2011 Ford Fiesta SES
Power: 129hp @ 6350rpm
Torque: 112ft-lbs @ 5000rpm
Engine: 1.6L I4
Fuel Consumption: 29/38mpg
Price as Tested: $19,660

There's nothing we enjoy more than a good party. That must have been what Ford had in mind with the new Fiesta, especially when you consider that the company launched the car in the U.S. in 2009 with a social media campaign aimed at young people. Who else would buy a lime-green car? Ford even designed it with a Red Bull can holder.

The Fiesta is designed for those who want cheap transportation to be a little more than just cheap transportation. The car has a five-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 120 horsepower, offering more driving excitement than its competitors in the subcompact class. The Fiesta is a nimble little car that inspires confidence when taking corners at speed, even though that speed doesn’t come easily. From a stop, it will take 10 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour. That’s not exactly hustling.

On the inside, it isn't the cheap econobox interior you'd expect from a sub-$20,000 car. It was deceivingly comfortable—even my 6-foot-5 friend had enough room up front. The back seat, however, is a bit tight and not meant for extended trips.

The standard six-speaker sound system surprised me. It sounded great, and I thought there was a sub in the car, but I couldn't find it listed in the options. You can control the stereo with the voice-activated Sync “infotainment” system. Ford is rather proud of this. It took me a while to work it out, but the system was certainly useful. It was cool to watch it actually understand me. When I told Sync to play an artist, it played that artist.

Think of the Fiesta this way: This is your first car, the one your parents help you buy because you’re always bumming rides. And you’re too polite to say you would rather have a Mustang. The Fiesta, with a base price of $14,000, is an inexpensive way to get around, returning mileage of 29 in the city and 38 on the highway.

The Fiesta is quicker, better looking and comes with more standard options than the other cars in this class. It’s a solid choice. Hey, who doesn't enjoy a good party?