We’ve reviewed the Ford Fiesta a time or two already here at txGarage, and if you’ve taken the time to read through those reviews, you’ll already know that we really like it. We think that Ford made a great decision on bringing the small, European car to the American market, and it’s done quite well for them. As not much has changed with the Fiesta from 2011 to 2012, we’ll touch on the few things that did; however, we needed a new perspective to review this small hatchback. It’s fun to drive and economical, but maybe there are some out there that would like to know how the Fiesta handles as a family hauler. Well those people are in luck because that’s exactly how we used it during our time with it this week.
The Fiesta is the smallest car that Ford sells here in the U.S., and is targeted more toward younger buyers and economy minded city dwellers. We like this idea and went into our last two reviews with those in mind, but this time I decided to use this Fiesta in the same way I used the Explorer and Flex from our past few reviews; as a family vehicle.
Our tester is a 2012 Ford Fiesta SES 5-door hatch. Under the hood is the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 120-horsepower and 112 lb.-ft. of torque. This isn’t a whole lot of power, but it does not have to push a very big vehicle. Getting up and going isn’t usually a problem, but when you weigh it down with your family and stuff, it can start to feel much more sluggish. Our test car had a 6-speed auto transmission. If you’re looking for a more sporty or economical ride (as far as mpgs) then the 6-speed manual is the best bet, and what we’d prefer. This time, though, the auto did well for us as we were using it more for a family car instead of a sporty hot hatch.
I’ve always said to impress kids, you just need some cool colors and a nice design, and that’s exactly what we got with the interior of our Fiesta this week. Step inside and you’ll think you’ve jumped into a serious sports coupe. The steering wheel is black leather with red inserts, the dash is split with a similar sport inspired, two tone design, and the seats and doors are the same. Sitting is the Fiesta really gives you the feeling that you’re in something much more special and sporty than you are. This can sometimes work against the Fiesta as you don’t really have the getup and go you crave, especially with the automatic transmission.
What about interior space? For a small car, they have used the space they have well. Seating 5-adults in the Fiesta would be asking for angry friends, although for a quick trip to the store 4 adults can easily ride comfortably. Getting an adult and 4 children, on the other hand, is a synch. I loaded this car up with all the kids, myself, and our baseball equipment – all the same stuff we’ve been packing in the Explorer and Flex – and surprisingly we didn’t have to leave much behind. The only thing I couldn’t fit was an extra folding chair, but they weren’t vital anyway.
One big consideration when spending money for a family vehicle is safety, and the this car, though being a budget buy, doesn’t skimp on the safety front. Standard safety equipment on the Fiesta consist of dual-stage first-row airbags, drivers knee airbag, side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, child-safety rear locks, anti-lock braking on all 4-wheels, and an AdvanceTrac system ESC. NHTSA and IIHS have both given the Fiesta high marks on their safety ratings and since it’s such an easy and light car to drive, it’s good for avoiding accidents as well.
If you’re looking at the Fiesta for a family vehicle, I would recommend the hatch as you get more usable space. Although the base car runs only $13,995, it doesn’t take much to get in the range of our tester, whose MSRP was $21,135. For this money, you have a few options and you’re close to many bigger vehicles, but if you like the styling and economy of the Fiesta and you have a family, rest assured that this can be as great of a little family car as it is a fun economy car.