By on April 27, 2017

2015 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost SFE, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It’s been a year. On this very day one year ago, I took delivery of an oval-badged, ovoid-shaped, three-cylinder hatchback.

My 1.0-liter Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta, with its five manually-operated forward gears and turbocharged torque has provided 12 months and over 10,000 miles of mostly trouble-free driving. Two oil changes and no need for other maintenance has kept operating costs low. And its 17-inch Maxxim Winner wheels, provided by Discount Tire, and Michelin Premier A/S tires have classed up the joint much more than I could from the factory.

I don’t regret my decision to plunk down my own hard-earned cash on Ford’s most diminutive vehicle (in terms of overall size and engine displacement) sold in North America, but it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, either.

Michelin Premier A/S Tire on 2015 Ford Fiesta, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Tires and mileage
In my last update, I mentioned throwing on a new wheel and tire combo to replace the no-option-available 15-inch steel wheels and OE-equipped Hankook Optimo H426 donuts. Going into the swap, I wanted to find out a few things:

  1. Will the new Michelins, even with the reduced sidewall height, be as quiet or quieter than the stock Hankook Optimo H426s?
    Answer: No, the Michelins aren’t quieter, but they aren’t louder either.
  2. Will larger wheels and wider rubber adversely affect fuel economy in a meaningful way?
    Answer: Yes and no, but more on that in a moment.
  3. How will the Michelins wear over the long-term?
    Answer: I don’t know. That’s to be determined. But so far, so good.

On the topic of fuel economy, the Michelin Premier A/S rubber does have a fuel economy cost versus the stock Hankook Optimo H426.

After multiple tanks of fuel last fall and this spring on the Michelins compared to the 15-inch no-season Hankooks over the winter (don’t lecture me about winter tires; I know they’re safer, but there’s good reason I went back to the stock rubber), the difference in fuel economy is 0.2L/100km — not even 1 mile per gallon.

2015 Ford Fiesta, Old vs New Wheels

For the better looks provided by the new wheels and the supposed increased performance of the Michelins, that’s a fuel-economy cost I’m more than willing to absorb.

Sync Basic sucks
All infotainment systems suck. But that Ford has the temerity to force those of us wanting the other Fiesta to use Sync Basic does the car no favors on the dealer lot, as MyFord Touch and SYNC3 aren’t available on this particular trim.

Time and time again, I curse Sync Basic and its myriad of buttons, menus, and submenus. It’s not just usability, either. The system is riddled with bugs. Sometimes it will play music via Bluetooth, usually on a Tuesday when the stars are in alignment and the Leafs are in playoff contention. (I guess Sync won’t be playing music anytime soon.) Other times it will completely freeze up.

I’ve scoured the Internet looking for an aftermarket solution to replace this factory-equipped abomination. Frustratingly, I’ve had no luck so far.

If you’re an enterprising Chinese manufacturer of electronic goods at low, low prices, may I suggest you get into the non-DIN audio replacement game?

Compared to General Motors …
When I drove the new Chevrolet Cruze Hatch a couple of months ago, I went on a mild quality tirade. After all, the previous-generation Cruze had a stellar interior. Why couldn’t General Motors improve on it?

Regardless, a couple of commenters asked how it compares to the Fiesta. Instead of describing the differences, here they are in pictures.

First, the Fiesta:

2015 Ford Fiesta Door Panel Close

Now, the Cruze:

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback LT Interior Door Trim, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The differences are stark. There’s only one (barely) visible seam for the two door-handle halves on the Fiesta. All other panel terminations are recessed and hidden. Even though the Fiesta doesn’t get the fancy chrome trim, it doesn’t need it, and it all feels solid.

2015 Ford Fiesta Door Panel, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

That said, the plastic door handles in the Fiesta do scratch easily, but at least they don’t call attention to themselves at first glance.

To the hood lever next!

Fiesta:

2015 Ford Fiesta Hood-Release Lever, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Cruze:

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback LT Hood Latch Lever, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The Fiesta’s hood-release lever is smaller, hidden away, and has a strong pin holding it in place, instead of the flimsy-armed hood release on the Cruze.

And the center console?

Fiesta:

2015 Ford Fiesta Center Console from Passenger Side, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

2015 Ford Fiesta Center Cubby Close-up, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Cruze:

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback LT Interior Center Console Trim, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Panel gaps in the Fiesta are tight and there are no hard edges. You can’t see the underlying “lips” that hold the pieces together in alignment. Yet, on the Cruze, a car that costs a decent amount more, we are welcomed by crumb-and-dirt-trapping chasms.

If Ford can do all this in a subcompact car, shouldn’t General Motors be able to do it in a compact car that’s significantly newer?

On the flip side of all this, I’ve noticed the Fiesta is prone to rock chips, as my hood looks like the face of a hormonal teenager. I don’t know if it’s paint thickness or simply the bluntness of the Fiesta’s front end that makes a great surface for road debris to make their best Pollack knockoff, but it’s probably time to head to a dealer and pick up a pen of Tuxedo Black.

More power is almost finally here
The three-cylinder EcoBoost mill cranks out a fairly tepid 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. When I purchased the car, I was hoping COBB or another tuning house would whip up some magic to give the 1.0 liter a little more grunt. Unfortunately, COBB isn’t the slightest bit interested, and neither is Mountune, Ford Performance’s tuner of choice.

Thankfully, PumaSpeed of the UK has come to the rescue with a U.S.-spec friendly, multistage tune for the 1.0-liter EcoBoost, which offers a significant performance improvement from the Stage 1 tune without the need to swap out parts.

Yeah, I’m seriously thinking about it.

Next quest: chase performance or cherish comfort?
Even with the 17-inch wheels, the Fiesta is a comfortable subcompact. Yes, it can be a little noisy on the highway. And yes, the seats aren’t thrones upon which drivers and passengers can lay their backsides in a pillowy embrace. But for the segment, I’m not complaining.

With that said, the Fiesta is softly sprung and I’d love to drop its ride height by just a smidge without losing ride quality. I’d also like to plan for a time when I boost the smithereens out of its little three-pot and take it to an autocross to compete with the many STs.

At the same time, I don’t want to do a damn thing. This look is good enough. The performance is good enough. The ride is good enough. And I don’t want to ruin any of it.

What do you think, B&B?

[Image: © 2016-2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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127 Comments on “2015 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Long-Term Test – The First Year...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The base Fiesta is as about as exciting to me as taking my daily allergy pill in the spring.

    Necessary but not something I look forward to.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      There are worse things, and worse cars.

      Take several horse pills that choke you, and driving a Nissan Versa. Or a Mitsubishi Mirage.

      At least the Fiesta handles okay, and as Mark showed, its not sloppily or poorly built. Plus in his case, Turbo + 5MT trumps a non-turbo tractor engine and a rubber band transaxle (for maximum MPG).

      Yes the Fit is probably the best overall subcompact, but I believe the Fiesta holds its own, especially considering what the two go for in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        What I really meant was “does nothing for me” but that’s more or less true of anything smaller than a midsize unless there’s something compelling about it.

        I only know the Focus exists because there is an ST and RS version, otherwise everything smaller than a Fusion in Ford’s lineup would be dead to me. Likewise GM – Nothing exists below the Malibu for me.

        But that’s my personal preference. If I had to live in a city where a vehicle of the Fiesta’s size was an advantage – I wouldn’t live there.

        • 0 avatar
          paxman356

          I started off my driving life in a Chevette. I hated it because it was a hateful vehicle, but I lived the size. I got into an accident and rethought the whole size thing during purchase of a Monte Carlo. I hated it. Size really mattered to me, and while I liked the Monte a lot more than the Chevette, I definitely didn’t like the vehicle dynamics of a larger car.

          And so it has gone throughout my life. Some of my favorite cars were small (’83 Plymouth Sapporo Technica, ’83 Civic HF, ’97 Saturn SL1 5 speed) some of my least favorite were large (I had two mid 90s Olds 88s, and while nice, they handled like pigs).

          So I am the opposite of you. But as I’m getting older, and needing the space, I find myself leaning toward larger vehicles. My daily driver is an ’06 Lancer, but my wife has an ’05 Optima. We rented a ’13 Impala for a long vacation in Michigan, and having the space, the 300hp, and the mid 20s in MPG and handling that was actually not bad was very impressive. My vacation rental is going to be large this year, too.

          Large cars have begun to have use in my life. But damnit, I just love how a small car drives. I’m okay with your personal preference, I just though you’d be interested in hearing mine.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            “but I lived the size.” That’s a happy spelling accident. I miss that time of life as well, when my VW Rabbit or Audi GT seemed entirely huge.

            One of my favorite cars ever, a 91 Civic DX (4-speed, vinyl floor, add-on A/C) was fun to drive, held tons of stuff, and seemed to make gas from vapor.

            It was essentially a blow-up tin foil balloon on wheels, so it could never be safely driven today. Sigh.

      • 0 avatar

        For the same money, buy a Fit. I would.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d go with a Yaris iA over a Fit or Fiesta, but I’d take the Fiesta over the Fit. The Fit is awful on the freeway. The Fiesta’s actually quite refined, as subcompacts go.

      • 0 avatar

        I like the Sonic personally. But I would take a mirage over a fiesta, the interior feels roomier and I found it rode better

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          The Sonic is a higher class of car in terms of on-road refinement than any other subcompact. It’s seriously quiet and smooth, like a really good compact (VW Golf, first-gen Cruze). But apparently this is because it also WEIGHS as much as a compact.

          The Fiesta just has a crisp Euro feel that I love. It’s awkward looking as a sedan but slick as a hatch. The only big downside to the Fiesta really is lack of power; the ST version obviously fixes that, but you don’t necessarily want an eager puppy yapping and biting your heels every time you go outside, if you know what I mean.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        Hey! The Versa may be Xanax on wheels, but I can testify as an owner that the lowly Versa offers many positives.

        The space utilization is phenomenal, and highway ride, noise and fuel economy is outstanding. I’ve added 12000 km’s since I bought it just over a year ago with over 8000 being highway driving. It fits five passengers with reasonable comfort for urban running about, and seats four very comfortably for longer distances. Road noise on the highway shod with the winter wheels and tires is on the level with my wife’s BMW E92, and quieter with the summer tires.

        However, after owning the sublime Focus SES and the Bimmer, I would call the Nissan clutch and shifter somewhat disappointing in comparison. The clutch on our Focus had the perfect weight and travel point, and the notching on the stick was damn near ideal. The Bimmer clutch is heavier but snap-tight to the engagement point and the shifter is pure BMW perfection. The Versa’s clutch is feathery light and the contact feels nebulous at times, and the shift points are sloppy and it’s poorly gated.

        All that said, though, I’m happy with the space, ride and Versa-tility (couldn’t resist!) and the fuel economy.

        It, like the Honda Fit, is a really good (if different) value proposition.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I’m glad it works for you, and yes they are roomy for what they are.

          But its more than just the lack of the “fun to drive” factor. The Versa was designed to be a “good cheap car”, and it is. But the Fiesta is a good car all around. I realize it isn’t as roomy, but the seats, the styling, the quality and the refinement just seems to be a step above the Versa/Accent/Rio crowd. The Sonic is also a damn good car for what it is.

          Really, you can’t go wrong with any of them depending on how they suit your needs, wants and expectations.

          The Versas I have driven were not manual. The issue I have is the seats (?) killed my back. I had found a fairly new one (2012?) when I was on the hunt for Uber cars, thinking the roomy interior and the superior fuel economy would make it worth it.

          There is no way in hell I could drive that car all day. It was that bad. My physical issues are unique, but even my best friend turned down his mom’s Versa as a commuter due to the same problem. Its so uncomfortable, its not worth it. She says her back hurts “all the time”, but I really wish she would get something else to drive so it might help if that has anything to do with it.

          I drove hers a few years ago when I spent the summer up there, and it was awful, a 15 minute ride to town had me thinking of how someone could bring me something else to drive back, lol. I borrowed it a few times to run errands (including some for her), thinking it might be something else, but no, it was the car. Each time, it did it. I could drive my (at the time) Ford Aerostar to the same destination, with little, if any, pain. After a while, I said I don’t care how expensive gas is, I’d rather not show up gritting my teeth in pain.

          I’m guessing your car doesn’t do that to you/yours, or you wouldn’t be as happy with it. I understand love for a cheap car, really I do. There is a reason I’ve owned and liked cheap cars like the Ford Festiva and Aspire. I haven’t driven those (Asptiva) for a while, they may be as bad as the Nissan’s on me. Back when I had a 1990 Festiva, my physical problems weren’t as bad.

          I’m thinking it’s likely a Nissan thing. Because I have driven my neighbor’s 2012 Altima, and it hurts me as well. But, I had driven it for somewhere around 30-45 minutes before it really started kicking my @§§. It was a lot quicker in the Versas.

          I suppose a seat swap is possible, but to be honest, it wasn’t just the seats. Its the whole shape of a modern Nissan inside. Hard to describe other than it just doesn’t fit me.

          I’d rather sit on top of a Ford Taurus (D3, has been described that way on this site) than in the belly of an Altima! lol
          I get a sinking impression in that car that just isnt there in my cousin’s new Honda Accord Sport, or the 2012 Focus hatch I have taken a few trips in the past couple months, and certainly not in the parental unit’s 2012 Taurus or my old 1995.

          Bottom line, I’m glad you like yours. Even if its not my choice, people who are happy with their car make me happy for them. :)

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    Those wheels do a world of good over the el cheapo steel rims and hub caps. I don’t know what the roads are like where you are, but I wouldn’t change the suspension myself. I’ve had cars with ‘uprated’ suspensions, and to me at least, the loss in compliance wasn’t worth the handling improvement.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the same thing I’m thinking. The roads and streets around Toronto aren’t bad. But the ones within Toronto are horrific.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I always upgrade size and to alloys whenever possible. My favorite thing is putting newer style wheels on my older car. Its usually cheap and improves it noticeably.

      2004ish Taurus alloys on my 1995. I am wanting to go with current-gen Fusion or Focus wheels eventually.

      I had 2004ish 16″ alloys from an Explorer XLS on my 1996 Aerostar, with lower profile tires.

      2001 Cougar 15″ base alloys on my 1992 Tempo LX.

      2001 Focus SE alloys on my 1993 Tempo GL.

      1998 Contour SVT 16″ alloys on my 1991 Tempo GLS coupe. That one looked really sharp.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        There are web sites that will give you bolt pattern and rim offset compatibility.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Don’t forget to check the hub bore size. You can go smaller with hub rings, but larger will require a good machine shop.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          And if you look those up, you’ll see a few that may not match, with the exception of lug pattern.

          I hesitate to put this because I know there is controversy over its safety, but I just use wheel spacers where needed, and adjust the tire size to prevent rubbing. I’ve used them on cars and vans for over a decade, never had a single issue.

          The Cougar wheels fit the Tempo LX perfectly. They did not come with tires, so I had a new set of 50 series 15″ performance tires put on them. No fitment issues, didn’t look weird, it fit the car perfectly, aesthetically and physically.

          Same with the Taurus alloys, of course, since they came from just a bigger and heavier version of the exact same car.

          The Focus wheels on the (front of) 1993 Tempo wouldn’t turn (rear was fine, no rub or other issue). So, I could try to find a straight road heading to where I was going, but…spacers fixed it.
          The Explorer 16″ on the Aerostar would barely rub on the front, even with low profile tires, a thin set of spacers up front fixed it.
          There was a lip on the hub (IIRC) on the 1991 GLS so the Contour SVT wheels wouldn’t bolt on. Again, thin spacers fixed it. I still have those spacers for my next Tempo I guess lol (I have no plans, but lots of parts, if one comes along that needs me to rescue it again), I took off the SVT wheels and sold them and the car separately.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Good call – my ’03 Z has ’08 wheels. The are big improvement in looks plus wider which allows for gripper rubber. Other advantage is low price and direct OEM fitment in terms of pattern and offset. Did the same thing with my ’85 Civic by putting ’89 CRX Si wheels on. You can also often swap between makes from the same manufacturer with different brands. For example Nissan & Infiniti or Acura & Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Yes, I’ve seen G35 wheels on an Infiniti J30, looked very sharp.

          I wouldn’t mind driving a J30 again. And I’d certainty upgrade it to some more modern Infiniti RWD offset wheels.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I wish my $33K MSRP Dodge had the interior fit and finish of a subcompact Ford.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    If yours is Tuxedo Black, that’s a beautiful color. My MKS is also that color. And, yes, I do feel like the Fiesta punches above its weight in terms of thoughtful design touches.

  • avatar
    coherent-rambling

    When you’re looking at those tuning packages, make sure you’re comparing the gains over the 125PS engine spec – the 100PS spec is a European-only tune, and the 125 is what’s already in your car.

    It’s still a decent gain, but nowhere near as impressive as the jump available to a base-spec Euro car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Plz make a video telling us the quirks of this car and declare in the title if it worth the purchase price.

    Alternatively, what are 5 things you love and HATE about it?

    • 0 avatar

      Considering the purchase price was $15,000 CAD, it’s worth it in my opinion. But I wouldn’t have paid MSRP.

      Loves

      1) The engine: it’s a fun little motor
      2) The transmission/shifter: throws are a little long, but it strikes a nice balance between being notchy/tight and finding gears easily
      3) Tilt/telescopic steering
      4) Ride quality for the class fantastic
      5) Fuel economy is spot on

      Hates

      1) Sync Basic
      2) Rear seat does not fold flat
      3) Options, or lack thereof, as Ford only offers the engine on the SE trim with very little customization
      4) Lack of aftermarket support in North America, while support in Europe thrives
      5) Sync Basic
      6) Sync Basic
      7) Sync Basic
      8) Sync Basic
      9) Sync Basic
      10) Did I mention Sync Basic?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Tell me more about Sync Basic.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Made by Klingons that hate humans.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Indeed, rumor has it that the system plays “Sons of Kahless” spontaneously.

          • 0 avatar

            @FreedMike Turning off “Sons of Kahless” activates Sync Basic’s “bat’leth mode.”

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Are you guys trying to make it sound desirable to me? I don’t get it.

            #con-fused

            Ha

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Clearly John’s blood does not burn.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            JohnTaurus – I take you aren’t a Trekkie?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I am a trekkie. Hardcore. [Edit, well, there’s “hardcore” who dresses in uniform and wears a fake visor, and then there is me who could watch Next Gen and some Voyager episodes over and over.]

            I’m saying if it played ritual Klingon songs, had a “bat’leth mode” to silence insolent passengers, hey, I’m all on board. LOL

            I’m sorry the joke got lost in the delivery. :)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Then I raise my glass of blood wine, my fellow warrior. Qapla’!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I’ll take some Romulan Ale.

            (Whole Klingon bar goes silent as everyone looks at me.)

            What? At least it’s not Cardasian.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I’ll take some Romulan Ale.

            (Whole Klingon bar goes silent as everyone looks at me.)

            What? At least it’s not Cardasian.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            The dash on the 2012 has a LOT of Klingon forehead style going on. You guys have a point (or lots of little ones).

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Sync Basic was the successful result of a stringent design requirement, “Make MyFordTouch seem like an upgrade by comparison.”

          • 0 avatar
            mikehgl

            “Rear seats don’t fold flat”
            This problem exists on the Focus too but can be rectified. On the Focus, you can pull the bottom seat cushion ahead ( like you’re removing it) and then fold the upper seat flat. Might work on the Fiesta too.

          • 0 avatar

            @mikehgl I’ll give that a shot.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            My C-Max with “Sync with MyFord” (non-touchscreen…I assume this is what we’re hearing referred to here as Sync Basic) has a little “powered by Microsoft” badge by the screen. I’m pretty sure Apple paid Ford to put it there, because there’s no better advertisement for not buying Microsoft products.

            Don’t the rare actually-functional car infotainment systems (Fiat-Chrysler, Hyundai-Kia) run Blackberry’s QNX OS?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          The key to living with it is to let your phone do the heavy lifting. If you have an iPhone just long press the sync button and have Siri do everything via eyes free. This works pretty well.

          Android is a little more challenging but the modern incarnation of Android Auto that allows the Auto interface to launch on your phone improves things. I tried mounting it in a good spot and using OK Google voice detection in place of the long press of the sync button (doesn’t work on Android) but while driving this sucked. I ended up getting a little remote Bluetooth button and mounting it on the back of the steering wheel. Long press triggers the voice assistant.

          I was completely satisfied with the iPhone solution. The Android solution is 90 percent there. What I need is to have an option to pass navigation prompts via the phone profile on Bluetooth versus the media profile. This will interrupt the radio or satellite. As it is you have to route it to the phone speaker and not crank up the music or stream which isn’t always an option where I drive. People have been asking Google for this for years to no avail. Apple gets this right IMHO but I love my SD card and removable battery in the V20 so I live with it for now.

          I gather the Fiesta is special in selecting the media source or something versus the F150. Lack of space for a button or something so yeah, that sucks.

          With respect to upgrades there is one place that sells everything to integrate a larger display and sync 3 into an F150 with base sync. It is spendy at 2 grand but uses factory stuff and includes custom harnesses. With as many F150s they sell it still took 2 years to get to market. If the wiring is the same though you may be able to adapt it with junkyard brackets and stuff…but that’s a lot for a maybe. The first fit kit to mount a regular stereo just came out too…500 bucks and it is ugly.

          The moral is all that stuff just came out for a vehicle that debuted 2 years ago and sells in massive volume. I don’t see it happening for the fiesta unless something is available in Europe. The junk yard and a wiring diagram will be your likely best option and it isn’t a good one.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            AppLink sucks though…slow, unresponsive, and never able to do what I really want it to do.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        FWIW, the SYNC in your car is basically the same version of SYNC launched in 2008. However, it’s paired with a different center information display and control panel which were carried over from Europe, which is probably your source of consternation.

      • 0 avatar

        So, Mark, here’s the question: I know the engine is fun and all, but why not spend a tiny bit more to get a version with the standard engine + actual SYNC? Having experienced all three modern SYNCs in various rentals (SYNC basic, MFT, and SYNC 3), I can confirm that SYNC basic is an unusable piece of crap. Was the 3 cylinder so worth? As far as I can tell, that and cash are the only thing you would have had to sacrifice.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    What are your thoughts on modding an SE vs just buying an ST and calling it good?

    Unless I’m misreading Truecar or the pricing is very different in Canada it appears that a 1.0 SE plus wheels, tires, tune, suspension, etc pretty quickly gets close to the price of just buying an ST instead.

    Sure seems like an ST would be less effort, minimal cost difference, and presumably a better end result with better resale. What’s the benefit of going with the 1.0 as a starting point?

    Not knocking your choice; but as somebody who has considered both routes your experience taking the road less traveled here is relevant to my interests.

    • 0 avatar

      Get the ST and call it a day, unless …

      You want to do something different. You find a SE EcoBoost for next to nothing. And you want to mod it to fit you like a glove.

      But if you’re just looking for a $/hp solution, do the ST.

    • 0 avatar
      Youhavebeendone

      I got mine last month for 9250$CA + taxes (Quebec) .

      2014 race red with 39000km on the clock. The only mod I’ve done for now is to get rid of those god awful hubcaps, and to the contrary of OP, fuel economy was affected.

      With the oem tires, I averaged 6.5l/100km mixed driving. Now I have 17’s from a SVT focus on 205/45/17 rubber and I can’t go under 7.5l/100km.

      I’ve got to admit that I’ve been driving like a maniac since I got the new rubber. This setup gives the car so much grip vs stock tires. It’s addictive.

      I’ve never driven the ST, but I guess that if you don’t autocross every weekend, you’ll have as much fun in this than with an ST at a much lower entry price.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Definitely looks good with those wheels and the lower profile tires.

    What kind of mpg are you getting nowadays?

    • 0 avatar

      Around 33 mpg with absolutely no regard for fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        If you’re into the boost all the time, that’s darn good.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I was able to get about 48 in a 1.0EB without hypermiling, but that was basically a steady cruise with minimal stops along stretches of 8 Mile and Grand River.

      • 0 avatar
        dchturbo

        Was the fuel economy difference measured when the car was new versus right before the new tires were installed?

        The reason I ask is that new tires will almost always make your economy go down. If you were comparing your worn Hankooks with the new Michelin tires, you realistically actually gained some mileage. Either way, not enough to really be concerned about.

        I’d consider this car if I was in that market. The Sync Basic in my F150 isn’t too bad. Haven’t noticed any big differences in bugs compared with my Mazda 6 or VW Passat.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    What’s the good reason you went back to the stock rubber in lieu of winter tires?

    Also, what do you mean “Back to the stock rubber”? Aren’t you using the non-stock Michelins now?

  • avatar
    deanst

    I had a rental fiesta once, and I really wanted to like it as a fiesta was my first car. However, the auto transmission was a nightmare – I would consider it dangerous. This was a first or second year for this model, and I understand it has been improved, but the ability to quickly get speed was nonexistent- you’d go out to pass and the thing would just sit there for a second or two and then roar off in a hurry. This really wouldn’t matter to me as I would buy the manual, but it did get me thinking about fords engineering skills – or lack thereof.

    The other nuisance was the position of the door arm rests. I’m not a big guy, but my elbows wanted to go back further than the rests did.

    Overall, I’d probably get one of these at ford’s usual fire-sale prices if it wasn’t for reliability concerns. I don’t 100% believe consumer reports, but if they put it at the bottom of the class I worry. The other issue is the fact that fords don’t seem to get the advertised fuel efficiency – especially their turbos.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Well, I have driven a misbehaving DCT and the same unit after a reflash. It behaved a bit differently than a traditional automatic, but not worse IMO (after the service obviously, it behaved as you described before).

      Mark’s EcoBoost I-3 is only paired with a manual, as is the ST. They’re the two you’d want to take home, the two that can best take advantage of what the car has to offer.

      An automatic rental sedan (even a hatch) is really just a somewhat better alternative to a Versa or Yaris. I’d take a properly behaving DCT over Nissan’s CVT any day.

      • 0 avatar
        cdrmike

        Similar opinion of my 2 month rental. It was auto too….and crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        I had one of these and I really liked the transmission. It behaved more like a manual than an auto IMHO and I wonder if that is the issue…I only recently got my first automatic.

        Now I understand they had some issues in traffic which were noticible and effected durability…that’s not cool but mine exhibited no such behavior and I’d take one over any cvt and most conventional automatics any day of the week in this sort of car, warts and all. Admittedly I am in a minority here though

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I generally prefer manual cars, but with my chronic pain, it just doesn’t make sense as a daily anymore. 5-6 years ago, I had two vehicles and both were manual.

          I still want a little manual car or pick up to drive when I feel like it. I miss it. §hit, I was even looking at a beat up 1990s Nissan 200SX (also known as the 95+ Sentra coupe). Its ugly in a Nissan/Datsun way, which is at least interesting most of the time.

          I would really rather have a Honda, but you tend to pay real money for those if they’re worth dragging home.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      any DCT will have that kind of problem if it’s asked to downshift while staying on the same input (e.g. 4-2 or 5-3.) it can’t “blend” clutch disengagement/engagement like it can on a sequential shift.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      I have rented a few Focuses, and I feel the same about the transmission. The worst is coming to a major road from a side street with a stop sign. If you have completely stopped, the clutch will engage. It takes a tick or two once you press the gas for the clutch to disengage and go. So you have to anticipate that gap by a quarter to a half second in order to squirt in there. And if you are on an incline, you will start to move back/forward while doing it.

      I have also caught the transmission out several times in typical driving. Get off the gas during acceleration, and it will go through shifting to a higher gear. But change your mind and floor it mid gear change, and it loses it’s mind. It will jerk and sputter until it eventually figures out what gear it is supposed to be in, but in the meantime you’ve let off the gas because you feel the car has been possessed by Satan, and it has to find the proper gear again.

      Yeah, I wouldn’t buy a Focus/Fiesta auto, but God I loved the Focus for it’s fit/finish and driving capabilities. Give me a manual and I’d be okay with it.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        See, I maintain most of these sort of complaints are because it behaves like a manual, not an auto. I drove almost exclusively manuals so none of this bothered me in the slightest. But yes, if you were used to autos it would be an adjustment.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The best of the non-performance Fiestas. Should I not need the rear seat but once in a blue moon and was spending considerable time on the freeway, this is probably the subcompact I would pick. It’s solid and quiet for its size.

    Not sure I would throw any more funds towards improving the performance of it unless I planned on keeping it for a long time. If you’re trading out in a handful of years, save the cash.

    How long are you planning on keeping it?

    • 0 avatar
      focaltac

      Considerable time on the freeway; that’s my 1.0’s experience.

      I bought mine nearly two years ago to replace an aging ZX3 just before a move from Portland to deepest Southern Nevada. It’s not freeways so much here but loooong stretches of the 95 at 70 to 80. Other than the cold weather package and an alloy wheel retrofit with 195/60-15 TrueContacts it’s base base.

      The seats are smallish (like the car) and the short wheelbase keeps me more engaged at speed with little corrections, but this car does indeed punch above its weight and is aging well. The 1.0 is a marvel to live with; flat torque curve and effortless running with larger, more powerful cars on the road. I’d like a big touchscreen and android auto but meh, it’s a trade off. If I had to replace it it’d be a Civic EXT coupe 6M or a Niro LX. That won’t be happening anytime soon and that’s OK by me.

      And BTW; with ordinary driving (no hooning) I’m getting 45 – 47 MPG US gallon mixed. Gas is relatively cheap now, but the buy-in involved with using more ‘cheap’ fuel isn’t anywhere I want to be in 2017 America.

    • 0 avatar

      I think I’ll drive it into the ground. It fits my life for the foreseeable future, so I see no need to move to anything else anytime soon.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Mark, it sounds like you are just picking a lot of nits, and are probably a Ford guy. Perhaps the hood release on the Cruze isn’t as robust as the Fiesta, but “chrome” trim on the door panels and in general covers lots of sins in my book! Panel gaps? Meh… for the most part.

    I’ve driven a Fiesta once – we needed a rental car in L.A. when we were out there in October 2015. It wasn’t the Eco-Boost, though, just a run-of-the-mill rental grade model.

    I didn’t care for it at all – just another anonymous little egg on wheels that did absolutely nothing to make me want a car like that – but it did get us around town well enough. Maybe I’m just getting old, but compared to when I was young and drove smaller cars in the 70s & 80s, I was raised in full-sized cars and still prefer them, especially now because I like comfort.

    Right now, though, if I had to replace my 2012 Impala, I have no idea what I would look for, but it would not be a Fiesta – just too ugly for me, plus I’m still a Chevy guy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I hope you enjoy yours.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Beauty is also in the eye of a Turbo + manual instead of a non-Turbo + automatic. You can’t get an accurate impression for his car based on a rented car since it has a completely different powertrain and with it, personality. The regular Fiesta is there to sell against the Chevy Sonic and Hyundai Accent. Its a cheap economy car. I realize its very ugly with a blue oval on it, but put it, as Jack said in his article, in the right context.

      By the way, the point was the Cruze costs more than the Fiesta, yet had worse build quality. I guess if you’re just happy its a Chevy and not a Ford, its easy enough to dismiss.

      I believe that the car this replaced was a GM product, but even if he is a “Ford guy”, do you see any evidence of bias? He clearly likes the car, but (this may be hard to imagine) it is possible to like a particular Ford without being a “Ford guy/gal”. Ask Dal. I believe he likes his Ford C-Max for what it is, yet doesn’t wave a blue oval flag like I do, ha. In fact, he’s quite critical of Ford a lot of the time. That’s just him, and he has a right to his opinion, but it serves my point.

      Likewise, there are Chevys (and other GM product, as well as other makes) I do like, but I do consider myself a Ford man. It helps to be a little more open minded, and I’m not afraid to call a Ford a dud if that’s what it is.

      • 0 avatar

        My sentiment matches what John says here, though I wouldn’t label myself a Ford loyalist. I /have/ owned more Fords than anything else (1G Fusion, last-gen Ranger, last-gen Bronco, and now the Fiesta), but I also seriously considered a Beetle Classic before plunking down money on the Fiesta.

        As for the Cruze, here’s my major gripe: cars should get better, not worse. The first-gen Cruze is a phenomenal compact car with a great interior. This new Cruze is underwhelming. Worse, there are so many hard-edged pieces of plastic that you actually run a decent risk of cutting yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      RedRocket

      In looking at the pictures, and after sitting in a new showroomed Cruze recently, I don’t get what he is ranting about. I made a point of trying the hood release in the Cruze and it wasn’t flimsy. Probably some ham-handed auto journo cranked on the test car’s one for kicks, who knows. As for the panel gaps and seam lines, the Fiesta’s black dreariness overwhelms all while at least the Cruze tries to offer some visual interest with some brightwork, different materials and textures.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    I came this close to buying a Fiesta Ecoboost during Ford’s giveaway.. er, Cinco de Mayo sale back in 2014. For $1k more, they offered me a Focus SE 5MT and I ended up with the Focus since I thought adding wheels and tires (I hate the Hankook Optimo H426 and had them on a Sonic) would set me back about the same price.

    I’m happy with my Focus, but the Fiesta can be ridiculously fun.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    This is the first Fiesta I’ve seen that still had its driver side interior door-pull.

    • 0 avatar

      I didn’t know that was a thing.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        It’s definitely a thing with non-owner-driven Fiestas. Maybe the public employees who used the fleet I maintained until January of this year were harder on the cars than people who have any respect at all for the cars or the people paying for them. The Charlottesville public employees did everything they could to weed the poverty sleds out of the pool of cars provided by their hosts. I came away from the experience convinced that the Fiesta was the worst of the worst though. There’s something about value-engineering out the interior door locks that makes a Versa seem like a Maybach.

  • avatar
    Reuleaux

    I thought the base Fiesta was banned from Autocross?

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I bought a 2012 Fiesta new and have been driving it for five years. Up front the primary issue is of course PowerShud-d-d-er. It was better after the rebuild but it is now just tolerable. Other than PowerShud-d-d-er, it has been a good car. Excellent in gridlock. OK on the interstate. The problem with interstate driving is that everything else in South Carolina has gotten huge. F-850 and up a hunnert ever year. We are fat people in fat cars.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I have had experience with a disgruntled Ford DCT (in a Focus), I feel your pain. I wish they used the far better 6AT they use in larger cars. Its not the best in the world, but its reliable and goes about its business with little to no drama (in my experience). Which is pretty much what you want out of an automatic.

  • avatar
    escapenguin

    My Fit has issues with rock chips too. Seems to have something to do with the profile. During a few months of a long commute, it had chips all over.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Mark some questions (note – I have never been in or driven a Fiesta at all, so my questions may be dumb):

    1) While the look of the tires as to which is ‘better’ is subjective (I think the 15’s look better….more sidewall is better to a point….if they start looking like you’re trying to convert it to an off road vehicle, that’s bad! LOL), I would think that if the tires are of similar quality, that the larger tires with less sidewall would make for worse overall ride. Given the tiny size of the car, I’m thinking even with the 15’s you probably felt every little bump in the road, even with the soft suspension. I read this a few times, but can’t tell…..you went back to the 15 Hankooks, or not? Wouldn’t 17’s sort of negate the soft suspension?

    2) I don’t see any discernible difference between the photo comparisons. The seams themselves aren’t frayed or anything, and everything appears to be black plastic befitting an economy car. Is it just the idea that you can see the seams that drives you nuts?

    3) If you want more power, why didn’t you get the 1.6L engine? I thought it was offered in Canada….maybe it isn’t. or was the price on this one too good to pass up? Your prices there are more expensive overall, and the market is different, so this question in particular may be irrelevant.

    I appreciate the long term review. Would you accept such things from the B&B? I’m a few years out from a new vehicle, but I might consider contributing something like this when the time comes. I rent a lot, though, due to travel….let me know.

    • 0 avatar

      1) I certainly feel lots of bumps, but they’re dampened well, which makes it all bearable. The bumps are even more “crisp” with the 17s. I switched to the stock no-season rubber for winter only as I wanted to protect the Maxxim 17-inchers from road-salt corrosion.

      2) Seems should be hidden. But it’s also about the termination of the panels against other panels, such as the arm-rest panels against the door panel. It screams “we don’t care” and “built to a price.” The chrome bit is super chincy too. For the center console (and I’ve seen this on a new Volt as well), the panels just don’t fit together snugly, and the gaps aren’t close to uniform.

      3) Which 1.6-liter engine are you speaking of?

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Thanks a lot for the update, although unfortunately in my case it’s mostly for entertainment value. The 1.0L Fiesta was a small car that I would seriously consider if I were in a position to drive a small car, so essentially I’m living vicariously through you here.

  • avatar
    Wardotron

    It is a shame you don’t get the 138bhp version of the 1.0 Ecoboost in North America. That strikes an excellent balance between price, performance and character. Indeed, I chose to plonk down my own money on a 138bhp 1.0 over an ST after making a back to back comparison:

    https://driventowrite.com/2016/06/20/head-to-head-ford-fiesta-st-versus-ford-fiesta-zetec-s-red/

    • 0 avatar

      Ooooo. Two-door Fiesta!

      • 0 avatar
        Wardotron

        Best colour too: they should call it “Itso Red” as that’s what everyone says. I couldn’t be more happy with the car, although you are spot on about Sync. It needs a touchscreen.

      • 0 avatar
        focaltac

        This car really would be better as a 3 door. The space out back is 2+2 anyway and longer doors would provide proper elbow space for those who count. The two extra doors only serve to make child seats and sometimes cargo easier to deal with but honestly, who would buy this car over something like a Versa 4 door as a cheap family hauler? And Ford have decontented the SFE in the US to the point that your only choices are sedan or hatch and colors. Europeans can get this with different engine tunes and nice kit.

        One Ford? Uh huh…

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Getting a sportier ride without significantly compromising comfort is mostly about matching the damping to the springs. Shaikh at Fatcat Motorsports has published some good info about this on his website and YouTube.

  • avatar

    When cross shopping subcompact cars twice in the past few years, I really wanted to like the Fiesta and bring one home, but couldn’t sign the dotted line despite some of the amazing deals that Ford was offering.

    I love the zippiness of the SE with the slick manual transmission and the go-kart, almost Mini-like handling. The noise and ride quality is also well sorted and is very refined for an economy car. I also like the styling a lot, especially in the eye catching green envy. And after owning Aspires, Escorts, Explorers, and a Focus, I’m partial to Ford.

    But this car is just too cramped. There’s no getting around it. The back seat is a joke and is a tight, confined space that’s more befitting on Spirit Airlines. The front console is intrusive on my right knee, and the left door’s protruding cup holder rubs against my left ankle. As someone else mentioned, the door’s armrest doesn’t go back far enough for my 6’4′ frame. Where my elbow would rest was just hard, scratchy upright plastic.

    I continually kept going back to try the car on for size, but could just never get comfortable. Ford had some incredible deals undercutting other cars by thousands, but no dice. How Ford was able to engineer such limited space in this car’s footprint is mind boggling.

    I ended up getting a Fit but after 18 months, it proved to be too unrefined to drive.

    And then bought.a new Chevy Sonic. The Sonic truly is the best combination of style, value, driveability, refinement, and space. It feels like a big car in the way it fits me and has no compromises. Unlike the Cruze featured on here, the build quality is solid

  • avatar
    Driver8

    I would have split the difference at 16″ for the NVH benefits.
    I’d guess the extra power and stick puts you at risk of hitting the platform CoG/wheelbase limits on the stock suspension. You’ll spend a whole lot of money polishing a turd.
    Just have fun with it and keep the shiny side up!

  • avatar
    cpu

    I’m struggling with the idea that there exists a car that Crutchfield can’t outfit with a new stereo.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Sadly welcome to our brave new world… it sucks. I know someone who just got an Accord and the audio system is so integrated into the vehicles other systems (Nav, HVAC, backup cam, etc) you can’t just swap it out. Well you can, but its not a plug-n-play DIN kit type deal. You can add speakers and amps but your stuck with the (often crappy) interface.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        +1. It took several grand and a lot of tuning to make my C-Max stereo sound noticeably better. You can’t just swap out the factory head unit anymore because it’s integrated into everything else including other features you want in your car, and you can’t just replace the speakers without also adding a digital sound processor because the stock stereo is tuned specifically for the stock speakers and sounds weird with any others. Lesson learned: buy your car with the best stereo available from the factory, and leave it alone.

  • avatar
    DeSoto, Adventurer

    Re: Michelin Premier A/S tires. Just replacing mine after 2 yrs, 56000 miles on my 2013 Outback (225/60-17). With regular rotation, tread depth is now <4/32" on all 4 corners. Very even wear all around, good grip (even now), a gradual increase in road noise over time, as expected. In sum, I was very satisfied with these, as I have been with the many previous sets of various Michelins I've owned.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    The wheels remind me a lot of the ones on the Jaguar X Type: http://gtcarlot.com/colors/car/71745500.html

  • avatar
    Sphagnum Opus

    Well, Crutchfield doesn’t explicitly say a new radio won’t work, just that they haven’t researched it. They have three options, Sync w/ Sony, Sync w/o Sony, Syncless. Here’s the adapter: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_120995825S/Metra-99-5825-Dash-Kit-Silver.html?tp=3486
    I’m sure any audio installer would be happy to hack things up until it functions.


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