I’ve always been a fan of hatchbacks for their utilitarianism and overall good looks (sorry, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback) and that good ol’ rear wiper. As a part-time musician, it’s so easy to put my guitar(s) and amp in the boot…err, hatch instead of fighting with rear doors that don’t always open wide enough.
There are plenty of offerings out there in the sub-compact hatch market, from the Hyundai Accent to the Honda Fit to the Toyota Yaris and many others, and of course the Ford Fiesta.
I was recently handed the keys to the 2016 Ford Fiesta SE hatchback for a week, bathed in an unmistakable electric spice paint job, to tote around town in for a week and the short version is that I really liked it.
A friend of mine, let’s call her Lauren, has a 2013 model and is someone who travels from downtown Toronto to Mississauga daily for work and then out to Port Perry to tend to her horse.
With three distinct destinations, her immediate benefits are from great fuel economy and being able to park the Fiesta nearly anywhere due to its small footprint. And yes, she’s quite happy with it.
As Mississauga is built for car-based travel, there are plenty of benefits to having a sub-compact hatchback as your personal chariot. They’re fuel efficient, easier to park and while smaller than most, there’s still space fit a fair amount of cargo, whether it be hockey/baseball/soccer practice, a road trip with a couple of friends or, in my case, playing a gig or few.
Staring with the exterior, the 2016 Fiesta is modest in appearance with a simple yet effective design.
Some may be iffy on the flat nosed grille but I had no issue with it.
Out of the box comes 15” wheels, with 16” alloy wheels as an available upgrade, which is what my tester came with.
At only 4,056 mm long, the Fiesta doesn’t seem all that short to the eye. Yes, it’s an obvious sub compact car but Ford has done good work in giving it proportionate dimensions. Unlike, say the Suzuki SX4, which looked like a portly man standing on his toes.
The Fiesta sedan doesn’t look bad but given the option, 11 times out of 10, I’d pick the hatch.
The standard engine that propels Ford’s smallest car offering is a 1.6 litre, inline four cylinder one producing 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft. of torque through a five-speed manual or for $1,250 extra, a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Fuel efficiency for this in the automatic configuration (which will be the more popular seller by far) rates at 8.7/6.4/7.6 L/100km for city/highway/combined.
Pair that with the 47 litre tank running on regular gas and that’s a helluva lotta kilometres.
There is another engine choice, which is a 1.0 litre EcoBoost turbocharged three cylinder offering that spits out 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft. of torque and offers a slightly better fuel rating at 7.5/5.5/6.6 L/100km for city/highway/combined. It’s only available on the SE trim in manual.
I drove one of these a few months ago and was surprised that it wasn’t as lethargic as I’d expected.
The 1.6 litre engine which my tester came with performs well as long as you have realistic expectations. Will you make it up to highway speeds quickly and safely? Of course you will.
Will you have enough right foot power to pass slower moving vehicles? Yup.
Is there ever a need to floor it from a red-light only to be stopped at the next red light? Nope.
The Torque Vectoring Control is a nice touch that reduces understeer for those times where the road challenges your steering ability.
Inside, the Fiesta offers a cozy and comfortable atmosphere for the driver, framed by the available 6.5” colour touch screen. In typical Ford fashion, everything is well laid out for the driver and there’s plenty of soft touch materials and just enough of piano black trim to accent it well. The available heated seats are comfortable and while there is space for three in the rear, it’s best to plan for only two.
The SYNC 3 system has been getting great reviews and it’s absolutely worth upgrading to. The voice-activated technology is responsive, the interface easy to use and overall, it’s a huge improvement from the outgoing SYNC offering.
The steering wheel mounted controls on the SE version (which was what my tester was) are easy to use and the dashboard is modern with two large dials flanking a small digital screen giving the driver all sorts of relevant information.
Safety sees an available back up camera, seven standard airbags, a reinforced safety cage.
Even though it’s a subcompact hatch, I never had that crowded feeling during my over 500 km test week.
Cargo space is limited and comes in at 423 litres with the rear seats up and 720 litres when down. Not great, but consider the class of vehicle this is.
Overall, I enjoyed my week in the 2016 Ford Fiesta. The car is great on gas, a great choice for those cutting their teeth in automobile ownership or for those who want something smaller to zip around, looks good and with a starting price at a dinner for two over $16K, there’s plenty of value to be had here.
Offered in base S, mid-level SE and high-end Platinum trims, those in the market for a subcompact offering have plenty of choices. And yes, there’s that ferocious animal that’s the Fiesta ST, but that nearly perfect car can be addressed in a different review.
For me, the big seller is the fuel economy, price and the size and the fact that it drives well for a small vehicle. There’s no teeny tiny feeling behind the wheel at all.
Take the Fiesta out for a spin if you’re considering a vehicle in this vertical and remember that great things can certainly come in small packages.
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