The 2012 Ford Fiesta subcompact offers levels of performance, comfort and amenities you’d expect to find in bigger, pricier cars. When you compare the Ford to a primary competitor like the Toyota Yaris – whether it’s safety, power, fuel economy, standard features or available amenities – in a head to-head comparison, you’ll find that the Fiesta either meets or outdoes the Toyota Yaris in every category and emerges as the clear choice for subcompact buyers looking to maximize their return on investment.
With a beguiling shape that emphasizes its fun-to-drive nature, the 2012 Fiesta offers five models: The S sedan (MSRP $13,200), the SE sedan, the SE Hatchback, the SEL sedan and the SES Hatchback.
Price is an immediate advantage for the Fiesta. While the base Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback sells for a slightly lower MSRP ($13,155) than the entry Fiesta S sedan, it also offers less rear-seat hip room (46.7 inches versus 49.2 inches in the Fiesta) and far less cargo space with the second-row seats in place (9.32 cubic feet versus 15.4 cubic feet) than the Fiesta. To get the Yaris sedan with a manual transmission, you have to spend $13,715, a little over $500 more than the Fiesta, and you still only get 12.9 cubic feet of cargo space.
Tack on power to the tally of advantages for the Fiesta. The Ford features a 1.6-liter 16-valve Duratec four-cylinder engine, good for 120 hp and 112 lb/ft of torque. The Yaris comes standard with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mill making just 106 hp and 103 lb/ft of torque.
Power channels to the Fiesta front wheels via a standard five-speed manual gearbox while the optional PowerShift™ automatic transmission boasts six gears (best in class) and smooth, dual-clutch direct shifting, which foregoes the added weight of a torque converter. The Yaris also features a standard five-speed manual transmission, but its available automatic gets by with four gears only.
Outfitted with the manual gearbox, the Fiesta returns 37 mpg during highway driving while the six-speed automatic raises the highway rating to 38 mpg. The best the Yaris can manage with either of its transmissions is 36 highway mpg.
If you’re looking to save even more on fuel costs, equip the Fiesta SE sedan or Hatchback with the SFE Package. Composed of cruise control, low-rolling-resistance tires, the PowerShift automatic and a host of aerodynamic enhancements including lower grille blockers and side air deflectors, the SFE Package helps bump the EPA-estimated highway mileage rating on the Fiesta to a best in class 40 mpg.
Buying a subcompact to help keep extra money in your pocket does not mean you need to sacrifice occupant protection. In the Fiesta, you can feel secure at speed thanks to standard driver aids such as four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and the AdvanceTrac™ traction control with electronic stability control (ESC) system. ESC automatically applies the brakes and modulates engine torque to counter wheel slip and keep you on the right track under cornering or in slick conditions.
In the event of a crash, the Fiesta protects you and your passengers with a segment-leading array of seven airbags including side-curtain units and a first-in- its-class driver’s knee unit. The Yaris offers only six airbags. Another exclusive safety advantage for the Fiesta: The exterior side-view mirrors feature small convex mirrors mounted on their outer edges, which let you monitor the car’s blind spots.
Fiesta value continues in the form of a comprehensive standard features list. Highlights include power door locks, an auxiliary audio input jack for connecting an iPod, a rear-window defroster, air conditioning, a 60/40-split rear seatback with adjustable head restraints and a four-inch multifunction LCD display mounted high on the instrument panel for easy viewing.
You can also opt for heated leather front seats with contrast piping, a power moonroof and the hands-free SYNC® system with voice-controlled Travel, Directions and Information and the Pandora radio app. You can’t get these features on the Yaris at any price.
After road testing the new Fiesta, Car and Driver magazine announced that the car “has what it takes to be a hit.” Clearly, the 2012 Ford Fiesta tops the charts when compared to the Toyota Yaris. Come sample the new hit among subcompacts for yourself by scheduling a test drive.