Our Elantra was sadly totaled last month in an accident on Fairfax County Parkway, but fortunately the insurance settlement was enough to pay for most of a new car: a 2014 Ford Fiesta SE sedan.

Ford Fiesta SE (2014) in red

Once you get past the gaping carp-like front grill, the Fiesta is a decent cheap subcompact. Dimensions-wise it’s a few inches shorter and narrower than the Elantra, but much lighter. From behind the car seems to sit a bit high, though this might just be an illusion from the slim form factor. It’s got a zippy engine, smooth automatic shifting, tight steering, and a quiet ride. On its first long trip between VA and NJ the trip computer showed an impressive fuel economy of 44 mpg.

Ford Fiesta interior

The interior feels spacious for a subcompact, and trunk space has been sufficient for our needs. The dashboard unfortunately uses Ford’s somewhat confusing V-shaped button interface on the center console, a user-unfriendly configuration I’ve dubbed “angel wings.” Apparently even this dashboard design is still more desirable than the touchscreen debacle known as “MyFord Touch.”

For now the Fiesta is more than enough for our 4-door sedan needs — despite being a subcompact, it’s our “big” car (the small one being our Fiat 500).

To some extent I must credit Ford’s “Fiesta Movement” PR campaign for this decision; every time I see a Fiesta I remember conversing with @brooklynhilary about her Fiesta adventures some years ago, which kept Fiestas on my mind all these years till just when we needed a new car and, in addition to price point, provided just that needed push to influence the purchase decision.

The car’s unofficial mascot is Fiesta Spider. (Unrelated to past spider-related car recalls.)