As far as 4-door subcompact models go, the 2016 Ford Fiesta Sedan is quite attractive, especially in mid-grade SE trim with a few options added, not to mention Oxford White paint.
Like its larger Focus and Fusion siblings, the Fiesta’s stylish grille pulls cues from Mustang, albeit with chrome detailing befitting a little luxury car, while the lower fascia incorporates some edgy aerodynamic detailing and sporty fog lamps. Large headlamps take up most of its front corners, while turn signals integrated into the body-coloured mirror caps add a bit of upscale class. In the rear, an attractive set of red- and clear-lensed taillights bookend a discrete decklid spoiler, while the bumper cap gets a diffuser-style matte black finisher for a sporty look.
Special, sporty interior
Inside, it’s a celebratory combination of organic shapes, glitzy piano black plastics, metallic trims, and bright, colourful electronic displays. The primary gauges are set up in twin cylinders with aqua-blue-green needles and highlights (the same Ice Blue colour is used for the LED trip computer at centre), while the artfully sculpted dash top and instrument panel get a brilliantly graphical infotainment display protruding upward out of the centre. I’m obviously talking about Ford’s class-leading SYNC 3 interface featuring gorgeous graphics, enhanced voice command, plus loads of standard and downloadable apps via Wi-Fi. Just below is a tightly packaged audio control panel, while a very intelligently designed automatic HVAC interface is positioned underneath.
Ford makes no mention of “Special Edition” status, but the appropriately named SE’s seats are certainly special, although their impressive side bolsters, unique use of three types of black fabric, and contrasting silver stitching make me wonder if SE now stands for “Sport Edition” instead. Fortunately, they’re also comfortable to sit in while providing excellent lateral support ― a good thing as the 2016 Ford Fiesta Sedan performs well for a subcompact car.
Fun driving experience
Pull your shades from the sunglasses holder in the overhead console, grab hold of the comfortably padded, leather-wrapped steering wheel, scroll through the audio controls on its left spoke to find a favourite radio station and turn up the volume, pull the gear selector all the way back to its sportiest “S” mode, and hit the throttle. The Fiesta’s zippy 1.6L 4-cylinder engine spins past 6,000 rpm to maximize its 120 horsepower and makes its peak torque of 112 lb-ft even sooner at 5,000 rpm. Such output is plenty for a vehicle weighing in at just 1,169 kilograms (2,577 lbs) with the 5-speed manual transmission or 1,192 kg (2,628 lbs) with the 6-speed PowerShift autobox I tested. The latter features a manual mode.
The 2016 Ford Fiesta Sedan SE is efficient, too, with a combined city-highway rating of 7.6L/100km no matter which transmission you choose. And while handling doesn’t match the sporty Fiesta ST’s, this model will run rings around most of its rivals and still provide a surprisingly compliant ride, partly due to standard Torque Vectoring Control that automatically applies braking to the front inside wheel so that more power goes to the more adherent outside wheel. The optional 16” alloy wheels on 195/50R16 all-season tires also help, for sure.
The PowerShift gearbox shifts quickly and smoothly, the base engine is refined considering its size, and the entire car strikes an excellent balance between performance and comfort. Even braking is strong, the Fiesta SE only getting rear drums to go with its front discs, albeit standard ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, while its agile suspension is just independent up front with the rear setup consisting of a torsion beam. Again, it doesn’t seem to matter, at least when it comes to driving dynamics.
Comfort and convenience
When it comes to interior roominess and cargo capacity, a less complicated torsion-beam suspension takes up less space and therefore benefits both. The Ford Fiesta Sedan provides plenty of room for the hips, shoulders, legs, and head up front and about 3” in front of my knees when the driver’s seat was positioned ideally for my 5’8” frame. The rear headrests are very comfortable due to being quite tall, while lower back support is superb. I also like the way Ford has finished the backsides of the front seats in the same nice woven cloth as the sides and bolsters. There are seatback pockets for magazines or what-have-you, but no centre armrest or anything fancy like rear seat heaters. Even the heated cushions up front are a simple on/off design, although I must admit they still got plenty warm.
The rear seatbacks fold flat in the usual 60/40 configuration, expanding on the reasonably large 362L trunk, but they need to be lowered from the side doors via buttons on the seatbacks rather than cargo area releases. On the positive, Ford incorporated fold-down rear headrests so you don’t have to remove them in order to fit them behind the front seats when laid flat.
In addition to all of the above, SE trim content includes an acoustic laminated windshield, solar-tinted glass, remote powered locks, tilt and telescopic steering, one-touch turn signals, voice-activated SYNC wireless phone connectivity, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio, a capless fuel filler, a perimeter alarm, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, SOS Post-Crash Alert, and all the usual airbags including one for the driver’s knees.
My tester came with the $1,250 automatic transmission; an $1,150 upgrade package that adds chrome bezels around the fog lamps, 16” rims, a rear spoiler, sporty upholstery, adjustable lumbar support, a leather-wrapped shift knob with chrome insert, SYNC 3 infotainment, satellite radio, and more; the $550 Comfort package that includes heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and automatic climate control; plus a $100 engine block heater. These many options pushed the price up from $17,049 to $20,099 before freight and dealer fees, which might be considerably more than the base model’s $16,049 MSRP, but it was a lot more car.
All in all, the 2016 Ford Fiesta Sedan SE is not only a great little car for the price; it’s a great little car, period.