The 2018 Ford Fiesta bears the brunt of The Car Connection’s objective ratings. Small cars just don’t fare as well in categories like comfort and safety, by nature. Even in fuel economy, the smallest cars often lose out to larger cars with better aerodynamics.
That said, we don’t find it difficult to find a Fiesta we like. Skip over most of the S and SE sedans and hatchbacks, even the pricey Titanium. Stick with the manual-shift 3-cylinder if your life needs less gas station in it. If it’s a real party you have in mind, it’s tough to turn down the inviting Ford Fiesta ST.
As a family of cars, we give the 2018 Fiesta a 4.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Review continues below
p dir=”ltr”>Spunky sheet metal keeps the Fiesta interesting to look at, eight model years down the road. The Fiesta sedan has a narrow, tall stance that doesn’t work nearly as well as the hatchback, with its sweeping roofline and pert, upkicked tail. It goes full boy-racer in the Fiesta ST, and we approve. Inside, the Fiesta’s cockpit excited us back when it was new, but always has confused us with myriad buttons tucked into inconvenient places.
The Fiesta starts its powertrain march with a 120-horsepower 4-cylinder and a 5-speed manual. It doesn’t mind being wrung out, and accelerates well within modern limits since it only weighs 2,600 pounds. You’ll want to avoid the dual-clutch automatic and its jerky shift action. We think more of the turbo-3 that boosts gas mileage and adds 3 hp to the mix. The 3-cylinder loves being driven hard through is manual transmission, and can turn in gas mileage better than 40 mpg.
Our heart belongs to the Fiesta ST, though. With its 197-hp turbo-4, lowered suspension, fast steering, performance tires, and 6-speed manual, it’s a kink-loving lawn dart for the drone era.
One major drawback is the Fiesta doesn’t offer much room for humans. In front the base seats simulate the TGIFriday’s bar-lunch experience without the loaded potato skins. The Recaros on the ST? We’ll take those, thanks. In any trim level, on either body style, the Fiesta’s rear seats are miserably small, and even the hatchback’s cargo area undersizes, and underwhelms.
Low crash-test scores aren’t mitigated much by the newly standard rearview camera. Ford fits most Fiestas with power features and USB ports and Bluetooth with audio streaming, but the base cars people win on “The Price Is Right” have steelies and manual windows. At the expensive end of the Fiesta range, there’s Sony audio and ambient lighting, and touchscreen infotainment with navigation.
Note: Ford may discontinue the Fiesta from its U.S. lineup when it introduces a new Ecosport crossover in 2018.