The subcompact Ford Fiesta is big on looks, delivering great steering and lots of features, especially in upper trim models. This five-passenger front-wheel-drive model comes as a sedan or a hatchback, offering room for five, although the rear seat is disappointingly small.

Best Value

Ford offers the 2018 Fiesta in S, SE, Titanium and ST (hatchback only) trims. This model has two engine choices and several packages for your consideration. Manual and automatic transmission choices accompany both body styles. The ST is in a league all of its own, offering a turbocharged engine. It battles the Mini Cooper S and Fiat 500 Abarth in this segment.

Fun as the FiST (as the Fiesta ST is affectionately called by the enthusiast community), the Fiesta Titanium is the smart buy in the family. It adds a 6.5-inch color display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and two USB ports. This model also has fog lamps, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, leather-trimmed seats and an eight-speaker audio system.

  • Model: Ford Fiesta Titanium Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.6-liter inline-four
  • Output: 120 hp/112 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 27 City / 37 Hwy
  • Options: Navigation system ($795, navigation, HD radio)
  • Base Price:$20,370 (including a $875 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$21,165

Performance

Ford Fiesta

The standard engine supplies sufficient response and when revved high you’ll stroll to 60 mph from a dead stop inside of 10 seconds. Of course, if you want the extra speed, the turbo powering the ST will shave several seconds off of that time. We like the Fiesta’s smartly-tuned suspension and steering, which is nicely weighted and supplies feedback. Handling is another strong point, but when it comes to ride comfort, you’ll feel road harshness.

Style

In recent years, manufacturers have given designers license when crafting their smallest cars. The Fiesta is an excellent example of this with its gaping grille, sweeping headlamps and crisp lines. The Fiesta is a beautiful complement to the compact Focus and midsize Fusion. Of the two body styles, the hatchback offers the better execution. The sedan simply appears too narrow and tall.

Inside, the cabin offers a decent amount of space. The front seats feel flat, although the ST's available Recaros are the complete opposite, bear hugging the driver and front-seat passenger. They standard seats look comfortable, but may prove painful for tall passengers, especially when taking long trips. There's a lack of legroom for the driver, and the hard plastic of the center console The rear seats may be even more of a challenge for adults, so use them for children or simply fold down the seat for added storage. On the plus side, Ford supplied ample damping to keep outside noise from overwhelming the cabin.

The Best and Worst Things

We’re thrilled Ford Performance got its hands on the Ford’s smallest model to create the Fiesta ST. Ford lays down its performance credentials and gives budget-minded customers an affordable model that few other manufacturers match.

The base model is much too bare for our tastes and we think you’ll agree. It isn’t until you get to the Titanium level where you’ll find the many amenities customers want.

Right For? Wrong For?

Ford Fiesta

First-time car buyers on a budget should be naturally attracted to the Fiesta as if offers an affordable option to a late-model used car they may not really want. Why settle when you can have something new and fun?

If you plan to carry more than two people the rear seat may be too disappointing for your passengers. There is a fair amount of room back there, but the seats are uncomfortable.

The Bottom Line

Put the Ford Fiesta on your shopping list if you’re considering this model for yourself and perhaps one other person. Folding down the rear seat delivers generous storage space and covers up its main deficiency: an uncomfortable back seat.