Kinetic Styling

Another automaker, another buzzword. Hyundai calls its design ethos "fluidic sculpture"; Ford makes a big deal out of the Fiesta's "kinetic styling." Kinetic is hardly new Ч in recent years PR scribes have attributed it to cars from the Nissan 370Z to the Acura ZDX Ч but, true to form, it works here. The Fiesta's rising beltline and sharp nose give the sense of movement; its short overhangs and taut sheet metal look as European as Е well, the European Fiesta that's been sold globally since late 2008. This is not some watered-down U.S. version, as the Ford Focus has been for much of the past decade. It looks good.

You wouldn't think it by the Fiesta's narrow stance, but it's actually slightly wider than competitors including the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa. Its 34.4-foot turning circle, however, ties the Fit for worst among that group.

The base Fiesta S has body-colored door handles and mirrors Ч a premium touch, given its sub-$14,000 price Ч while SE models add a body-colored grille. The grille is slightly different between the sedan and hatch; check out the photos to see how they differ. Fifteen-inch alloy wheels are optional on the Fiesta SE. The SEL sedan and SES hatch get 16-inch alloys, along with some nice lighting elements.

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