2012 Ford Fiesta
- Fuel economy: 33 mpg combined
- Starting price: $13,200
- Zero to 60: 9.5 seconds
As a sporty subcompact, the 2012 Ford Fiesta comes in three sedan models and two hatchback models. The S sedan model holds the lowest price tag at $13,200. More features are standard on the SEL sedan and SES hatchback models, but you'll pay a starting price of $16,600 and $17,500, respectively.
It jumps to life with 120 horsepower from a 1.6-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine. The S comes stocked with a five-speed manual transmission, which will get you an EPA-estimated 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. The optional Powershift 6-speed automatic delivers 29 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined.
The "super fuel efficiency" package mildly increases the economy, getting 40 mpg on the highway. With a manual transmission, you scoot from zero to 60 in 9.5 seconds, and the automatic will get you there in 11.3 seconds, according to Edmunds. Aside from the slower acceleration time, the Fiesta has excellent handling, precision suspension tuning and smooth shifting.
Stability control, integrated blind-spot mirrors and seven air bags are standard on the Fiesta.