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2015 Ford Fiesta: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2015

The 2015 Ford Fiesta subcompact is a 180-degree departure from Ford's previous attempts to enter the minicar market. Borrowed from Ford of Europe, the Fiesta is not only fuel efficient, but it's also smartly styled and loaded with features befitting much more expensive cars. Moreover, it's a blast to drive, particularly in high-performance, turbocharged ST form. Less quirky than the Honda Fit, the Fiesta is aimed at fashion-forward shoppers who demand elegant design and dynamics.

The Fiesta comes in a dazzling assortment of colors both inside and out, and it can be outfitted with appealing audio and communications technology, even on the more budget-minded trim levels. Plus, the Fiesta offers a novel, turbocharged 3-cylinder engine that maximizes your miles per gallon. If you're shopping in this segment, try the spunky Fiesta on for size.

What's New for 2015?

The 2015 Fiesta is essentially unchanged, though it's worth noting this is the first full year for the optional 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

What We Like

Euro-spec styling and handling; impressive interior design and features; great gas mileage; serious performance with the ST

What We Don't

Higher-end models can be pricey; cramped rear seat; significant road noise at speed

How Much?

$15,280-$22,260

Fuel Economy

The front-wheel-drive Fiesta starts with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to get around town with some pep in your step, and there's a nice payoff at the gas pump, too: The base 5-speed manual transmission returns 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, while the optional 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission nets 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy.

Optional on the SE trim level is an SFE package that includes a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine rated at 123 hp and 125 lb-ft. This engine comes only with the 5-speed manual, and fuel economy jumps to 31 mpg city/43 mpg hwy.

The Fiesta ST boasts a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that increases output to 197 hp and 202 lb-ft. A 6-speed manual is the only available transmission here. Fuel economy is 26 mpg city/35 mpg hwy, which is amazingly frugal for such a quick car.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Ford Fiesta is available as a sedan or a 4-door hatchback in S, SE or Titanium trim, while the high-performance ST is offered only in the hatchback body style.

The Fiesta S ($15,280) starts with 15-inch steel wheels, power exterior mirrors and door locks, manual windows, air conditioning, a driver's-seat height adjustment, the SYNC voice-command system with Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity, a tilt-telescopic steering column and a 6-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack.

The SE ($16,510) adds 15-in alloy wheels, power windows, cruise control, interior accent lighting, a trip computer, a center console with an armrest and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options include the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which contributes a 6.5-in touchscreen display, dual USB ports, an SD card reader and an available integrated navigation system.

The Titanium ($19,230) adds the MyFord Touch system as standard, plus 16-in alloy wheels, fog lights, chrome exterior trim, keyless entry/start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera with rear parking sensors, leather upholstery and a premium Sony audio system with HD Radio and satellite radio.

Finally, the ST ($22,260) comes with much of the Titanium's standard equipment, including MyFord Touch, and adds performance items such as 17-in alloy wheels, a sport body kit, sport front seats, a 6-speed manual transmission, aluminum pedals and dual exhaust tips.

Some of the standard features on higher trim levels are offered on lower trims as options. Stand-alone options include a sunroof and a navigation system.

In terms of passenger space, the little Fiesta can accommodate four adults, but front-seat passengers enjoy the lion's share of the headroom and legroom. Compared with rivals such as the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris, the Fiesta's rear compartment comes up a few inches short. On the cargo-hauling front, both the Fiesta sedan and hatchback feature 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks. In the hatchback's case, folding those seatbacks down creates a cargo hold big enough to fit a couple of snowboards or a weekend's worth of gear.

Safety

The 2015 Fiesta is equipped with anti-lock brakes (4-wheel discs on the ST, rear drums on the others), as well as stability and traction control. All Fiestas come with seven airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side-curtain).

In crash tests conducted by the government, the Fiesta received four stars out of five overall, including four stars for front impacts and only two stars for side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety deemed the Fiesta Good (the highest rating) in all crash-test categories except for the small-overlap frontal impact test, where the Fiesta received a Marginal rating (second-worst of four).

Behind the Wheel

Who says you need hp to have fun behind the wheel? The Fiesta might not offer gut-punching acceleration in most forms, but it'll have you smiling ear to ear as you push it through twisting back roads and around hairpin curves. Whether you choose the regular 4-cylinder or the SFE package's 3-cylinder engine, the 5-speed manual transmission is a delight, with a friction-free lever that allows for effortless gear changes. Most people will likely opt for the 6-speed SportShift dual-clutch automatic (4-cylinder only), which allows for manual gear changes but isn't as refined as the traditional manual.

The Fiesta's suspension is firm and well modulated, absorbing enough road imperfections to make the ride comfortable but not too soft. Our only major complaint is sound-related: Once you're up to speed, the Fiesta lets more wind and road noise filter into the cabin than we'd like, though that's not uncommon at this price point.

As for the Fiesta ST, it's a true hot hatch, bringing nearly 200 turbocharged horses to bear on a genuinely engaging suspension setup. We've driven one on the track, and it's the real deal, pairing prodigious turbo torque with the razor-sharp reflexes of a classic sport compact.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Honda Fit -- The Fit has a stronger resale value and vastly more rear-seat and cargo space.

2015 Chevrolet Sonic -- With great fuel economy and available features, the Sonic is a natural rival to the Fiesta.

2015 Kia Rio -- The Rio gives the Fiesta a run for its money in both styling and performance, plus it has Kia's generous factory warranty.

Used Ford Focus -- If you're drawn to the larger, more upscale Focus, a certified pre-owned model should be readily available in the Fiesta's price range.

Autotrader's Advice

Although just about every Fiesta is a compelling proposition, our top pick is the ST. It packs a big performance punch at a relatively low price.

Find a Ford Fiesta for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2015 Ford Fiesta SE Sedan
Used 2015 Ford Fiesta
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Used 2015 Ford Fiesta SE
Used 2015 Ford Fiesta
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Used 2015 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback
Used 2015 Ford Fiesta
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Used 2015 Ford Fiesta SE Sedan
Used 2015 Ford Fiesta
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Ford Fiesta: New Car Review - Autotrader