2011 Ford Fiesta SES

Don Sherman Jeffrey Jablansky
Matt Tierney

My, how subcompacts have changed. Offerings in this class have evolved from literal penalty boxes into stylish, sophisticated vehicles, and it's hard to argue the new Fiesta hatchback isn't exactly that.

Sure, this design has been on sale abroad for a while now, but the Euro-crafted styling still looks fresh, especially when paired with a vibrant hue, like this car's candy red metallic. Interior materials are nothing short of superb, although the control arrangements are a mixed bag. I had no qualms with the number pad placed on the center stack (it was perfect for quickly punching up Sirius stations), but I did find it a little unusual that the multi-function steering wheel buttons lacked volume control.

Much as I like the Fiesta and its fanciful features, my wallet does cringe whenever I look at that $18,000 price tag. That isn't the least bit unreasonable for a nearly loaded Fiesta, but it does sidle up to the price tags of larger competitors -- and as my colleagues have noted, that may turn off buyers here in America if gas prices continue to remain relatively low.

If you're on a strict budget, want a hatchback (which Ford only offers in the high-trim SE and SES models), and can live without the likes of Sync, Mazda's 2-a subcompact that shares its platform and sophistication with the Fiesta-may be a better option.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

This premium subcompact needs to come down in price.
Why would I buy this when I can get much more for almost the same with a base model Hyundai Sonata?With the Sonata, you get 4 wheel disc brakes, 100% more space and 67% more hp while only losing 10% in fuel economy based-on Sonata drivers' observed average 30mpg on the EPA website (fueleconomy.gov). And that's still on regular fuel. All that while paying only 11% more?!The Hyundai Sonata seems like the better call.

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