2019 Ford Fiesta Review
  • Car Review

2019 Ford Fiesta Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 12, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Nimble steering and composed chassis.
  • ST performance model boasts lots of power.
  • Low starting price.
  • Revised infotainment system more usable than before.

Cons:

  • Dated interior design.
  • Lack of available driver assistance technology features.
  • Less standard power than many rivals.

Would we buy one? We'd consider one but would take a long look at competitors too. We do love the Fiesta ST though.

Vehicle Type: A four-door, five-seat sedan or hatchback.

Price Range: From $15,235 to $22,315, including destination charge.

Powertrain: A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 horsepower, with a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission and front-wheel-drive.

A turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 197 horsepower, with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive.

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Overall Score: 7/10

Safety Features: 6/10

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The Ford Fiesta did not receive any special honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) but did receive the highest Good rating in all but the small overlap test. Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Fiesta four stars out of five in its overall testing.

The Ford Fiesta offers basic safety features like airbags, stability control, and LATCH connectors for up to three child seats. The lack of advanced driver assistance tech makes the Fiesta a less compelling choice than others in the segment. Without available forward collision warning, automatic braking, or lane-keeping assist, the Fiesta is behind some competition.


Value: 8/10

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At each trim level, the Ford Fiesta delivers value. The low price gets you a balanced chassis, decent powerplant, and very little else in base trim. The Fiesta S sedan still has manual windows and steel wheels. The Ford Fiesta SE trim adds keyless entry, alloy wheels, cruise control, and power windows.

ST-Line trim adds a few more gadgets as standard equipment while keeping the price well under the $20,000 mark. The full performance model, the Fiesta ST, adds the 197-horsepower turbo four and more suspension and steering improvements. Starting at $22,315, it is one of the best hot hatchback values out there.


Tech Features: 7/10

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The Ford Fiesta's tech features are sparse in base trim, but optional equipment is extensive for the segment. The S trim does include a small 4.2-inch LCD screen, auxiliary jack, and 6-speaker audio system.

Available tech on the 2019 Ford Fiesta includes an infotainment system running Ford's Sync 3 interface. That system runs through a 6.5-inch touchscreen, is Bluetooth compatible, and has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It's much improved over Ford's previous infotainment system, although it isn't as quick or intuitive as the Hyundai Accent's or Kia Rio's systems. Sync 3 is standard on both the ST-Line and Fiesta ST. Other optional equipment includes a power moonroof and a built-in navigation system.


Practicality: 6/10

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The 2019 Fiesta will be the final model year, as Ford has elected to kill off most of its small cars in favor of hot-selling crossovers. One reason is because of the inherent size limitations of a small car. The Fiesta offers up to 12.8 cubic feet of trunk space in sedan body style, and the hatchback has 14.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the seats. With the seats folded down, the hatchback offers up to 25.4 cubic feet of space. The trunk space is slightly behind the pack within the subcompact segment, with the Toyota Yaris offering 14.5 cubic feet of trunk space and Nissan Versa offering nearly 15.

By comparison, the Ford EcoSport subcompact crossover offers 20.9 cubic feet behind the seats and 50 with the seats down. With Ford ending production of the Fiesta after 2019, the EcoSport is the de facto replacement and offers more space inside and offers all-wheel-drive as an option.


Styling & Design: 7/10

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Despite only modest updates since its debut for 2011, the Fiesta remains an attractive choice. With Ford's trapezoidal grille and a few chrome accents, the outside is slightly upscale. Inside, the design shows its age, with too many hard plastics and build quality behind the competition. For 2019, Ford introduced the ST-Line, a styling package that adds sporty looks to the Fiesta. The interior gets red stitching, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and embroidered ST logos, while the exterior adds a black grille, roof, wheels, and spoiler.

The Fiesta ST also has a sportier look with the performance to back it up. With a body-colored rear spoiler, black wheels, sportier front and rear fascias, and optional red-painted calipers, the ST adds an aggressive look to the cute subcompact. Inside optional Recaro sport seats grip the driver, though they may be too confining for some.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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The Fiesta shines from behind the wheel. The chassis is balanced and communicative without being too uncomfortable. Even though the standard 1.6-liter four cylinders accelerates more slowly than almost any car in the segment, the Fiesta's handling and ride deliver a little bit of fun. The 6-speed automatic transmission received mixed reviews, with some reviewers finding it slow to change gears in passing situations.

In Fiesta ST trim, that fun spirit comes alive. The balanced chassis handles the turbo engine's extra power well, and the manual transmission is a delight to row through the gears. With the sprint to 60 mph taking almost 7 seconds in instrumented testing, it won't be confused with a pure sports car, but it does deliver the most fun per dollar of any hot hatch.


Fuel Efficiency: 7/10

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The Ford Fiesta receives EPA estimated fuel economy of 35 mpg highway, 27 city, and 30 combined in base trim equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission. Opting for the 6-speed dual-clutch automated transmission, the Ford Fiesta gains slightly improved mileage at 37 mpg hwy, 27 mpg city, and 31 mpg combined.

The Ford Fiesta ST still gets decent fuel economy, despite its added power, at 32 hwy mpg, 25 city, and 28 combined. Those numbers are in line with the Fiat 500 Abarth, while slightly behind the Honda Civic Si.


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