by Gabe Beita Kiser
The 2018 Ford Fiesta hatch is the continuation of the sixth generation subcompact hatchback in the US, with the 7th generation seen in the rest of the world unlikely to make it Stateside. That said, a punchy 1.6-liter inline-four motor offering 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque pairs with either a five-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and the most engaging front-wheel-drive chassis in the segment for an exciting package to boot. Priced from just $14,505, three trim levels are offered with the Titanium Hatch packing the most luxury by offering Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system, a rear-view camera, cruise control, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors. With rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic and Toyota Yaris, the Fiesta hatch is still a compelling proposition.
The Ford Fiesta line-up remains unchanged for the 2018 MY, with changes only expected for the upcoming MY 2019 Fiesta.
See trim levels and configurations:
The oldest by some margin in this segment, the Ford Fiesta is still the best driver's car out of the lot. The manual gearbox offers clean, precise shifts, while the chassis is by far the most playful – besting even the Honda Fit Sport. The suspension errs on the firmer side of things, but there's a certain joy it affords when you toss it down the street and the tautly sprung setup lets you know exactly what's happening at all four corners. The steering is adequately weighted and dishes out feedback by the heap but is never overwhelmingly sensitive. The brake pedal has an intuitive feel to it and is easy to modulate for suitable stopping responses in casual driving.
The Fiesta comes up short in terms of ride comfort in comparison to class rivals, particularly because of its tightly sprung suspension, short wheelbase, and average seat comfort. Road imperfections and typical undulations guarantee a choppy ride. It is, however, one of the quietest cars on the road, the cabin isolates tire and wind noise nicely, while the pleasant humming of the four-cylinder is still allowed some entry. The Ford Fiesta Hatchback is a daily commuter by-design, but one that reminds you driving should still be enjoyable.
Though the rest of the world has a new Ford Fiesta, for 2018 the USA soldiers on with the older, yet still robust model that's been with us from 2011. The subcompact hatchback remains the most driver-focused in class, with an engaging front-wheel-drive chassis, however since the EcoBoost motor was dropped from the lineup in 2017, enthusiasts may still find the performance somewhat lackluster. The Ford Fiesta hatch is a cracking car for those who enjoy the thrill of driving. But it is aging now, and with that, it brings a dated interior and looks that have become staid. Newer rivals also offer more cargo volume, both behind the rear seats and with the rear bench flattened, so if practicality and utility are what you're after, you'd be better off looking at the Honda Fit. If fun is what you're after, get the Fiesta, but whatever you do, get a manual and avoid the problematic PowerShift.
The Honda Fit, as the segment's long-standing class-leader, is the Fiesta Hatchback's number one benchmark. The Fit is around $2,000 more than the Fiesta at the base level but comes with a more powerful and more frugal 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It offers 30 hp more than the Fiesta and EPA figures of 29/36/31 mpg at the base level which significantly improves with the CVT-equipped trims. The Fit isn't quite as fun-to-drive as the Fiesta, but it does offer similarily nimble handling dynamics and a slightly more comfortable ride. The Fit also has the option to a few more active safety and advanced driver assists than the Fiesta, including the Honda Sensing suite of forward collision warning with emergency automatic braking. With 16.6 cubic feet of room in the trunk and Honda's popular 60/40 split-folding magic rear seats, the Fit also offers a whole lot more practicality and versatility. The Honda Fit tops the Fiesta in many aspects and is most certainly worth the slight increase in cost for its added value and overall refinement as a economical, practical, and enthusiastic daily commuter.
The Chevrolet Sonic is priced slightly higher than the Fiesta but offers two engine options, a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four-pot, and a turbocharged 1.4-liter, both with 18 hp more than the Fiesta. While the naturally aspirated engine isn't quite as frugal as the Fiesta's, the turbocharged is, with estimates of 28/37/32 mpg. The Sonic is also a spirited and nimble daily commuter with sharp handling dynamics but is not as comfortable as the Fiesta. The Sonic does offer greater practicality with 19 cubic feet of trunk room available and tops the Fiesta in its tech functionality at all levels. Having received a recent major redesign the Sonic also presents a more refined and up-to-date cabin design and impression while the Fiesta remains considerably dated. Nevertheless, the Fiesta offers a more enjoyable daily driver, with the basic amenities covered and a fun-to-drive nature at a fairly affordable price.
The most popular competitors of 2018 Ford Fiesta Hatchback: