2012 Ford Fiesta Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Ford Fiesta

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Fiesta Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 120 hp @ 6350 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 29/38 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Ford Fiesta

  • The 2012 Ford Fiesta gives economy car shoppers reason to celebrate with its fun-to-drive personality, nicely trimmed cabin, tight build quality and unexpected features.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sporty driving dynamics; refined yet lively engine; high fuel economy; welcoming cabin; available luxury features.

  • Cons

    Limited cargo and rear seat space; automatic transmission's quirky behavior.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012 the Ford Fiesta is unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 year report

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Fiesta SE 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I've owned my car for a little over 2 years now. I have had no problems with my car other than one of the hub caps having paint peeling which was replaced under warranty and rotors needing to be turned which Ford also replaced under warranty. I was surprised the rotors were covered considering this is a wear and tear item that lasts depending on your driving conditions and habits.

Stick shift

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Fiesta SE 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

After reading reviews from owners on this car I opted to get a stick shift. It's a new trans design so it will have bugs for the first few model years. I've had my car for a year putting on 15k miles. So far no problems. I average 40 mpg but do not do highway driving. Yes the paint chips easily but for 16k new you can't expect the same finish as a mustang. For those who complain about cheap materials...it's a cheap car...don't expect higher priced quality - it's simply not realistic. Overall for the price of this car new you get quite a bit for your money.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Truly so unhappy with ford

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Fiesta SE 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my Ford Fiesta in 2012 brand new and brought it back within a couple of weeks with an obnoxious rattling noise, twice I was told that Ford was aware of the problem but they dont know what it is yet, once they figure it out they will fix it. August will be one year I hate this vehicle and the noise it makes I feel as though I am driving in an old rattle car like my sons 1993 Saturn at least he has an excuse the thing is old. How fair is it that I drive around in a vehicle I have to pay for every month when it sounds like a broken down old piece of junk. My third visit they figured out it was the transmission they will get the part in a couple of days that was may 15 today is May 30

1000 miles a week, great

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Fiesta SE 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I drive my little Fiesta 1000 miles a week commuting to work and school. It does fine at speeds between 70 and 80 MPH. For passing or steep hills you do need to downshift to 4th. It handles high winds well for a light car and corners very well. MPG range is 35 to 42. The advertised 38 is the norm. 23,000 miles so far without issue.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

On the road again

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Fiesta SE 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car new in Feb and have since put over 15,000 miles on it. I've been through the desert, up over the continental divide, over hills, through woods and stuck in traffic. Average Commute is 38 mpg, I've hit up to 44 on the hwy. THe back seat is a little cramped and the arm rest is wimpy, other than that, I love hitting the road in my car.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Shifting/ automatic

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Fiesta SE 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car in May of 2012 with only 5 miles on it. At first I loved it but after I hit around 4,000 miles I noticed the car wouldn't shift properly. When I brought it into the dealer they said it was normal for this car. I don't care if it is normal or not. It is dangerous. Sometimes it won't shift very well at all. Hesitating and feels like it will stall at any minute. Hills are the worst, very hard to get up them. I feel this car will cause an accident for some. I don't recommend it. Not only does it spit and sputter shifting up but you can also hear the clunking of the transmission when it shifts down. I have a feeling there will be a recall on this car.

Gas Mileage


  • 29
  • cty
  • 38
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Ford Fiesta Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012 the Ford Fiesta is unchanged.


Until fairly recently, American economy cars had been about as enticing as a trip to the dentist. All the important factors buyers considered -- overall build quality, upkeep costs, reliability and longevity -- were points of embarrassment for Cavaliers, Escorts and Neons. But the times they are a-changing, and with the 2012 Ford Fiesta the U.S. has something to be proud of.

Offering perhaps the ultimate in practicality in this segment, the Honda Fit is hard to fault with its impressively versatile interior, pleasing driving dynamics and high overall quality. But those who want more spice in their daily driving diet will likely find the Fiesta even more fun. With its smooth, eager engine, precise, well-weighted steering and agile chassis, the Fiesta soundly disproves the theory that a small, practical and inexpensive car must be about as exciting to pilot as a shopping cart.

Unlike much of its competition, the Ford Fiesta is available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Of course, the hatchback provides greater cargo capacity, but some folks prefer the more formal look of a sedan so Ford provides the choice. Either way, the Fiesta provides sprightly handling, a compliant ride and a quiet cabin at freeway speed. It also offers features that are uncommon in this class, such as keyless ignition and Ford's superb Sync system, which, among other things, allows you to control audio and cell phone functions via voice commands.

That said, there are plenty of other interesting models in the subcompact class. In addition to the Fit, there is a trio of all-new models to consider: the Chevrolet Sonic, the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio. The Sonic is a bit more rewarding to drive, while the related Accent and Rio are high on style. But the Fiesta, with its engaging and well-rounded personality, is a keen choice and should be on your test-drive list if you're shopping for a frugal but enjoyable set of wheels.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Ford Fiesta comes with four doors in both sedan and hatchback form. There are three trim levels for the sedan (S, SE and SEL) and two trims for the hatchback (SE and SES).

The S sedan is the bare-bones, entry-level Fiesta and comes with 15-inch steel wheels, a capless fuel filler, power mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a four-speaker AM/FM stereo (with an auxiliary input jack and USB port) and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The SE sedan adds metallic cabin accents, power windows and door locks and a CD player. The SEL sedan adds LED parking lights, a rear spoiler, 16-inch "premium painted" wheels, a premium sound system (with satellite radio and six speakers), ambient lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and the Sync multimedia voice-command system which now also offers turn-by-turn navigation.

The SE hatchback is equipped similarly to the SE sedan but adds a rear spoiler and wiper. The SES hatchback is equipped similarly to the SEL sedan but adds a rear wiper.

Some options are grouped into packages that allow lower trims to have the features of upper trims, and the upper trims have access to optional features such as keyless entry/ignition, heated front seats and leather seating. There's even a Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package that optimizes fuel mileage via aerodynamic tweaks (blocked-out lower grille, smooth underbody panels), lightweight wheels and special tires. Individual options, depending on trim, include 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof and special paint colors.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2012 Ford Fiesta is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 that generates 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. Technically, the automatic is actually a dual-clutch automated manual transmission; it provides quicker gearchanges than a traditional torque converter-based automatic and delivers better fuel economy than a conventional automatic, too. The driving experience may feel a little different, however, and there is disappointingly no manual-shift feature.

The sprint to 60 mph from a standstill for a manual-equipped car takes 9.5 seconds according to Edmunds testing. An automatic-equipped Fiesta was much slower, hitting 60 in 11.3 seconds. Both of these times are similar to the Honda Fit, but slower than the Hyundai Accent and much slower than the turbocharged Chevy Sonic. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway and 33 combined with the manual. The automatic is slightly better with 39 mpg highway. Opting for the SFE package further increases highway economy to 40 mpg.


Standard safety features include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also included is a driver knee airbag, a feature unavailable elsewhere in this class of subcompacts.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2012, the Ford Fiesta earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a Fiesta sedan earned a top rating of "Good" for its performance in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions. In Edmunds brake testing, a Fiesta stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet -- a very good distance for this type of car.

Interior Design and Special Features

With its soft-touch dash top, metallic accents, edgy styling and tight build quality, the Fiesta's cabin has a premium vibe to it that's unexpected in an economy car. The center stack controls for the audio system are more complicated than those of competitors, but the three-knob climate control system couldn't be easier to use.

Ford's Sync system (standard in top trims) allows voice control over the audio system and your cell phone, and it also provides features such as voice-prompted turn-by-turn navigation (it works respectably well) and emergency assist. Another high-end feature not often seen in this segment is the available keyless entry/ignition system.

At 12.8 cubic feet, the sedan's trunk capacity is class-competitive. The Fiesta hatchback offers a bit less than that with its rear seat up. Unfortunately, the seats don't fold completely flat, and the Fiesta's 26 cubes of maximum cargo capacity pale in comparison to the Honda Fit's 57 cubes and the Kia Soul's 53 cubes.

Driving Impressions

We can say without hesitation that the 2012 Ford Fiesta is one of the most rewarding cars to drive in its class. Though its acceleration is just average, in the real world of stop-and-go traffic and freeway merging, the Fiesta's engine is a pleasure. The eager-to-rev 1.6 delivers ample punch down low and remains butter-smooth even when taken to redline.

The manual transmission is precise and easy to shift, boasting a linear clutch and light throws. The available six-speed automated dual-clutch transmission is another unusual perk in this class, although its behavior at low speeds can seem quirky, occasionally rolling slightly back on hills or being reluctant to creep forward when parking. Its shift quality is also disappointing at times.

There's nothing odd with the way the Fiesta drives down the road, however. Thanks to responsive steering and sophisticated suspension tuning, the Fiesta feels at once substantial and lithe. Handling is excellent, yet the ride quality remains supple, with bumps and ruts swallowed without drama.

Talk About The 2012 Fiesta

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