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1. What’s new for 2015?
2015 is the final year for the current design of Ford’s nifty subcompact, the Fiesta, so there aren’t many changes from 2014. Ford added a new exterior color, new seat trim, revised optional 16-inch wheels and a lower door-stripe graphic package. Look for a whole new model for 2016, which means the current model will probably be discounted heavily later this year.
2. How much does it cost (with Trim info)?
The base model S sedan runs about $15,000, and you can have it as a hatchback for $500 more. The SE sedan will cost you about $16,500, or $17,000 for the hatchback. Titanium sedans and hatchbacks will set you back from $19,000 to $19,600. The jewel of the line is the high-performance ST hatchback, listing for $22,300. However, Kelly Blue Book puts the ST’s fair purchase price between $21,271 and $21,614, a nice savings. You can get the optional 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine on the SE for an additional $995.
3. What options or trim level is best for me?
The 2015 Fiesta is well equipped compared to many of its competitors. The basic S model provides A/C, 4-speaker sound system, SYNC entertainment/communications, adjustable steering wheel, seven airbags including one for the driver’s knees, electronic stability control and a five-speed manual transmission. We like the fully loaded Titanium trim, which proves small cars can go up-market. It features leather, heated seats, moonroof, 6-speed automatic, satellite radio and a tricked-out steering wheel. If you are a “car nut,” you’ll want nothing less than the ST, the performance version of the Fiesta. It offers superb Recaro seating and heated outside mirrors.
4. What engine do you recommend?
The top engine is the 1.6L turbo-4 cranking out 197 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque. It’s available in the ST, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. This engine makes the ST a blast to drive. The standard engine is a 1.6L inline-4 with 120 hp and 112 lb-ft. Economically and environmentally minded drivers will opt for the fuel-sipping 1.0L turbo-3, making 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. The little engine has an overboost function to temporarily goose torque up to 148 lb-ft. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic operates well although sometimes a little slow to shift.
5. How is the fuel economy?
The EcoBoost turbo-3 provides outstanding fuel economy of 31 city/43 highway/36 combined mpg, mated to the manual transmission. However, you can’t get high-tech options like navigation and automatic transmission with this engine. The 1.6 inline 4 delivers 27/37/31 mpg with the automatic and 28/36/31 with the manual. The ST’s turbo-4 mates only to a manual transmission and gets 26/35/29 mpg.
6. How does the vehicle handle?
All the Fiesta variants handle well, but the ST is the most fun to drive. It has neutral driving dynamics and takes turns well, which just a slight tendency to rotate its tail. The comfortable and controlled ride will remind drivers of small European sedans. As you might imagine, the smaller engines slow down the vehicle’s response, although the application of the rather anemic horsepower is always smooth.
7. Are the controls easy to use?
Ford did a great job styling the Fiesta’s interior. The controls are well placed and easily used. The soft-touch materials on the steering wheel, center console and armrests seem almost luxurious in a car this small. The higher trim levels provide navigation as part of the thoughtfully conceived MyFord Touch infotainment system.
8. Is it comfortable?
While you never forget you are in a subcompact car, the Fiesta never punishes occupants. Four occupants will fit into the snug environs, and the rear seats are a little tight. Unsurprisingly, the trunk is small. Nevertheless, the Fiesta seems well screwed together and offers some luxurious options, such as white on black leather seats with contrasting piping, selectable ambient lighting, push-button start and heated front seats.
9. What about safety?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2015 Fiesta a 4-Star Overall Rating and 4 stars in all individual tests except for the 2-star side crash test result. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the 2015 Fiesta Good marks for crashworthiness, with the exception of a Moderate rating for the small overlap front test. Standard safety equipment on the Fiesta includes electronic stability control, antilock brakes and seven air bags.
10. How’s the reliability and resale value?
U.S. News and World Report named the 2014 Ford Fiesta Best Subcompact Car for the Money and Best Hatchback for the Money. There is little reason to believe the 2015 will not do just as well. The attractive design and generous standard features should help maintain the model’s resale value. J.D. Power gave the 2014 Fiesta a predicted reliability rating of 3 out of 5.
11. What other models should I consider?
The Fiesta competes head on with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and the Chevrolet Sonic. All but the Yaris compare favorably to the Fiesta, although the ST is without doubt the most fun to drive within its segment. Fiesta ranks second in fuel economy and third in horsepower among its peers. Only the Versa had a lower predicted 5-year cost of ownership.