$9,565 - $15,034

2016 Ford Fiesta Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Ford Fiesta was new.


Performance: 8.7

The 2016 Ford Fiesta pleases reviewers with its smooth ride and responsive handling. They say the base four-cylinder engine has sufficient power and the optional turbocharged three-cylinder delivers both plenty of power and excellent fuel economy for the class. The sport-oriented Fiesta ST is incredibly fun to drive, test drivers say, with athletic handling around curves and ample power from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

  • "If you're looking for an entertaining driving experience, the 2016 Fiesta will happ[ily] oblige." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "It's a pure joy - far closer to something like a Mini John Cooper Works than any of America's larger hot hatch rivals." -- Autoblog (2014 Fiesta ST)
  • "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 (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Fiesta comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 120 horsepower. The Fiesta SE is available with a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 123 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional (1.6-liter engine only).

With the base engine and automatic transmission, the Fiesta returns an EPA-estimated 27/37 mpg city/highway, which is decent for the class. The three-cylinder Fiesta is rated at 31/43 mpg, which is excellent for the class.

The performance-tuned 2016 Ford Fiesta ST has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque. It comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.

Most test drivers write that the Fiesta has adequate power with the base engine but doesn't feel particularly peppy. They say the available three-cylinder engine is smooth and has plenty of power balanced with great fuel economy. The Fiesta ST is very quick and fun to drive, reviewers report. They write that the base manual transmission is easy to shift and fun to use, noting that they prefer it to the automatic.

  • "Of the three powerplants offered, the standard 120-horsepower 4-cylinder is adequate. The newer turbocharged 3-cylinder is an efficiency champ that also grants surprisingly smooth power delivery. Then there's the performance-oriented Fiesta ST. With 197 horsepower and sport-tuned suspension and steering, it's the clear athlete of the group." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although the base four-cylinder engine delivers only modest acceleration, we like its refinement at high rpm. … Meanwhile, the EcoBoost three-cylinder engine provides a palpable turbocharged punch while also topping the fuel economy charts. As for the ST, its turbocharged four-cylinder is strong enough to put a smile on anyone's face. …" -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- AutoTrader (2015)

Handling and Braking

According to auto journalists, the 2016 Fiesta rides comfortably and is fun to drive, with agile, responsive handling. They add that the sport-tuned Fiesta ST delivers sporty handling and has communicative steering.

  • "One Fiesta feature that's always been a standout is its handling on the road. Blessed with tight, responsive steering and a nimble feel, this little Ford is a hoot to drive, even if you're just zipping to the supermarket and back. Of course, the performance-oriented ST model is even more fun, but it's also relatively pricey." -- Edmunds
  • "Automakers often soften their European-based cars for the U.S. market, but thankfully that isn't the case for the Fiesta. The result is a car that, despite its small size, is comfortable and controlled. The bonus is, when you push the Fiesta on that curved onramp or sweeping road, it responds with surprising balance, communication and grip. And if you like that sort of thing, you'll respond with a smile." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the little car handles better than most in its class, with accurate steering and quick responses to control inputs." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "In the larger Focus ST, the steering feel is impressive, with great on-center feel and almost Mini-like reflexes at initial turn-in, and I'm happy to report that this same experience is found in the Fiesta ST." -- Autoblog (2014)

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