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#11

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $14,355 - $21,435
Invoice: $13,817 - $20,631
MPG: 27 City / 38 Hwy
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Ford Fiesta Performance

While some note that its base engine doesn’t offer a surplus of power, test drivers report that the 2015 Ford Fiesta stands out with quick steering and nimble handling, making it one of the sportier subcompact cars. Meanwhile, the more powerful Fiesta ST charms critics with a strong turbocharged engine and a thrilling driving experience.

  • "Although the Fiesta isn't necessarily ‘fast’ by most measures, the car's quick steering and well-controlled body motions encourage you to maintain momentum and make the Fiesta seem faster than its numbers suggest." -- Edmunds
  • "Usually, manufacturers soften their European offerings for the U.S. market, but Ford left the Euro-tuned Fiesta just the way it was. The result is a small car that delivers a comfortable and controlled ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It's a pure joy - far closer to something like a Mini John Cooper Works than any of America's larger hot hatch rivals." -- Autoblog (2014 Fiesta ST)
  • "Fiesta is among the sportier subcompact cars. It gives the Honda Fit Sport a run for its money while delivering vastly superior ride quality." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

A 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard in the 2015 Ford Fiesta. A turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 123 horsepower is optional, while the Fiesta ST comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 197 horsepower. Fiesta models with the base engine come with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automated manual transmission. The three-cylinder Fiesta is only available with a five-speed manual transmission, and the Fiesta ST comes with a six-speed manual. The EPA reports that the base Fiesta gets 28/36 mpg city/highway, which is pretty good for the class. Models with the three-cylinder engine get an excellent 31/43 mpg city/highway.

Reviewers agree that the Fiesta’s base engine isn’t particularly powerful, but still strong enough for most driving conditions. Some report that merging and passing maneuvers mean that the engine will rev, and that the transmission has to downshift for steep hill climbs. The three-cylinder Fiesta earns praise for its pleasing acceleration and exceptional fuel economy, while the Fiesta ST impresses critics with outstanding power at any speed.

  • "The standard 120-hp 4-cylinder isn't very powerful, but it gets the job done. A 3-cylinder introduced last year offers excellent fuel economy and surprisingly smooth power delivery." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If you're willing to row your own gears, the EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is a gem, delivering excellent fuel economy and acceleration. It's well worth the extra cost." -- Edmunds
  • "What's interesting about this powertrain in the Fiesta - in both a good and bad way - is just how much power is available at nearly every point in the rev range. Mash the throttle in fourth gear at 1,500 rpm and there's plenty of force to rocket you into the heart of the powerband." -- Autoblog (2014 Fiesta ST)
  • "Not that the Fiesta is gutless, but only that the little 4-cylinder boils busily in its work. Accelerating with fast traffic means the engine revs, and large hills call for a downshift to maintain speed." -- MSN (2012)  

Handling and Braking

Critics agree that the 2015 Ford Fiesta offers agile handling that few subcompact cars can match, as well as a controlled, yet comfortable, ride. They praise the base Fiesta’s accurate steering, while the Fiesta ST impresses with a quick steering system that offers plenty of road feel.

  • "The quiet cabin and well-tuned suspension also help the Fiesta feel stable and secure when you're driving on the highway." -- Edmunds 
  • "… when you push it through a curved onramp or twisting mountain road, the little Fiesta responds with surprising balance and communication." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While there's nothing unique about the Fiesta's suspension setup, which features Macpherson struts up front and a torsion-beam at the rear, the little car handles better than most in its class, with accurate steering and quick responses to control inputs." -- Left Lane News
  • "In the larger Focus ST, the steering feel is impressive, with great on-center feel and almost Mini-like reflexes at initial turn-in, and I'm happy to report that this same experience is found in the Fiesta ST." -- Autoblog (2014)
Review Last Updated: 9/15/14

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