic transmission. For 2013, the Ford Fiesta is available as a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback, in S, SE and Titanium trim packages. Prices range from $13,995 for a base S Sedan to over $23,000 for a loaded Titanium Hatch. It's lots of car for the money.
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 found only on larger, more expensive models, the 2013 Ford Fiesta sub-compact is an easy choice.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're all about room and high resale value, the Honda Fit trumps the Fiesta in both categories. And newer models such as the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio offer many of the same qualities at a lower price.
What's New for 2013
More than the vehicle itself, the Ford Fiesta's order sheet has been revised for 2013 creating a new, more rational alignment of equipment and feature packages. There are now three distinct trim levels – S, SE and Titanium – each of which is available on both Sedan and Hatch body styles.
When the Fiesta was first introduced to the U.S., we expected Ford to water down the European version's excellent chassis. But, to our delight, the great road manners remained intact. On the highway, the Fiesta delivers a ride that is both comfortable and controlled. Push the car through a curving on-ramp or twisting back road and you'll enjoy its balance, response and communication. We're not big fans of electric power steering, which generally compromises driving feel, but the Fiesta's system is quite good. On the downside, the Fiesta's 120-hp 4-cylinder engine can feel a little weak. With the 5-speed manual transmission, you can keep the revs up and wring out fair acceleration, but the automatic – though a sophisticated dual-clutch design – lacks a manual-control option so you're at the mercy of the transmission computer for your fun and forward progress.
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 2013 Ford Fiesta are small, convex secondary mirrors that find cars hiding in those nebulous areas between peripheral vision and mirror coverage.
To find a reason to pick the Fiesta over its Asian competitors, look inside. Ford has done a masterful job with the Fiesta's interior styling and execution, offering a number of distinctive interior choices, such as white/black leather seating, contrasting piping and plum leather seating surfaces. Soft-touch materials are where you want them (armrest, console lid, steering wheel) and high-end options include heated front seats, push-button start and multi-color selectable ambient lighting. Navigation is not available, something most of its competitors offer, but between affordable accessory units and smart phones with GPS functions, this omission does not feel serious.
The 2013 Ford Fiesta subcompact comes in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback versions. Both are functional and blessed with strong character lines, befitting the savvy young buyers Ford is after. The Hatch has been equipped and positioned as the primary model, which makes sense in this class. Thankfully, cheap-looking unpainted parts and ugly wheel covers are nowhere in sight; even the least-expensive Fiesta looks upscale. You can add sporty 17-inch aluminum wheels, keyless-entry keypads and a host of bright paint colors.
Notable Standard Equipment
A 2013 Ford Fiesta S sedan includes air conditioning, 4-speaker AM/FM sound system with auxiliary audio input jack, tilt/telescope 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 limitations include 15-inch covered steel wheels, roll-'em-up manual crank windows and not even the option of SYNC or SIRIUS Satellite radio.
Notable Optional Equipment
A fully-loaded 2013 Ford Fiesta Titanium 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 2013 Ford Fiesta's 4-cylinder engine is capable enough, but it's more notable for its fuel efficiency than its power. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic, Ford's first dual-clutch transmission. Compared to a traditional automatic, the "PowerShift" unit delivers more direct engagement, faster shifts and greater fuel economy. To attain the much-hyped 40-mpg highway fuel-economy rating, you have to order the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) Package, which makes the car a bit more aerodynamic, a tad lighter and slightly less glued to the road thanks to harder mileage-maxing tires.
120 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
112 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/39 mpg, 29/40 mpg (automatic w/SFE package)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRPs) of the 2013 Ford Fiesta lineup have an easy-to-remember progression: Base S Sedan, $13,995; S Hatch, $14,995; SE Sedan, $15,995, SE Hatch, $16,995; Titanium Sedan, $17,995; Titanium Hatch (wait for it!), $18,995. Loading on most every option in the book can have a Titanium Hatch topping $23,000. The 2013 Honda Fit, the Fiesta's most direct competitor, runs $16,000-$20,000, and generally does not include many desirable features available on the Fiesta (other than navigation, which the Fiesta does not offer). We expect kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price to reflect real-world transaction prices right around sticker price while the Fiesta remains a hot kid on the block. As for resale, we expect the Fiesta to maintain reasonable residual values, though not quite as strong as those of the proven Honda Fit.