It’s the last hurrah for the Ford Fiesta as the automaker overhauls its product line to focus mostly on utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The subcompact 2019 Ford Fiesta returns for its final year in the hatchback and sedan body styles it's known for.

Best Value

You have a choice of a four-door hatchback or a sedan with the Fiesta. Our advice is to go with the hatchback and the extra bit of storage space it supplies. The Fiesta is a front-wheel-drive model with room for five. The sedan comes in S and SE trims, while the hatchback is served in SE, ST-Line, and ST trims, with the latter representing a performance model.

Most models have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. The Fiesta ST comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque. The base engine works with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The Fiesta ST comes only with a six-speed manual gearbox. The list of standard features includes 15-inch steel wheels, hill start assist, torque vectoring control, a manual tilt-and-telescopic steering column, cloth seats, and a six-speaker audio system.

While we’re tempted to recommend the ST hatchback and all the performance it delivers, we strike a middle ground by opting for the ST-Line, which delivers the look with its high-mounted spoiler and 16-inch black-painted aluminum wheels.

  • Model: 2019 Ford Fiesta ST-Line Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 120 hp / 112 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 27 City / 37 Hwy
  • Options:PowerShift Automatic Transmission with SelectShift ($1,095), AM/FM Stereo/Single-CD/MP3 Capability and Navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link ($795)
  • Base Price: $18,500 (including the $875 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$20,390

Performance

Ford Fiesta

It's almost hard to resist the performance benefits of the Fiesta ST, but most shoppers will consider the standard model. We like the base engine paired with the six-speed automatic transmission as the latter is a dual-clutch gearbox.

The Fiesta’s strength lies in its communicative steering and good handling. The engine is smooth and sufficient to move this lightweight model with ease. Our only point of contention with the transmission is that it can be jerky at low speeds, and it hunts for gears on occasion. The Fiesta’s ride is firm, yet composed, although it can be choppy on rough pavement.

Style

The current Fiesta has been around for a while, but it's aged well. Its gaping maw suggests sportiness and its lines are crisp and fluid. The design is more suitable to the hatchback, however, as the sedan seems awkwardly laid out. We like the sporty design elements of the ST with its big wheels, blacked-out trim, and the body kit. Our recommended ST-Line borrows many of those elements, but without the engine upgrade.

Inside, the Fiesta has a dual-cowl dashboard with audio controls placed high and climate controls sitting low. The standard 4.2-inch screen seems dated with its many buttons. The available 6.5-inch touchscreen is an improvement but pales in comparison to the competition. The front seats are fairly comfortable, although the best seats are the Recaros in the ST. The rear bench seat is best used by two, but tall passengers will beg to be moved up front.

The Best and Worst Things

A Ford for under $20,000 is still possible with the Fiesta. Discounting can lower your price further, giving you a well-equipped model for the money. On the other hand, like most competitors, the Fiesta doesn’t offer the modern driver-assist features consumers expect. You have to look at the Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio for a more modern take and with the amenities you want.

Right For? Wrong For?

Ford Fiesta

The budget-minded consumer who doesn’t need or want an SUV will be naturally drawn to this model. The Fiesta is a good first car for the young driver. But its aged platform and balky automatic transmission may not be enough to persuade shoppers looking for the latest and most reliable design.

The Bottom Line

We’re sad that the Ford Fiesta is going away, especially as a new hatchback debuts for the European market. If you’re a Ford fan, you’re essentially forced to start with the EcoSport utility vehicle. That said, we think Ford will offer attractive incentives on the 2019 Fiesta as production winds down.