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2013 Ford Fiesta Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Ford Fiesta was new.


Performance: 8.6

The 2013 Ford Fiesta certainly isn’t the most powerful small car on the market, but auto critics say its crisp handling and refined engine combine to create a small car that’s pretty fun to drive.

  • "Fiesta is among the sportier subcompact cars. It gives the Honda Fit Sport a run for its money while delivering vastly superior ride quality." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "We can say without hesitation that the 2013 Ford Fiesta is one of the most rewarding cars to drive in its class." -- Edmunds 
  • "On the highway, the Fiesta delivers a ride that is both comfortable and controlled. Push the car through a curving on-ramp or twisting back road and you'll enjoy its balance, response and communication." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Fiesta is powered by a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower. While some reviewers say that the engine is smooth and refined, others write that the Fiesta needs more power for highway passing. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but you can opt for a six-speed automated manual. Of the two transmissions, reviewers prefer the manual, which they say shifts smoothly. Though the manual receives the most praise, not all reviewers dislike the automated manual. Several test drivers say it operates just as well as the manual, while others say downshifting is delayed.

The EPA reports that the 2013 Fiesta gets 29/39 mpg city/highway with either transmission, which is good for the class. You can also add an option package that increases fuel economy slightly to 29/40 mpg.

  • "Fiesta is little better than adequate. The engine is small and doesn't have gobs of power, so passing punch is lacking." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Though its acceleration is just average, in the real world of stop-and-go traffic and freeway merging, the Fiesta's engine is a pleasure. The eager-to-rev 1.6 delivers ample punch down low and remains butter-smooth even when taken to redline." -- Edmunds 
  • "With the 5-speed manual transmission, you can keep the revs up and wring out fair acceleration, but the automatic - though a sophisticated dual-clutch design - lacks a manual-control option so you're at the mercy of the transmission computer for your fun and forward progress." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Not that the Fiesta is gutless, but only that the little 4-cylinder boils busily in its work. Accelerating with fast traffic means the engine revs, and large hills call for a downshift to maintain speed." -- MSN (2012)  

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say that exceptional handling makes the 2013 Ford Fiesta one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the class. They note that the Fiesta rides firmly, but that it also does a good job of absorbing bumps and road imperfections.

  • "Fiesta's European roots are evident, and that's not a bad thing. The ride is generally firm, but the car does an admirable job of soaking up bumps." -- Consumer Guide  
  • "There's nothing odd with the way the Fiesta drives down the road, however. Thanks to responsive steering and sophisticated suspension tuning, the Fiesta feels at once substantial and lithe." -- Edmunds 
  • "When the Fiesta was first introduced to the U.S., we expected Ford to water down the European version's excellent chassis. But, to our delight, the great road manners remained intact." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The Fiesta also handles like a big car, in that the suspension strikes a smart balance between firm, reassuring road holding (enthusiasts will find the willing chassis limited mainly by nonsporting tires) and a soft ride over the daily bumps." -- MSN (2012)

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