The front-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta returns for 2016 as either a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback.
The Fiesta's primary powerplant is a 120-horsepower, 1.6L 4-cylinder engine that features Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, which enables smoother low-rev torque while also maximizing fuel economy, all with an EPA highway estimate of 40 mpg when equipped with the Super Fuel Economy package. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, but the available 6-speed PowerShift transmission is unique in the class; the twin-clutch automated manual transmission helps improve both fuel economy and performance versus a traditional automatic. An optional turbocharged 1.0L "EcoBoost" 3-cylinder engine debuted 2014. The engine makes 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque -- a full 30 pound-feet more than the base 1.6 -- while returning an expected 40 mpg. Finally, the Fiesta ST comes powered by a turbocharged 1.6L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, which produces 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is an estimated 34 mpg on the highway.
The base Fiesta S rides on 15-inch steel wheels and is aimed at budget-minded customers. Air conditioning, an auxiliary input jack, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, remote keyless entry and an alarm system are standard, while the car can be optioned with a nicer sound system.
The mid-level SE model features 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows, a trip computer, heated side mirrors, premium cloth upholstery, and cruise control. An SE Appearance package adds 16-inch alloys, fog lights, adjustable lumbar support in the driver's seat, dual USB ports and the new Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system, with improved voice control and app integration. The SE Comfort package adds heated mirrors and seats, plus automatic climate control.
Next is the Titanium trim, which features leather upholstery, a rearview camera, and all of the standard and optional goodies found in the SE, such as heated seats, SiriusXM radio, push-button start and a perimeter alarm system. Finally, the Fiesta ST is made for enthusiasts, with much of the standard and optional SE content, unique exterior treatment, plus an available Recaro seating package.
In most ways, the Fiesta is laid out much like other subcompacts. The suspension, which has struts in front and a twist-beam axle setup in back, promises a sportier driving experience than other economical cars. Things are different beneath the lowered, stiffer ST, where grippy Bridgestone Potenza tires are fitted to 17-inch alloy wheels and sprung by an independent MacPherson setup in the front and a torsion-beam suspension in the rear, with monotube shocks.
Ford offers an array of upgraded materials and trims inside, as well as a wide range of textures and colors. The result is a more premium, sporty feel throughout the cabin. Upholstery choices include cloth, leather, or perforated leather with contrast piping, while available ambient lighting includes a choice of several different colors. Ford has made an effort to keep the interior especially quiet with the use of foam baffles inside the pillars, as well as additional sound insulation behind the instrument panel.
Inside, the Fiesta comes with bucket seats in front and a 60/40-split bench seat in back, which can be folded forward in part or in all to expand cargo space. Front seats are designed for a wide range of sizes, and the steering wheel tilts and telescopes. Cupholders are adjustable, while several smaller bins are provided for odds and ends.
Safety is addressed with a stability control system, a tire pressure monitoring system and a variety of airbags. Front side airbags, side curtain airbags and driver's knee airbags all come standard across all Fiesta trims.