Whether it was the gas mileage, the agility of a small hatchback, or the involvement in the rally car scene, something inspired you to get the keys to a Ford Fiesta. With any new car it is important to give it the best protection, and nothing says protection like 24 hour surveillance that you can install by yourself.
A dash cam can be a witness during an accident, proof during a hit and run, or simply an extra pair of eyes when you aren’t around your vehicle; But you don’t want to install just any old dash cam, right?
Let’s dive into the best dash cams and considerations for your Ford Fiesta.
When installing a dash cam in a smaller hatchback like the Ford Fiesta ST, space and placement is critical. A dash cam is extremely useful in capturing vital footage in a crash or accident, but in the wrong place it could potentially cause more crashes.
My recommendation is to place the dash cam directly behind the rearview mirror where it can get a clear view of the road, as well as be out of your way when driving. If that doesn’t work for you, the second place I recommend is putting to the direct left or right of the rear view mirror.
Keep in mind the style of mount your device comes with. Commonly, dashcams will have a suction cup mount or adhesive tape mount. These two mounts are very different when it comes to placement because the suction cup method will be bulkier and hold the device lower than an adhesive tape mount would. Pay attention to where the lens will sit before attaching the mount to the window.
When it comes to placement in the front, there are three locations to avoid. Placing the lens behind the factory window tint can distort the image that the device will receive. Also, placing the camera outside of the windshield wiper area will allow rain to block the lens and make viewing license plates harder to see. Finally, don’t put your dash cam anywhere that blocks your view as the driver. With the Fiesta having a small windshield you are limited in space; However there are plenty of spots to put your device once while test fitting and you’ll find out what works for you.
With the back window you have a bit more freedom when deciding where to place your lens. Anywhere from the very top to the very bottom of the window can be an option. Even placing your device on the left or right edge of the windshield can offer a great vantage point to see the road behind you, just make sure that the camera can swivel left and right to compensate for the offset placement.
The rear window has the same locations to avoid as the front windshield so always be aware of your window tint, wiper pattern, and your view as a driver. It is extremely important to offset your device on the rear window from your rearview mirror. The last thing you want is to hit something while backing up because your camera is in the way.
Something to keep in mind is your wiring. If the bottom of your back windshield is where you want your placement to be, consider how you will hide the wires from dangling and potentially getting knocked or cut.
Due to the moving rear window in the back, you will need to route power in a more mobile way. The two main ways to get your power from the front to the back is either by tucking the wire in the headliner, or hiding the cable in the base boards.
Getting your wire from the chassis to the rear door will also be a hassle. I recommend using the factory rubber hose that houses the wires to the rear taillight and the defroster to guide your dash cam’s wire to it’s destination.
Hardwiring is one of the best things you can do when it comes to a dashcam install. Luckily, the Ford Fiesta (from the basic Fiesta to the Fiesta ST) will have an interior fuse box available behind the glove box. With a simple squeeze of the glove box sides you can tilt the compartment further down, exposing the hidden fuses. With plenty of room for a fuse tap you can easily hardwire your dashboard camera into your car’s electronics. By installing the power wire from your dashcam straight to your fuse box, rather than your 12v car charger outlet, you can clean up the look of your new Ford Fiesta and make the whole install look professionally done. Refer to your hardwire kit instructions, or the plethora of YouTube and Google help guides.
Features to Look For
When decking out your Ford Fiesta, it is important to consider a couple different features when choosing the perfect dash cam: discreteness, night vision, and a solid parking mode. Make sure you look at the details of any product before purchasing it.
There are a couple schools of thought when purchasing a dashcam. Some people believe that the dashcam should be visible to other drivers. This might deter other drivers from giving you a hard time on the road, and provide the best angles to capture license plates, car details, and potentially facial features.
Others agree that a dashcam should be secretive, and by hiding the device you decrease the possibility of it being stolen, and you can potentially see road rage on the street by a driver who doesn’t realize he is being recorded.
My recommendation is to keep the device visible. Being completely transparent about recording people in public is always the safest and best decision in my book. Not to mention, you do not jeopardize a great lens angel by trying to keep the device out of sight.
Night vision is extremely important when it comes to your dash cam because accidents don’t exclusively happen during the day. Many dashcams come with a night vision feature, but the important detail is how well the camera performs at night.
If night vision is important to you, consider scanning over each product to find their aperture size. In simple terms, the aperture measures how much light it lets in. The smaller the number, the better night vision the camera will have. Look for devices with a F1.8 or less, these will have the clearest picture when you check the footage.
Almost all dashcams will include a “Parking Mode” feature that gives your new Ford an extra layer of protection when you are not around. While most parking modes do the same thing, they differentiate themselves by how they are activated. Some devices will be equipped with “G-sensors” which will detect when the car is bumped or bashed. Others will rely on motion detection to catch a car hitting your bumper, or maybe even a thief attempting to break in. Either way, be sure to assess what you need in your before finalizing your purchase.
VIOFO A129 Duo
- Cheapest of the three on this list
- Includes rear camera
- Capacitor instead of battery
- Bluetooth remote is not included (like it has been in other VIOFO cameras and packages)
At an astounding $169 on Amazon, the VIOFO A129 Duo is one of the cheapest dual device dash cams available. If you are looking for a single purchase to protect your new Ford Fiesta, there are very few cheaper dashcam packages you can purchase.
The A129 is built with a capacitor, instead of a battery, that improves efficiency for the dashcam. This is good for decreasing heat in the device and preventing the device from draining your car battery.
The VIOFO A129 Duo comes with everything you will need to install the kit, along with a plastic wedge to help tuck wires under panels and headliners. A hardwire kit will have to be purchased separately, but the VIOFO kit comes with a 12v plug for your car outlet that supplies power to your device. Not to mention, a 20 foot mini USB wire will give you more than enough room to connect your rear camera.
When it comes to video quality the VIOFO A129 Duo has one of the best video qualities in dashcams in this price range. Using this quality of video will be extraordinary when put in a tight situation like a hit and run.
Garmin Dash Cam Tandem
- Great for rideshare driving
- Voice commands that are very responsive
- Messier wires (due to lower placement than other cameras)
- No screen or interface
Uber and Lyft is becoming a hobby, and maybe even a career for some. You need as much footage as you can get to prepare for the worst case scenario. Having a front facing camera and one that can watch the interior of the cabin is game changing. The Garmin Dash Cam Tandem has two 180 degree cameras that can produce footage from outside, and inside, the vehicle.
The Tandem comes with a 16 GB SD card, which takes care of your storage concern. Boasting a powerful 1440P resolution in the front, and a 720P resolution for the interior and night time footage. Garmin includes a wire that connects the dashcam to your 12v car outlet socket, and another wire to connect the dashcam to your laptop or computer.
However, an issue you might experience is with the low placement needed in order to function. Having an interior lens, the camera needs to be placed low enough on the windshield that it can see the back seats. This means that tucking wire and a neat placement becomes hard. Nonetheless, when it comes to footage of passengers, there is no way around the most efficient way to capture it.
Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam
- Amazon’s Alexa installed
- Compact mount
- Extremely comprehensive app
- Rear or interior camera add-ons cost more money
The final addition to our list is the Nextbase 522GW dash cam. At about $200 dollars for the base camera. This basic package will get you everything you need to set your dashcam up and start driving from compact mount to USB wire that plugs directly in your 12v car charger socket.
The Nextbase 522GW comes with an incredibly thorough mobile app that seems to leave nothing behind. From vehicle telemetry, to GPS locations, and even an extremely useful SOS feature. And with Alexa on board, its almost like having a road companion who is keeping an eye out for you and your Fiesta.
When it comes to camera quality the 522GW displays it’s highest quality video at 1440P and 30FPS. While this isn’t phone or video camera quality, it is one of the best quality you will get on a dashcam. For storage space, the complete Nextbase 522GW kit comes with a branded 64 GB SD card.
If you are interested in adding more to your protection, Nextbase offers rear and interior dash cams that can be easily plugged into the front dash cam and seamlessly integrate into your system. If you are looking for a cheap, all inclusive dash cam system than I think you’ve found it.