2012 Ford Fiesta SE Review – My New Car


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I needed a car to replace my 2006 Chevy Cobalt that was going to cost $3,000 in repairs, and likely still not last much longer. So I started looking around and came across this 2012 Ford Fiesta SE in bright green and 80k miles. The price of $4,900 was low enough to make me pull the trigger on it, and now it’s my new car.

I’ll preface this by saying what I need this car for. Errands. That’s pretty much it. I need something that can drive the kids 3 miles to school, 7 miles to the store, and every once-in-awhile, 30 or so miles to a lake or mountains for hiking. Nothing fancy, just a grocery-getter and kid-hauler. But only 2 kids, not enough for a third row of seats. It only needs to last 3 or 4 years, and by then my wife will be out of grad school and ready for something new.

For that, this car is going to be great. If you’re looking for something insanely fast, look elsewhere.

Here’s my review:

2012 Ford Fiesta SE Review

2012 was the second year Ford made the Fiesta, and it kept things mostly the same from the previous year, except for some minor new features and options. Here’s a rundown of what Ford’s subcompact Fiesta SE brings to the table.


Beneath the hood, things look about like you’d expect them to. The Fiesta isn’t exceptionally powerful or fast, but that’s not why I bought it. For its size, though, it’s got some decent capabilities. The car definitely has what it takes to get me from point A to point B reliably and comfortably, and that’s all I’m asking of it.

The Fiesta has a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, which will get you 120 horsepower and 112 lb.-ft. of torque. As far as transmissions go, you can get the five-speed manual or the six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Gas mileage, of course, is where the Fiesta really shines. The SE can get 28 mpg city or 37 mpg highway with the manual transmission, or 29 mpg city or 38 mpg highway for the dual-clutch automatic.


The 2012 Ford Fiesta SE gets good ratings for safety, which was a priority for me while car-shopping. It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick and got a four-star rating from NHTSA.

The car has seven airbags, which is a lot for such a small vehicle. It has numerous side-impact and side-curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Anti-lock brakes also come standard, as does Ford’s AdvanceTrac with ESC, which provides traction and electronic stability control. Finally, it has blind-spot mirrors integrated into its side-view mirrors. These are super helpful.

Comfort and Convenience

The interior of the car is also comfortable. For a small car, it’s relatively roomy, at least in the front seats. The rear seat is a little small compared to similar vehicles.

The Fiesta seats five, which is enough for my purposes. It has air conditioning, power locks, and mirrors and an AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary audio input jack. In the 2012 model, Ford introduced a driver’s seat armrest for some added comfort.

It also comes with the SYNC communication system, which you can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Although it doesn’t have all the features of some more advanced systems, it can play music from your phone, read incoming texts and allow you to control several popular apps. You can change the song on the steering wheel, but not the volume.

Another nice feature is the keyless entry. All you have to do is have the key fob on you, and you can get into the car and start it. You also have the option of using a numeric keypad located on the driver’s side door, although mine doesn’t have this feature.


While the SE isn’t the most bare-bones version of the Fiesta, it’s certainly not the most souped-up one, either. If you want some extra features, you can always choose one of the other models or options.

The Ford Fiesta comes in two body styles — a hatchback and a sedan style. You can also get two different interior style packages — Race Red and Oxford White.

If you want a bit more power, you can also get the sports appearance package, which includes a revised final drive ration that enables the engine to reach 60 mph from a standstill in nine seconds. The Premium Sport Appearance package includes 16-inch polished alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and various blacked-out features, including the lower grille and window surrounds. Some models also have LED lighting accessories available, such as illuminated door sill plates, cupholders, and footwells.

You can also opt for the Super Fuel Economy, or SFE, package, which can get an impressive 40 mpg on the highway thanks to features such as its low-rolling-resistance tires, rear spoiler, side air deflectors, lower grille blockers, and underbody shields.


Overall, my Ford Fiesta SE seems like it’ll come through in the areas I need it to. Here are some of the pros of the car:

  • Excellent gas mileage
  • Good safety ratings
  • Quick, responsive handling
  • Fun, exciting style, especially with my Lime Squeeze color
  • Comfortable, relatively roomy interior
  • Not a huge trunk, but bigger than I expected
  • Good resale value


I’m well aware this isn’t the most impressive car in the world as far as speed, power, and acceleration go. Putting that aside, here are a few of the car’s weak areas:

  • Transmission is touchy. Ford has even gotten sued over problems with its PowerShift Transmission, and the brand has had recalls in the past.
  • The rear seat is rather small and has fewer inches of legroom than other similar cars.
  • It doesn’t do a good job of blocking out wind and road noise.
  • There is no navigation option.

While the Ford Fiesta SE isn’t the fastest or the most powerful car in the world, it seems like it’ll be a good fit for my needs. It handles well, gets great gas mileage, seats five people and has a decent amount of trunk space. Plus, my kids will have no trouble finding my car when I pick them up from school, thanks to its lime green paint job.

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