Clearly the Fiesta's mission is not breathtaking acceleration, but fuel economy. We discovered a bit more pep (and driving enjoyment) with the manual transmission rather than the automatic -- especially in stop and go traffic. Brakes are good.
Luckily this European transplant retained its better-than-average driving dynamics and handling when it was retuned for U.S. market. Non-defeat stability/traction control is part of the deal, but they're largely unobtrusive when they intervene.
One of the most remarkable qualities of the subcompact Fiesta is its large-car-style ride comfort. Only the most brutal, broken surfaces upset the smooth and controlled ride.
The Fiesta offers remarkable quietness; not just for a subcompact economy car, but also for any car. Both road and wind noise are kept at commendably low levels almost regardless of road surface or heavy cross winds.
If there's one thing we wish Ford had changed on the European-sourced Fiesta (and didn't), it would be the audio system's controls and display that require a thorough understanding prior to use. Luckily, voice-command SYNC control helps.
With the exception of supplementary, convex, spotter-type mirrors within the side-view mirrors, the Fiesta offers typical outward visibility of a hatchback. There's nothing awful (like a giant A-pillar) to block your view.
Seat Access & Space
Leather (heated) seating is optional, but overall front-seat access, space, adjustability is what you'd expect in a subcompact. Tilt/telescope steering is standard. Rear seating is rather tight but does offer a center head restraint.
Cargo & Storage
There's no getting around the fact that the Fiesta is a subcompact with 15 to 26 cu-ft of luggage/cargo space depending on whether you fold the standard 60/40-split folding rear seat backs. When folded, however, the cargo area is not flat.
While you get what you pay for in terms of interior materials and finish details, the Fiesta's overall build quality is better than its direct competitors in terms of solid door closings and its substantial structural qualities.