2012 Ford Fiesta
Perky performance; segment-leading fuel economy; advanced PowerShift transmission; wide range of options and accessories; stylish interior; low base prices
The Ford Fiesta sees few changes for 2012. Its 120-horsepower, 1.6L 4-cylinder engine features Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, which enables smoother low-rev torque while also maximizing fuel economy, all with an EPA highway rating of 40 mpg (when equipped with the Super Fuel Economy package). A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, but the available 6-speed PowerShift transmission is unique in the class; the twin-clutch automated manual transmission helps improve both fuel economy and performance versus a traditional automatic.
In most other ways, the Fiesta is laid out much like other subcompacts. The suspension, which has struts in front and a twist-beam axle setup in back promises a sportier driving experience than other economical cars. Electric power steering helps bring more feel of the road than hydraulic systems while also saving fuel; brakes are discs in front with drums in back.
Although the interior layout of the Fiesta, available as either a hatchback or 4-door sedan, is much like other cars of its size, Ford offers upgraded materials and trims inside, as well as a wide range of textures and colors. The result is a more premium, sporty feel throughout the cabin. Upholstery choices include cloth, leather, or perforated leather with contrast piping, while available ambient lighting includes a choice of seven different colors. Ford has made an effort to keep the interior especially quiet with the use of foam baffles inside the pillars, as well as additional sound insulation behind the instrument panel.
Inside, the Fiesta comes with bucket seats in front and a 60/40-split bench seat in back, which can be folded forward in part or in all to expand cargo space. Front seats are designed for a wide range of sizes, and the steering wheel tilts and telescopes. Cupholders are adjustable, while several smaller bins are provided for odds and ends.
The mid-level SE models include cloth upholstery and keyless entry, a CD audio system and power windows and locks. Fiesta SES Sport and SEL models add a 6-speaker, 80-watt sound system, along with a floor console, ambient lighting, cruise control and an additional 12-volt outlet. On the outside, they also get heated side mirrors, LED running lamps, side marker lamps and upgraded 16-inch alloy wheels. Safety features are plentiful in the Fiesta: side and side-curtain airbags are standard on all models, as is a driver-side knee bag. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are also included.
A new Premium Sport Appearance Package is available for 2012, featuring blackout trim, spoiler and 16-inch wheels. Opt for the manual transmission, and the package also includes a 4.25 final drive ratio in place of the standard 4.07 cogs. This change is intended to improve acceleration.
Options offered on the Fiesta include push-button start, heated side mirrors, a power moonroof, remote start and keypad entry. Custom accessory packages bring other extras such as illuminated doorsill plates, a cargo net, or cargo organizer and premium paint colors such as Yellow Blaze metallic tri-coat are available at extra cost.
Following its U.S. introduction in 2011, the Ford Fiesta continues mostly unchanged for 2012. Updates include the addition of several new packages, including a Premium Sport Appearance Package, which looks much like the Euro-spec Fiesta RS with blackout trim, spoiler, 16-inch wheels and 4.25 final drive gears in place of the standard 4.07 when equipped with a manual transmission. Several Premium interior packages are also available on the SEL and SES trims this year, featuring 2-tone color schemes like Oxford White/black and Race Red/black.
The Fiesta offers a host of connectivity and tech features that aren't typically available in this budget-priced small-car class. Its 40-mpg EPA highway rating is also the best in its class, while the 6-speed PowerShift transmission is one of the most advanced of those in any small car. Other features, including push-button start, aren't typically offered in its price class, while a wide range of potential customization and appearance options appeal to younger shoppers who want to express an individual style.
* EPA mileage estimates and EPA fuel economy methods based on models beginning with
the indicated model year. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models
before the indicated model year. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how
you drive and maintain your vehicle.