$12,205 - $18,529

2018 Ford Fiesta Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Ford Fiesta was new.


Performance: 8.6

Few subcompact cars induce as much driver enjoyment as the 2018 Ford Fiesta. Its base engine is sufficiently powerful, but its sharp handling and accurate steering are what make the Fiesta really shine. The ride gets jittery over bumpy surfaces, however, in part because of the Fiesta’s short wheelbase. If you crave more engine power, consider the Fiesta ST.

  • "The Fiesta is the subcompact to get if you like to drive." -- 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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "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)

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Ford Fiesta comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower and adequate acceleration. The standard five-speed manual gearbox is enjoyable to use, while the available six-speed dual-clutch automatic isn’t as refined.

The Fiesta ST harnesses a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that takes power output up to 197 horsepower and provides brisk acceleration from a stop. Most rivals lack an engine that can compete with the Fiesta ST’s turbo-four. It is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

With the base engine and the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the Fiesta yields 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. That’s below average for the class. If you get the manual gearbox, gas mileage drops by 2 mpg on the highway. The Fiesta ST returns 26/33 mpg city/highway.

  • "The 1.6-liter four-cylinder never feels strong. The Fiesta makes it from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, average for the segment." -- Edmunds
  • "… the standard 120-horsepower 4-cylinder is adequate." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The 5-speed manual transmission is also a delight, with effortless gear changes. Most people will probably choose the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic (4-cylinder only), which allows manual changes but isn't as refined." -- Autotrader (2017)

Handling and Braking

You’ll be hard pressed to find sharper handling in the subcompact car segment than the front-wheel-drive Fiesta. Steering is precise and responsive, making for an enjoyable driving experience. The Fiesta’s ride quality trails its competitors, however, as it tends to get rough over uneven surfaces. For those who want an even sportier drive, check out the performance-tuned Fiesta ST, which comes with an upgraded sport suspension.

  • “… the ride quality can be a bit choppy, compounded by the short wheelbase." -- Edmunds
  • "When a car has as much poise and agility as this, engine power is beside the point." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "… the little car handles better than most in its class, with accurate steering and quick responses to control inputs." -- Left Lane News (2016)

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