A fun-to-drive demeanor and a wide range of models have kept the Fiesta interesting, but a cramped interior and poor crash test results, among other things, keep it from being the best choice for a subcompact.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2017 Fiesta is available as a sedan or hatchback in four trim levels (S, SE, Titanium, and ST). Prices start at $14,535 (including an $875 destination charge) for the entry-level S sedan, and top out at around $26,000 for a fully optioned, hatchback-and-manual-only ST performance model. While it's pricey at $19,825, the Fiesta Titanium Hatchback will likely be a popular choice because of its standard dual-clutch automatic transmission and strong roster of standard equipment. Features include:

  • Heated front seats
  • Sync 3
  • Push-button start
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Leather upholstery
  • 16-inch alloy wheels

Another benefit of going with the Fiesta Titanium is the relatively tiny options list. Noteworthy extras include an $845 sunroof, a $795 navigation upgrade for the standard touchscreen infotainment system, and a $90 Smoker's Package. That's it. All told, you can score a fully loaded Fiesta Titanium for just $21,555.

The 2017 Fiesta comes with a choice of three engines. The first is a 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that's standard on S, SE, and Titanium models, matched to either a five-speed manual or optional six-speed dual clutch automatic (the automatic is standard on Titanium models). The second is a 123-hp, turbocharged, 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that's offered as a $995 option on SE models with a manual transmission – if you select an SE, this engine is worth every penny.

The third engine is a 197-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder that, matched with a six-speed manual, is the only offered on the ST. As the standard stick and impressive power output might suggest, the Fiesta ST is a hot hatchback, and therefore an entirely different pack of tamales, offering a much more aggressive handling profile, stouter brakes, and a sportier interior focused around the heavily bolstered front seats.

The main ST-specific options are a $1,995 package that adds a handsome set of heated Recaro racing seats and (for some reason) heated side mirrors and a black wheel package that includes red brake calipers for $375. Otherwise, optional extras and prices mirror the Titanium.

Performance Pros

Ford Fiesta
  • The tiny 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbo is a hoot, with diesel-like low-end torque that makes city driving easy.
  • The 1.6-liter turbo elevates the ST model into true performance hatchback territory – Fiat 500 Abarth and Mini Cooper S owners, beware.
  • Responsive steering and nimble handling set the Fiesta apart from the rest of the competition in the subcompact class.

Performance Cons

  • The dual-clutch transmission detracts from the overall driving experience with upshifts and downshifts that aren't nearly as smooth or seamless as a traditional automatic. It's also been saddled with a series of technical service bulletins and is currently subject to a mass-action lawsuit.
  • The chassis tends to bounce over potholes and other road irregularities.
  • The Fiesta fared poorly in federal crash testing.

Interior Pros

  • Interior trim and materials are better than average for a subcompact.
  • The ST's Recaro seats are fantastically supportive, even though the bolsters hinder ingress and egress.
  • The driving position is excellent, provided you fit.
  • Trunk space in the sedan is fairly roomy for the segment at 12.8 cubic feet.

Interior Cons

Ford Fiesta
  • Up front, the seats don't offer much in the way of support (ST aside).
  • Back seat space is tight, with room for only two adults, while the ST's Recaro seats make that space even tighter.
  • Versatility is hampered because the 60/40 split back seat doesn't fold flat, while the hatchback's storage capacity is less than half that of the class-leading Honda Fit.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Although the ST is especially fun to drive, the entire Fiesta lineup possesses agile handling and excellent steering. On top of that and despite only a mild refresh in seven years, the Fiesta's styling – especially the hatchback – still looks good, inside and out.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The unreliable and clunky dual-clutch transmission is bad enough to warrant avoiding automatic-equipped Fiestas. And with manual-trans models subject to the same lousy crash test ratings, the Fiesta has some big demerits.

The Bottom Line

Although it once was a standout in the subcompact segment, a sloppy automatic and poor safety scores mean the Ford Fiesta should no longer top car buyer's lists.