By on August 4, 2010

For many Americans, the words “Ford Fiesta” dredges up memories of a crappy claustrophobic tin can that fights the Geo Metro for the title of Worst American Small Car of the decade. The only time I ever wanted a fiesta was during a drunken weekend in Cabo, but the fiesta in mind had more to do with Cabo Wabo than Dearborn Michigan. Of course “Mr Euro” types know that the Fiesta has changed considerably since it last visited our shores, and as Jack Baruth found out at Ford’s Fiesta launch fiesta, Ford’s subcompact is now the most Euro-thentic subcompact on the market. But how well will a Fiesta actually handle an American commute? Ford lent me a baby-poo yellow example for a week to answer just that question.

First, a few slightly pedantic points must be made about the Fiesta’s European credentials. As with other products that come across the Atlantic, the naturalization process has exacted a toll on the trendy European. The front and rear bumpers have been extended due to differing bumper legislation in the U.S., the transmission ratios have been altered in the standard 5-speed manual, the suspension has been tweaked slightly, and to make small-car-adverse Americans feel more cozy about buying a small car, there is a questionably useful knee-airbag bringing the total bag count to 7 but thankfully the whole package only increased the mass by 115lbs. Anyone fearing death-by-small-car will be glad to know that although the NHTSA and IIHS have yet to rate the Fiesta, it did score 5 stars  in the Euro-NCAP tests. (NHTSA and Euro-NCAP tests cannot be directly compared, but star ratings are typically similar)

Aside from getting fatter in the land of fast-food, the Americanized Fiesta includes a sedan variant currently available only in the US and China. Almost 14 inches longer than the hatch, the sedan proves that even Ford thinks the American market isn’t ready to go the full Euro just yet. The sedan has the distinction of being $1,800 cheaper than the hatch, which may be just enough to convince you to disregard the goofy looking trunk that is little more than a luggage slot in the rear of the vehicle. It’s no wonder that Ford’s press shots never seem to show the sedan from behind. Trunk lovers will be happy to hear that the bootylicious Fiesta sacrifices only one tenth of an inch of rear head room, and manages to be only 40lbs heavier than the hatch.

Typically when mainstream European vehicles come to our shores, the interior gets cheap and nasty. Not so with this Fiesta. The irritating ergonomics of the volume knob and SYNC voice button aside, the interior is nothing short of amazing. And not just for Detroit, but for any vehicle in North America under $25,000. No passenger during my week with the Fiesta could resist squishing the soft textured dash, padded door armrests or marvelling about how quiet the Fiesta was on the road. Yes, you read that right, a compact car that’s actually quiet on the freeway. Oddly enough the  Fiesta is quieter than the Mercedes C63 or Infiniti M56 I had the weeks prior.

The benefit of all this quiet tuning is evident when using the Ford SYNC system. Phone calls sound fairly natural, the iPod integration and voice control is essentially the best in the business and I would be happy with just that. But Ford couldn’t leave well enough alone and threw in satellite radio and rudimentary navigation and other services via the SYNC Driver Services, a 3 year subscription is included and according to Ford we should expect downloadable apps that would enable Pandora music streaming soon. Still, I must find some fault with the lack of an up-level sound system, knowing that the Fiesta is targeted at the younger crowd, the lack of a premium sound solution is doubly strange given that the Fiesta can’t be upgraded with a standard size head unit. Proving that cost had to be cut somewhere is the headliner which seems to be made of the same material as trunk liner in my dad’s ‘86 Cutlass Ciera.

Behind the wheel the Fiesta continues to impress, but the differences between the Euro and American Fiesta become more apparent; the 5 speed manual transmission sports different ratios on our shores. While I appreciate the decision to make fifth gear taller for improved fuel economy, first and second gear are too short compared to third. This is obvious when entering a freeway onramp three gears are required to get to compared to two in the EU. As a result of this gearing change 0-60 times are almost a second longer in the US model. The 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch transmission (functionally similar to the Volkswagen DSG) is the transmission to get and I am sure will be the most popular option. Not only do you get 5MPG better economy on the highway, but the Fiesta scoots to 60 faster and the gear ratios are far more pleasing for the average driver. Speaking of those MPGs, despite being rated at 35MPH on the highway, my 5-speed manual Fiesta tester averaged 42MPG in my daily commute involving going from sea level to 800ft nearly a dozen times, some mild traffic and average speeds of 70MPH.

The Fiesta handles incredibly well, due as much to an excellent suspension setup as the light curb weight. Ranging from 2537lbs to 2628lbs, the Fiesta is a featherweight by modern American standards. Muscle car buffs will scoff at the stock 120HP and 112lb-ft of torque, but for an econobox with the fuel economy of a hybrid, it’s quite respectable. Performance addicts may be able to rest easy as the internet rumour mill is alive and well with talks of a turbocharged EcoBoost version bowing next year. If it’s priced right I just might be the first to sign up.

Let’s talk competition. Compared to the Yaris, Fit and Soul, the Fiesta provides far greater interior refinement and more electronic gadgets than you would expect in this price class. Sure the base price of the Fiesta is higher than the Asian competition but for the equipment, it seems easy to justify. Our tester was a well-equipped SES hatchback with SYNC, upgraded paint, keyless go and heated seats carrying a price tag of $18,890 (a Fiesta SE sedan, PowerShift transmission and SYNC lists for $16,660). At this price point a comparison to the Volkswagen Rabbit is unavoidable. The Rabbit offers more power and a bit more room, but at the end of the day the Fiesta is still not only the better value, but arguable the better car.

The most direct competition for the Ford comes in the form of its cousin from the land of the rising sun: the Mazda 2. Compared to the 2, the Fiesta delivers more horsepower, more finesse, SYNC and better fuel economy due to the 6-speed PowerShift tranny (The Mazda gets an old 4 speed slushbox). At the end of the day, the Fiesta is quite possibly the best small car in America. The fly in the ointment is the upcoming Focus; if Ford applies the same formula in the conversion of the 2012 Focus for the American market, will the Fiesta find continuing sales success? Note to Ford: a 200HP Fiesta could be the GTI for this generation.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

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121 Comments on “Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta SES Take Two...”


  • avatar
    Jimal

    Not to blow out the initial premise of this article, but the Fiesta was sold in the U.S. in from 1978 to 1980. The Geo Sprint, in the form of the Chevrolet Sprint, didn’t come out until 1985 at the earliest. When did they compete against each other for the North American Anything of the Year?

    • 0 avatar
      dkulmacz

      I think the author is confusing the Fiesta with the Asian-sourced Festiva, later renamed the Aspire (recently made famous by JB’s excellent article on selling pink cars).

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      You know, I think you’re right. Well that just throws the opening premise off that much further.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      My sister and I both had 1980 german-built Fiestas; loved them. Fun to drive, easy to toss-about, durable, quick, economical, roomy, comfortable … aside from the brakes need more than average service, these were great little cars.

      I never knew anybody that had a 1978-80 Fiesta that didn’t like theirs.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      The Fiesta was the best small car of its time!
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/curbside-classic-1976-ford-fiesta/
       

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      “Ford lent me a baby-poo yellow example for a week to answer just that question.”

      Awesome. No, actually I mean aweful. Alex, thanks, you ruined my day but whenever I see a new Fiesta, I’ll remember your description.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Looks like a bar of Lifebuoy bar soap! Just about the right color, too! ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Nice review…but I believe that the car you are referring to in the opening paragraph is the Festiva, not the original Fiesta.

    The original Fiesta was imported from Europe in the late 1970s, and was phased out in the U.S. when the Ford Escort debuted for 1981. It was withdrawn from the American market long before the Geo Metro debuted. It was NOT tinny or especially crappy, and actually acquitted itself rather well against a contemporary VW Rabbit or Honda Civic. It was also a huge critical and commercial success in Europe.

    The Festiva was imported from South Korea in the late 1980s, and actually wasn’t a bad car. It ran and ran and ran…although it looked like a phone booth on wheels. It was replaced by the Ford Aspire, also sourced from South Korea…now THAT was a crappy car.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That’s actually been my point (Festiva vs. Fiesta) when I’ve suggested changing the name of the car for it’s North American debut. Everyone I’ve talked to, save for a few gearheads, thinks about the Kia-sourced Festiva when they hear about the 2011 Fiesta.

      Mind you, naming products is not exactly Ford’s forte. I can’t think of a car they’ve launched in the last decade whose naming strategy wasn’t slightly slightly f_cked up.

      Wait, yes I can. The Mustang and F-Series.

      Other than that they’ve pooched the marketing on everything, either by renaming it half a year after it showed up (Zephyr, Five Hundred) to resurrecting nameplates with questionable equity (Taurus, Explorer) to MKFillInTheBlank to Name By Committee (Flex) to getting sued for infringement (LS, Fusion).

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      The whole convention of beginning Ford trucks with E and cars with F and Mercury cars with M, was just so lazy and stupid…

      Had this been in place one would have had the:
      - Model F and Model EE (not T and TT)
      - Fedsel and/or Medsel
      - Funderbird (actually kinda cool)
      - Fustang (not so cool)
      - Mougar
      - and the F-Series becomes the E-Series, but what becomes the E-Series if not the Eransit?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The alliteration in the naming scheme helps people associate the model with the brand, which is vitally important when it comes to marketing. When Mazda switched to the numeric names for its vehicles they sent out releases to the press and to the dealers imploring use of the full name ‘Mazda3′ instead of just the ’3′ for example.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean23

      Robert, it’s been worse at Mercury. Prior to “M” cars, they were all named after cats. I drove an unfortunate exmaple for four years, the Escort clone the Lynx. Then there was the Pinto clone, the Bobcat. It goes on….

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Interesting that, just like the Nissan Versa, the strippo model is the trunk-back, not the hatchback.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Wow, between this review and Baruth’s review of the Cruze, I might finally have to forgive GM and Ford for the last 30 years worth of lousy small cars. It’s great to see them offering competitive vehicles in the segments, class leading even.

    Now about the Caliber…

  • avatar

    And once again we learn that nothing gets past our Best and Brightest.
    Without speaking for Alex, I’m going to have plead youth on not catching the Fiesta/Festiva issue in editing. And since Ford’s marketing the Fiesta to young ‘uns like Alex and myself, I think it’s a fairly significant untruth. Historical accuracy is important, but the point that the new Fiesta’s buyers will likely associate the name with a long-gone penalty-box hatch is valid to my mind.

  • avatar
    Wagen

    Thanks for the great review, Alex. Could you comment on two things:

    1) How’s the rear legroom when the front seats are adjusted to a normal position? I’ve heard/seen conflicting opinions on this one.

    2) You compare this car to the VW Rabbit (now called the Golf again). A couple of generations ago, when VW’s interiors were nearly indistinguishable from Audi’s, they were considered the de facto standard for interior quality. With the praise you gave to this car’s interior quality, how would you compare the two?

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      Agreed. This thing is more of a 2+2, akin to the some of the old hatch sports cars that threw in a rear seat to use in a pinch. Consider it a sporty two seater and it makes more sense. Family’s that need to seat 3 or 4 actual real people will need to look elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      lazybratsche

      The rear seat is pretty tight, though it’s not totally useless. An average-size front passenger can scoot up their seat enough that an average-size person can sit behind them, and even have a bit of knee room. However the driver can’t comfortably slide forward very much, so you can only fit someone short behind the driver.

      I’d say you can carry three average-size adults for moderately long trips without much discomfort. The fourth person wouldn’t have any knee room at all whatsoever, and the only way you could get a fifth in is if they were skinny and really liked their seatmates.

      Front seats are very comfortable though, even with two taller passengers.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      I’m 5’10″ and I can sit “behind myself” in the Fiesta. It’s not terribly roomy in the back seat, but it’s roomier than I would have expected. People with longer legs will have some trouble, though.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIncognito

      I had a rental in europe, and the back seats are very small. I’m 6’3″ and no one was going to be able to sit behind me. Smaller adults might fit for cross-town rides, but if you’re tall, you aren’t going to be able to put 4 people in this car with any sort of comfort.

  • avatar

    Rear legroom is awful, easily worst in class. I’m 5-9, and can barely squeeze behind myself. This will be the #1 reason people buy something else in this segment. I’m personally looking toward the next Focus (which directly competes with the Cruze) rather than the Fiesta as a likely replacement for my Protege5 for this reason.

    Another reason might be unproven reliability. Quite a few owners have already signed up to participate in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, so we might have some initial stats as early as November.

    To participate in the survey:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Michael, I’m with you.

      Look, I guess I have to drive this thing again since most reviews are totally different from my experience.

      The thing is god-awful small.
      The rear seat has no knee room.
      The dual clutch trans was supposed to make me feel great, but instead labored horribly with this rodent driven power plant.
      It was awful, simply awful, driving this car up an on-ramp or trying to kick it up a notch at 60 MPH.

      I’m in complete agreement…wait for the Focus (or the ecoboost next year).

      Even though it’s a smaller car, if you don’t live in down-town Chicago or NY…why buy this thing?

      Get a scooter.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Rear legroom isn’t good if the front seat drivers like to recline their seats much.

      That being said, this is the smallest car in the Ford lineup, and not every sedan or hatch needs to be acceptable for family use where the back seats are going to see a lot of butts. Front seat room is actually about on par with the Focus, and for all of the younger driver’s and empty nesters without kids, or as a commuting car to compliment the family hauler, it makes a lot of sense.

      If you come to my lot and tell me you need something to take you, your spouse, and your two kids around a lot, I’m not going to start by showing you the Fiesta. It isn’t aimed at that market, and doesn’t stack up well there. For those who don’t need or care about the rear seat space though, the rest of the car is very well designed and it shines.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If you come to my lot and tell me you need something to take you, your spouse, and your two kids around a lot, I’m not going to start by showing you the Fiesta.

      The problem with this car is that the Versa, Fit and Aveo can all fit a small family without grief. Heck, the Versa can do a better job than most compacts and a few midsizers. Even the Yaris isn’t too bad.

      I can see what Ford was trying to do, but it’s at a serious competitive disadvantage. Imagine if the F-150 couldn’t tow half as much as the Ram, Sierra or Tundra. Your solution (“I wouldn’t even show it to you”) wouldn’t be adequate.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      As much as I hate to admit it ( I have before though) the Versa really is a gem… and its clear why its the best selling in this class.
      Its the most comfortable and roomy car by car, its also simple to operate and drama free.
      While the Mr. Euro in me loves the Fiesta, I would only get it if I were unpopular or not married.
      If I ever had to take more than one person somewhere alot, I would buy the Versa simple because there is literally NO rear seat space in the Fiesta.
      Really makes me wonder how the car sells so well in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      psar –

      The problem with that analogy is that towing capability is one of the primary duties of a pickup truck, while carrying a family around isn’t necessarily one of a subcompact car. For the odd customer or two who might want to make a car this size their main family vehicle, I agree the Fiesta isn’t the right choice, but we aren’t getting people on the lot who are looking for that.

      These cars are being targeted at, and purchased for the most part by, single people, older people with no kids, or as second or third cars. The Fiesta needs to look cool, have a lot of technology for the younger buyers, get great gas mileage, and be inexpensive to maintain. It does all those things well, carrying people in the back seat is just a minor secondary concern for a car like this. It’s similar to how the Mustang sells well despite not having a very usable back seat – it just doesn’t matter to the customers who this car is aimed at.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Nullo,

      I see your point, but I don’t think you’re seeing mine. I know what Ford is trying to do, but the problem is that, in North America, it’s at a huge disadvantage versus it’s competition, and it’s obvious from the Versa’s sustained sales that rear-seat space is something people want and see as important.

      The Mustang is a different ball o’wax entirely: it’s a vanity car, and it’s being bought for the driver’s enjoyment. The Fiesta is competing in the penultimate “Bran Flakes” segment (minivans being the ultimate). Unless Ford is going to take this against the Mini (and see Mini sales numbers) what they intend is irrelevant; it’s what buyers want that matters.

      Yes, people could buy a Focus to get decent rear space, but Honda doesn’t make you buy a Civic, not Chevy a Cobalt, nor Nissan a Sentra to do the same.

  • avatar

    i have to be honest, i disagree with this review. we have one just like that at KBB right now. while the driving dynamics are decent enough, i personally found it very difficult to get my ipod to play with the car. you have to go into this media menu, then select input source to USB, then once you have it connected up, it’s virtually impossible to change albums or artists using the car’s controls. it was a million times faster to just disconnect the ipod and do it on the ipod itself.

    the biggest problem i have with it is something i can’t believe you didn’t mention: there is no center armrest. nothing. not an armrest that you can swing down on the side of the seat, not a center console, nothing. the only thing you can rest your right arm on is your lap.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      The aftermarket has an armrest. $175. It looks very decent.
      I suspect Ford dealers will have fun marking it up to supply in the car when its delivered.

    • 0 avatar

      Sean,

      With the iPod, all you have to do is press the voice button and say “USB.” There is no need to fiddle with a menu. You also command tracks, playlists, artists, genres with the voice commands as well. You can also turn shuffle on, off, ask the Fiesta for “similar music” and a wide range of other commands. If you feel that you must see your iPod, then you will need to use the menu system. For a car of this class however I cannot say the menu system is better or worse than the competition since much of the competition in this price range has very basic iPod integration.

      Personally, I did not find the lack of centre armrest to be a problem. More of a personal preference there.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      The other thing you can do with your right arm is put the hand that’s connected to it on the steering wheel… You know, where it should be… If this disingenuous criticism is really the biggest problem you have with the vehicle then it would seem Ford did a pretty good job.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      @itsgotvtakyo

      Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      dkulmacz

      Sean,

      To build on Alex’s advice . . . just double-tap the Voice button (to bypass the lovely but extraneous voice prompt) and say “USB” (or “Bluetooth Audio” if you use your phone as a music player). Then, just say “Play album Out of the Blue”, or “Play track Only in my Dreams”, or “Play artist Debbie Gibson” . . . and your iPod will deliver (or not, depending on your musical taste). It really works, just give it a try.

      Just remember Rule #2 . . . the Double-Tap. If I had to listen to The Voice for everything I did, I could not take it. But using the double-tap and just speaking a command is great.

      The voice recognition is really darn good, even on my 2009 Mustang (a very early system not ‘designed in’ to the car). It works transparently about 99% of the time, but 1% it will be stupid and not understand a word I say (I think this happens to me maybe every other week, and I seriously talk to my car probably 10 times a day while commuting). I just take a deep breath, wait a minute, and try again . . . and usually it’ll work just fine again. I really can’t explain this, since I’ve talked to it going 70 with the windows down and it’ll understand, and fought with it while idling at a light in winter. I suppose it might be a psychotic break, and I only think I’m talking to my car . . .

      If you drive the car a lot, sync your phone with it, too. It’s just as easy to use . . . hit the Phone button, double-tap the Voice button, and say “Call mom” if she’s only got one number, or “call John Doe at work” if he’s got several. If somebody calls you, just hit the Phone button to answer, then talk and listen. If you get out of the car and your call’s not done . . . the phone just disconnects from Sync, and you keep walking and talking into your phone.

      Now for full disclosure, I’ll gladly admit that I’m a Ford engineer . . . though associated with neither the Fiesta program nor the Sync system. As a user, though, I have to say I would never buy another car without Sync (nor would my technophobe wife).

    • 0 avatar

      i probably should have tried the voice control. i was mostly fumbling with it in traffic so that definitely would have been a better alternative.

      the aftermarket armrest argument is a poor one though, in my opinion. you can apply the same logic to engine power:

      person 1. “boy, i like that fiesta, but the engine is a dog!”

      person 2. “this is not a problem. you can just get aftermarket engine mods and bolt ons to make it go faster.”

      both arguments are equally absurd.

      @itsgotvtakyo: apparently you don’t drive a stick shift. you really don’t need two hands on the steering wheel unless you’re trying to pass a driving test.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      Your comparison is a poor one. Engines make the power they do because of comprises that have to be made amongst power, design, fuel economy, price, packaging constraints, reliability, et al. Modifying a factory engine package to create more power will be to the detriment of the factors I mentioned and many more. When you add an arm rest to a vehicle that’s all you’re doing; adding an armrest. There aren’t any unforeseen negative consequences, you’re just addressing a need you had in the vehicle without affecting anything else.

      As for me not driving a manual transmission vehicle, you’re wrong by a factor of three. All three of my vehicles have manual transmissions, as will any vehicle I happen to own for the foreseeable future. Your garbage analogy of armrests and engine modifications is almost as bad as your claim of not “needing” two hands on the wheel for anything other than impressing a driving instructor. Will the average person crash into a wall while driving down a straight road if they take one hand off the wheel? No. Does two hands on the steering wheel make for a safer driver that is more capable of reacting quickly to unexpected changes from other vehicles and road conditions while allowing one to execute precision maneuvers and maintain absolute control of their vehicle? Absolutely. I guess one of us takes driving more seriously than the other.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I was a bit worried about the lack of armrest until I drove one, then I realized it doesn’t matter. I find in cars this size the arm rest is usually too low or too close to the seat to be useful anyway, and that the most comfortable place to rest my right arm wrapped around the back of the passenger seat.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    first and second gear are too short compared to third.

    Oh, for pete’s sake. The Fit does this, too, and it’s really annoying. Why? Why, why, why?

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Sadly…a lot more was lost in the Euro to US translation. Tin foil and glow sticks have replaced the proper fog lights, and the projector beam headlights are gone as well. Ford bean counters strike again.

    And the interior ergonomics are terrible. The door lock button is a big one, but the whole dash looks and feels very cheap. And that “mid-1980s ATM” esque center screen is laughable. The fact that this tin can can be pushed over $20K is proof that Ford doesn’t get it.

    And for how small it is, the mileage is terrible.

    Once again, Ford hypes, hypes and hypes…and severely under delivers.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      How many driver’s actually know how to use their foglights and what they are for? For the majority of cars and the majority of drivers, foglights are a fashion accessory. There are plenty of cars out there that won’t even let you turn on the foglights without turning on the main headlights, which somewhat diminishes the point of the foglights in the first place.

      The dash doesn’t feel cheap. The center mounted door lock button is different, but how often do you people use the interior buttons to lock the car vs the remote anyway?

      The screen is monochromatic, but graphics capable, and displays what it needs to display in a clear easy to read manner.

      The mileage is best in class (at least compared to the Vera, Fit, Aveo, Accent, and Yaris. If I’m forgetting one, forgive me).

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      How many driver’s actually know how to use their foglights and what they are for? For the majority of cars and the majority of drivers, foglights are a fashion accessory. There are plenty of cars out there that won’t even let you turn on the foglights without turning on the main headlights, which somewhat diminishes the point of the foglights in the first place.

      And…yet…they offer them on the European model. Quit making excuses for Ford’s ineptness to do anything right. Tin foil and a glow stick does not have any place on a ‘premium’ small car when that same car a couple thousand miles away has proper fog lights. And I can’t tell how stupid and out of place they look on the Taurus SHOW. Almost $50K and they have glow sticks. Unbelievable.

      The dash doesn’t feel cheap. The center mounted door lock button is different, but how often do you people use the interior buttons to lock the car vs the remote anyway?

      Yes it does. And the layout/design is terrible. I have seen it, sat in it, touched it and was blown away at how awful it is.

      The screen is monochromatic, but graphics capable, and displays what it needs to display in a clear easy to read manner.

      And that is the Ford motto…”Meh…good enough”.

      The mileage is best in class (at least compared to the Vera, Fit, Aveo, Accent, and Yaris. If I’m forgetting one, forgive me).

      It gets the same mileage as a car that is much bigger and much heavier…the Cruze. How is 40MPG for a light little tin can anything but terrible?

      Remember what the old VW Rabbits got (early 80s)? 50-60 MPG. Same for the Geo Metro.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      @Nullomodo: Please don’t feed the troll.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      So you criticize the Fiesta for having different lights than the European model, then bash the interior materials and ergonomics which are completely 100% identical to the Euro-spec?

      Nice double standard there.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Regarding the fog lights – if they don’t really do anything, why include them? The LED slivers fare just as well as a styling statement, and the plastichrome surround has the benefit of looking great and never pitting. Plus, certain states require that foglights be functional if they are present or a vehicle won’t pass inspection, since the LEDs on the Fiesta should easily last for the life of the car, that is one less worry for the driver.

      Regarding the door lock button – you were blown away by how awful a button is? It’s smack dab in the middle of the center stack, easy to find, and it works when you push it, how could it be laid out or work better?

      Regarding the display in the center – It’s more than good enough, it is more functional than the readouts in any other car in the class. It is configurable, has software reconfigurable buttons for different apps on the screen, and can be upgraded with the Sync software and the installation of various Sync apps. A screen needs to display information as needed in a clear and easy to understand manner, this does this, and it looks good doing it, so if doing it right is good enough, then yes, this is good enough.

      Regarding the mileage – We’ll see what the real world MPG figures are for the Cruze, but for the Rabbit and the Metro comparisons, both of those cars made far less power, the Rabbit was a diesel for those MPGs, the Metro was a 3 cylinder, both were loud tinny buzzboxes compared to the premium feel of the Fiesta, and neither had near the safety equipment that the Fiesta has.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      SV it’s not a double standard at all.

      I hate the interior on the European model as well. Not everything the Europeans do is the best. But on the Fiesta, the Europeans did get the projector headlights and proper fog lights right.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      If the Camaro wore a Ford badge, our resident Ford-basher would find reasons to hate on it.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Silvy_Z71: the Euro version costs alot more than the USA version. Ford knows they can’t sell us Americans a $30K hatchback anytime soon so they’ve got to cut costs somewhere.

      All is not lost though. You can still buy the parts you want to convert your Fiesta to the Euro-look at some extra cost via Google+UPS/DHL/FedEx and one of the hot-hatch forums like VWVortex (dunno what the Ford equivalent forum is).

      I too value substance and function over bling and if I buy a hot Euro-hatch will be looking to over time add whatever the manufacturer took out when they brought it over to the USA. I have done this with my VW Cabrio and consequently like it much more.

  • avatar
    fitisgo

    Real sharp looking and it sounds like a nice drive, but how’s cargo space with the back seats folded down? The Fit is brilliant in this department; from what I understand the Versa’s seats don’t fold all the way flat, so space is more limited despite the larger exterior … has Ford fared any better?

    • 0 avatar

      Cargo space is tight, and not nearly a match for the Fit.

      Forgot to mention earlier–the hatch is more expensive than the sedan largely because it’s not available in the base trim level. Comparably equipped the prices are similar.

      To compare the Fiesta to other cars:

      http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Even though the Versa’s rear seats don’t fold flat the space is actually quite good. Not as good as the Fit, but not bad.

      The Fiesta is much more cramped. Think Paris, but without the ability to slide the seats to make up for it.

      Pity: its a good car, but space in the rear and in the trunk is badly compromised compared to other entries in this class, save perhaps the Mini.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      Yes, the Fit is absolutely brilliant in this department.

      The Fiesta’s rear seats don’t fold completely flat, but even if they did, there still wouldn’t be a huge amount of room back there.

      It seems that Ford went for the fun-to-drive and high-content (for this class) characteristics rather than people- or stuff-hauling abilities. Whether a sufficient number of buyers is willing to forgo the latter in favor of the former remains to be seen.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Fiesta sedan is the Jennifer Lopez of the B-class. Hatch is much more attractive. Why can’t they do a “S” base trim hatch?

  • avatar
    mjz

    Add an auto and leather seats and you’re looking at $21,000. Doesn’t seem like a great value at that price.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    When I look at it, I see the first generation Focus ZX5. Here’s a quick stat-to-stat comparison proving….nothing? The weight is close, as are some other stats. But the old focus does prove to be a bit bigger, especially in length, cargo, and passenger vol.

    Edit: None of my space formatting came through in the post, so it’s a bit difficult to read.

    Fiesta Focus ZX5
    Base Price $15100 $18035*
    Engine 1.6L 2.0L
    HP 119@6000 130@5300
    Torque 109@4250 135@4500
    Curb Weight Manual 2537 2600
    EPA Cty/Hwy 28/37 26/34**
    Pass Vol 85.10 94.4
    Cargo Vol 15.4 18.6
    Wheelbase 98 103
    Length 160 168
    Width 66.8 66.9
    Height 58 56.3
    Track F/R 57.7/57.7 58.8/58.5
    Turning Dia 34.4 34.3

    *2003 Dollars = $15500
    **Old EPA Calculations

  • avatar
    beeb375

    Always interesting to see the culture clashes when EU comes up against US. Little things like the armrest for example, over here we wouldn’t care, yes the only thing to rest your right arm on is your lap, so what, that’s what I always do when driving and my arm still works just fine.

    Also, ‘one tenth of an inch’? If you want to go metric, go the whole way, otherwise go back to your 16ths :p

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I don’t want an arm rest when I’m rowing gears. Gets in the way.

      I find my right arm rests on the passenger seat back or my lap or on the steering wheel without an armrest and I’m quite comfortable that way.

      Armests are for the Camry and Fusions and Accords.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Is it just me, but why does the saloon cost more than the hatch? More metal goes into the Saloon and it’s probably about as complicated to make… so why the 2 grand price difference?

    “Note to Ford: a 200HP Fiesta could be the GTI for this generation.”

    Dear Ford,
    If you do make a 200HP version, please call it the ‘XR2′ – it’s what you called the first European hot hatch Fiesta back in the 1980′s, and it’s a cult classic. Don’t call it the ‘ST’ as people think it’s hilarious to write a ‘D’ after the ‘ST’ in the dust.

  • avatar
    th009

    Comparison to the Golf (nee Rabbit) may indeed be inevitable at the higher trim levels, and there will be many similarities — both are quite faithful to the euro-spec (Golf is even built in Germany).

    But at the base sedan trim level, the cost is almost the same as the base 2011 Jetta. Probably nicer interior materials in the Fiesta but the interior size will be no comparison at all.

    • 0 avatar
      TimCrothers

      The base Fiesta S is $13,995 including Dest. The Base 2011 VW Jetta S is 16,795 including Dest. The Fiesta $2,800 CHEAPER then the Jetta.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Sorry, I must have been looking at the hatchback prices.

      Interesting that the hatchback gets a good-looking body-colour grille but the sedan gets the usual Ford bling-bling chrome. Yet another reason to choose the hatch.

      EDIT: Base 2011 Jetta (not S) is $14,995 + $770 so the difference in cost between base Fiesta and base Jetta is $1,770.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Keep in mind that the Jetta/Golf are a size bigger than the Fiesta. The Jetta/Golf are Focus competitors, the Fiesta is along the lines of the VW Polo, which is unavailable in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      …and the Polo does have nicer interior materials than the Fiesta – except for base “Trendline” Polos, which are about comparable with the Fiesta.
      The Polo has more conservative styling inside and out though and is tuned more for comfort instead of handling.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I figure Ford has it about right. The typical American customer with American tastes is going to default to the sedan with American expectations.

      The typical Fiesta hatchback buyer probably has an eye on TopGear/FifthGear and a bunch of Euro-hatch websites and will be shorted if they get some thing too Americanized.

      In time maybe Ford can educate the typical sedan buyer a little and show them new ideas.

  • avatar
    rehposolihp

    I test drove one of these in the 6 speed dual-clutch guise and I must say I got a slightly different impression than the review. The interior is nice, I will agree here whole-heartedly; very nice even. But the driving dynamic left much to be desired. It felt far from the road, and if the chassis wanted to play the tires didn’t (which of course can be remedied, but left me cold after the test drive). I left the test drive thinking “I could make this a car I could like” but not “I like this car”. But perhaps coming from a GTI I’m not looking at it right. When Baruth said it carves corners maybe he was talking relativistically, and when people described it as neutral in handling they were saying that its stupid-proof understeer was less stupid-proof than otherwise.

    In a less relativistic world – it makes me unhappy to drive.


    Also, technically (the best kind of correct if I may add), Fords dual-clutch transmission is a dry clutch transmission while VW’s first (and better known) dual clutch is a wet clutch, and Fords is typical auto feel(slow), whereas VW’s transmission (when everything else is working) is stupid fast. After finishing a couple Duvel’s I felt that this distinction must be made, and any prospective buyer expecting to not even notice the gearbox slamming through gears will be disappointed.

  • avatar

    I must disagree respectfully with Michael Karesh. I am 6′ and had a good friend of mine who is a stout 6’6 in the car and at the same time had three 5’11ish guys in the back. There was enough room for a spin to lunch, and enough room for an hour long commute for four. The headroom is excellent.

    As to the question about interior quality re: the VW Golf/Rabbit/Jetta. The interior is just a hair lower in quality. Style aside (the style of the interior is not Germanic at all), the quality of parts has the *feel* something that would be at home in the VW. Long term quality is not available yet obviously so who knows how long the parts will last, but in terms of feel the Fiesta is a very close second to the VW competition.

    I will also address the comments regarding the last Fiesta and Geo Metro. Apparently our readers are unable to read my mind :) We got a little mixed up in the editing of the article and corrected some chunks there. I did not mean to imply they were sold side-by-side, I was speaking more metaphorically about 1980s-era small American cars and the lasting impressions they have on the car driving public.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Alex…

      I drove it.
      I felt cramped.
      And I’m Italian!
      So how can we each have different feedback????

      Regardless of the room, this is one pokey car.

      It’s been a long time since I drove the Fit Sport when it first came out, but I do not recall being that unhappy with the drive and power.
      I didn’t take the Fit up ramps or at highway speeds, but the Fiesta is really a poor sport here.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “For many Americans, the words “Ford Fiesta” still dredges up memories of a crappy claustrophobic tin can that once fought the Geo Metro for the title of Worst American Small Car of the Year.”

    Like others above, I take exception to this claim. I learned to drive on a 78 Ford Fiesta, and it was a fantastic car. It earned high marks compared to its competition at the time, namely the Chevy Chevette (!), VW Rabbit, Dodge/Mitsubishi Colt, and rear-drive Toyota Corolla.

    Ford’s lackluster support for the car, combined with the strength of cars like the Honda Civic and a poor US/German exchange rate all combined to doom it to a 3-year run in the US. Too bad.

    If the reference is to the Festiva, I can’t say much except that a friend still drives an ancient Festiva every day. Seems like a pretty tough car to me.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      As others have pointed out, the old ‘bad’ Fiesta was likely the Festiva. There was an excellent Curbside Classic on the virtues of the ‘good’ Fiesta, the 1978-1980 car. It was a German Ford and, although it was definitely a tin-can, it was still one of the most fun rides of the period. Someone remarked that no one does fun, basic, cheap cars like the Germans (the original Fiesta just came as a 3-door, 1.6L, 4-speed) and the original Fiesta was a good example.

      As to why it went away, that probably had more to do with an inability to meet changes in US safety requirements (specifically, side impact standards) than anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      There’s a Festiva near where I live that’s still going strong and seems to be a daily driver. Definitely not a bad car.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      I loved the room and economy of my Asian Festiva, but a driver’s car it WAS NOT. The small tires were almost terminally bad…crappy dry grip…deadly bad wet grip. The first thing you throw away when you buy the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      Nobody here is defending the Geo Metro.
      I thought the manual Geo Metro I drove for ten hours was an honest little car, as millions of people drove and drive them around the world. It was fun to take the corners just a little too fast in the little thing, and actually enjoyed the raw simplicity of driving it. Yes, Americans drive larger vehicles, and this size and price car was more at home in Mexico than in the US; but the Geo Metro was fine for what it was.

    • 0 avatar

      I still see lots of Asian Festivas and some Aspires on the road. For all the dissing, they endure. The Geo Metro, and its Chevy Sprint cousin, is the epicenter of suckitude. Worst things I’ve ever driven, and I lived in Italy and spent plenty of time in Citroen 2CVs and diesel powered Fiats. The Fit is practical, but is almost as ugly as the Element. I know they’re popular, but there’s no accounting for taste.

      How does leg room compare in the sedan to the hatch? Personally in small cars I prefer a hatch, but most Americans do not. I don’t think the small size is a show stopper for much of the target market. It wouldn’t have been for me long ago when I drove a subcompact hatch as my commuter car. Great for zipping around in traffic and in parking ramps, good mileage, and fine for a couple of adults and couple of child seats. The back seat wasn’t the most comfortable for adults on long hauls – only had two seatbelts in back – but that’s wasn’t why I got it.

      Good mileage and fun to drive…that’s just what a lot of people are looking for in a second or third car. People with older kids or who regularly haul people will probably be looking at midsized.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    I WANT THE 3 DOOR HATCH! (Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…)

    Every review I’ve read of this sucker makes it sound like a blast, I’m glad to hear that. Quiet too? Damn it keeps tempting me to drop new car money, and I’m a devoted used car buyer born and raised. I’m picturing the “base” 5-speed hatchback, performance shoes for the summer, snow tires in the garage for the winter, the twisty winding strech of interstate between Flagstaff, AZ and Phoneix, or between Yuma and San Diego, CA. My Angel by my side, iPod plugged in…

    Crap that’s the first small car I’ve ever lusted after since the orginal GTI, and I was in the womb to finishing kindergarden while that thing was being built. Well played, Ford, well played.

  • avatar
    EChid

    General comment: Manual trannys that are adjusted for highway travel are highly appreciated by me. I hate when cars rev high at 100 km/h or 120. Top pet peeve.

    Question 1: Why oh why do so many cars lose their projectors when the come to NA. The CR-V, RAV4, this…why? They look so much BETTER.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      I wonder what the price difference is? Projectors…especially HID’s are so much nicer.

    • 0 avatar
      quasimondo

      Because LED headlights are not DOT-approved. Or that’s what the floor director at a BMW plant in South Africa told our tour group as we walked past a stack of 3-series front ends. European cars had the LED’s, American cars had the halogens. You can’t fault the bean counters on this one, since it’s less expensive to standardize the type of headlights across the entire model line than it is to tailor make them to meet specific markets.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      There are cars with LED headlights in the U.S. Audi comes to mind. Having said that I thought the projectors were for HID’s.

      http://www.ledsmagazine.com/news/3/10/23

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    I have heard that in the United Kingdom that this vehicle has been involved in several accidents and they have become a Fire Trap, does anyone know the safety rating for this Ford Product?

  • avatar
    M 1

    Why not just buy a motorcycle?

  • avatar
    dmf

    At this price (approaching 20K), wouldn’t a Mazda3 hatch be a better value if the extra foot in length were to be unproblematic?

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      I wondered the same thing but it looks like Mazda has taken steps to try and make sure that the 2 and 3 don’t cannibalize sales from each other.

      For instance, there doesn’t seem to be much mark-up between invoice and MSRP on the Mazda2, which would seem to keep the price down. Likewise, the 2 doesn’t have the extensive option list that the Fiesta does (no available leather, sunroof, NAV, etc). Those two factors could, theoretically, keep the 2 from encroaching on 3 sales (and vice-versa).

      Unless Ford thinks they can convince people to pay Volvo S40 prices for the new Focus, I have no idea how Ford plans on keeping that car out of the Fiesta’s price range, though.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      The problem that Ford may have (looking at Mazda’s website) is that the Mazda 2 (which is ONLY available as a hatch) is cheaper than the Fiesta. Now the Fiesta can be more nicely equiped (and does have available SYNC) and does bring 20 extra HP to the party. The question for a guy like me is; Does the Mazda driving experience match the Ford’s and is Mazdaspeed gonna develop go fast goodies for the 2? If the answers to those are YES, then Mazda could sell more on price.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    I’ll take this one.

    http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/rallycross-ford-fiesta-2209-04-23

  • avatar
    65corvair

    The 5speed is rated at 28 city and 37 highway. To get the 40 mpg on the auto you need to buy a extra package.

    I’ve had my new Fiesta for 9 days and 1050 miles now and I’m more impressed with it each day. Comparing it to my old ’04 Toyota Matrix, it is so much better. I got the sedan bacause it was cheaper.

    The things I would change is add an arm rest, a few more inches of foot room in back, a temp gauge and some storage for little stuff.

    Dan
    65 Corvair convertible
    11 Fiesta SE sedan 5speed

  • avatar

    We picked up our Fiesta SES hatch last week and then took a weekend trip from Central New York to Vermont through the Adirondacks. There were four of us in the car (two were children), but I found it to be a great drive and, so far, I am very happy with the purchase. It has plenty of power If you have the manual transmission and keep the revs up when needed. Otherwise, it is quiet and comfortable and even handles pretty well considering it has cheap OEM tires. I bought it after comparing it with the Honda Fit, which although it has more flexible seating and storage arrangements was truly slow and not as good on gas.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Personally, I’d still wait to see what the Italians bring over before committing to the Fiesta. However, it sounds like Sergio’s gang is going to have a battle on its hands.

    Two things I would like to see added to the North American Fiesta though are paddle shifters for the auto and that slick looking LCD SmartGauge system.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    A face only a mother could love. Ripped-off Peugeot.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    Those of you seriously nitpicking this car should be ashamed of yourselves. As my handle might suggest I’m in no way a Ford apologist but I am a car enthusiast and the Fiesta has hit so many bullseyes it’s not even funny. Another poster used the term “honest” to describe the Geo Metro and I liked that a lot and I’ll readily apply it to this car. It’s an honest vehicle that doesn’t attempt to be anything it’s not while being a lot of things it shouldn’t be capable of being. Does the Fiesta have “shortcomings”? Of course it does. In this price bracket you’re going to have compromises and “shortcomings” in every vehicle from every single manufacture, no way around it. I think the guys singling out the minor “flaws” like the lack of an armrest are just looking for something to jaw about so they can appear to be informed non-consumers. You’re obviously not going to buy this vehicle (and that’s okay, I’m not either) but to suggest that an armrest is required content in any car shows me you’re not serious about driving and you’re making a ham fisted attempt to show me and the other members that you’re dialed in and “on top” of the industry. Breaking News: you’re not. I’m not a fan of the styling (while it’s much better than the competition), I’m suspect of the long term quality of Ford products in general (although my opinion improves as I see other Ford vehicles age) and I’m not the target demographic of this vehicle (although I could be if things were a little bit different) but I can say with complete honesty that I’m impressed with this vehicle. If you’re not as well then you’re not the target demographic and you think this means the vehicle is flawed, or you’re the kind of person that thinks your opinion isn’t valuable unless it’s contrarian. Either way, I’m not impressed and neither are the majority of well informed enthusiasts that visit this blog.

    I currently own three Honda products that produce a combined 900whp; I love the company and I’ll continue to support them as long as there are cars available (both new and old) that address a particular need of mine. While I hope this gives me enough credibility as an enthusiast of the brand I won’t for one second hesitate or apologize for my criticism of what’s happening with them. They have expectations they’re expected to meet with every single vehicle they produce and when they fail to do so then the floodgates will open and it’s deserved (re: CR-Z). Ford doesn’t have a long and illustrious heritage of small, economical, sporting vehicles so there’s nothing really to live up to. Support this car and enjoy the legacy that could be being built right now, even as you blowhards whine about armrests.

    • 0 avatar
      samm

      Bully for you, and saying it like it is! I’ve probably passed the demographic for this now, and will not buy this version, I drove the ‘Euro’ Fiesta from ~3 years back, and loved the feel of the car – quietly communicating without fuss. Of course, that was before the all electric steering, and the US spec reprogramming…

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Ford does have a long heritage of sporty vehicles that are also small but just not here. I’m really excited to see some of these hot-hatches trickle into the US market b/c they are long overdue.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    A couple of things;

    No armrest?
    This is a deadly sin (obs sarcasm)
    Are going to take a nap in the car?

    Small sedans are always goofy looking.
    In Europe it´s the preferred bodystyle of senior citizens, usually driven really slow.
    A hatchback tells people that you´re young and live an active life.
    The hatch looks good.

    Comparing the 2010 Ford Fiesta to the 1980 Fiesta is like comparing the 2010 Mini to the original mini.
    Nothing in common but the name.

    Complaing about backseat space?
    The typical buyer of a Fiesta don´t use the backseat for people.
    People with big families don´t buy the Fiesta as their only car.
    That would be retarded.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Agreed. The Fiesta is aimed at young 20 something people who rarely carry more than one passenger…in other words basic transportation (although these days, ‘basic’ doesn’t really apply).

    This car isn’t for families.

  • avatar
    Transit

    They sell 000′s of Fiestas in Europe where they are very well regarded, with free revving engines and good handling, able to cope with many driver frames and the autobahns of Germany, while here in South Africa, where cars are thrashed and driving techniques and conditions less than ideal, they are also very popular, even for an imported car that competes against locally made VW Polos. I know US conditions are different, but stirring that stick shift should work wonders!

  • avatar
    ern35

    Roundel—The reason that the Fiesta sells so well in Europe, in my view, is that Europeans are more ‘standard-sized’ that fit in it—you know, like North Americans used to be. We were in The Netherlands last year and observed no LARGE people present. If there were, they were most likely North Americans. People ride bikes, walk, and shop/eat small portions of food.

  • avatar

    It’s odd how the car color is called “yellow”, but in many of the photos and the one I saw in real life, it appears to be orange. I definitely wouldn’t compare either to anything that came out of my baby. Anyway, I think the bright colors was a good idea. I definitely take notice when I see them in that color or “Lime Squeeze Metallic.” I personally would miss having an armrest. It was one of the reasons I initially didn’t like the BMW E36 3 series when it first came out. Fortunately by the time I bought my ’99 M3, they had one in there. I’m not in the market for a car the size of a Fiesta though, so my opinion doesn’t mean much on that point.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Funny Ford would pick yellow for a “reveal” example. As Steve Lang will tell you, yellow cars don’t do well in resale. The orange tinge (or any other tinge) is nothing unusual for Ford. I had a yellow Ford Fairlane whose color was listed as “seafoam green”, a color choice that lasted about 2 years in the late ’60s. Everybody thought it was a subdued yellow. I loved it, because a light layer of dust on it was invisible, unlike black or white.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Yellow not only doesn’t hurt, but actually helps resale on certain cars. Ford released an ‘Amarillo’ edition Super Duty truck back in ’05/’06 which was bright yellow. Those truck regularly bring in close to $1,000 extra on trade in vs one of the standard colors. Mustangs tend to do well in yellow as well. Since the Fiesta is a sporty car, the yellow makes sense, and it should do well. Plus, the yellow is a premium paint option with an extra charge, it’s actually sort of a metallic pearl coat, you have to see it in natural light in person to really appreciate it.

      Ford does occasionally name colors odd things though. The Taurus X had a metallic seafoam green color called ‘Titanium’ for some reason, there was a bronze/brown color available on the trucks and big SUVs for years called ‘Stone Green’ even though no one thought it was green, and the Focus has a sort of light mint green color called ‘Natural Neutral’.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Alex –

    The Fiesta does have a premium sound option that comes standard on the SES Hatch and SEL Sedan. It’s a Ford branded system, but considering that Infinity, Bose, etc, don’t do a whole lot more than stick their name on the speaker grills for other upmarket systems that isn’t a detriment.

    It’s also only 80 watts, but for the size of the car it works well. There are plenty of aftermarket options for amps and speakers using the stock headunit and line output converters.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Nah…

      Offer the Shaker 1000 in that sucker.

    • 0 avatar

      I would not call the 80 watt SYNC system that the Fiesta has a “premium” option. The statement still holds, for the crowd that this ride is being marketed at, tunes are important. If Ford doesn’t provide an upmarket system, they should at least make it easier to upgrade to an after-market amp and better speakers. Personally, I would have preferred an option of an upgraded sound-system to an after-market unit, but that’s just me.

  • avatar
    blautens

    A Freudian typo?

    ————————————————
    Speaking of those MPGs, despite being rated at 35MPH on the highway, my 5-speed manual Fiesta tester averaged 42MPG in my daily commute
    ————————————————-

    I suppose if I did only 35 MPH on the freeway in the Fiesta it SHOULD return 42 MPG!

    :)

  • avatar
    dswilly

    I think this car is positioned well. I just don’t think the argument of space and utility stand in the small car class as a constant deal breaker. This car is actually interesting to look at, from the review interesting to drive and own. The Vera, Fit, Aveo, Accent, and Yaris scream cheap appliance to me. As NulloModo has said this is targeting young, single, etc. No contest

  • avatar

    Thanks for the review, Alex. This Fiesta is certainly the best looking small (even perhaps any) car on the road. What NulloModo says makes sense. Tiny cars like that are not bought by people
    needing family haulers…at least not in NA. People who buy
    a small car like this very seldom need someone in the back. I used to own Festiva, and even in that tiny can three adults plus their camping gear could travel almost 10 thousand km for two weeks. What really will be a major decision maker for the potential buyers is the front seat comfort and ergonomics. If Ford got that right (along with the great looks and good level of equipment), the car will sell well.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Just about everything that can be said about how the Fiesta drives has already been said. But I would add that the 5-speed’s shift lever seems a bit long and could do with shorter throws. Nothing that the aftermarket can’t fix, I suppose :-)

  • avatar
    Zombo

    On Ford’s website the Fiesta isn’t available with a 5 speed in the two lower trim models . Guess they figure granny trannys will sell more in the too lazy to shift U.S. and fools who want a 5 speed will pay more for the privilege . It probably has no leg room in the front for anyone over 6 feet tall anyway like the Versa , Yaris , and Fit . The Fit comes closest with only the left foot dead pedal on the left wheel well making it uncomfortable for those long of leg . A height adjustable seat would help , but since Honda doesn’t get it these days they won’t figure that out either ! Why is it unreliable , poor mpg VW only designs cars with decent legroom among the compact cars these days ? My 86 Celica GT returned 30 mpg + on the highway and had such stretch out legroom I ( at 6’2″) couldn’t even drive it with the seat all the way back . Where the hell are those types of fuel efficient small cars today ?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I’m not sure what you are looking at on Ford’s site, but the manual is available (and is in fact the standard option) on every trim level of the Fiesta, sedan and hatchback.

      I’m 6′ even, but I find there is plenty of leg room in the front. I’ve taken customers on test drives who are taller than I am and they didn’t say they felt limited in space. The front room on the Fiesta is great, it’s only the back seat room that is a bit lacking.

      The seat is also height adjustable on the Fiesta.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Looks like you’re right about the 5 speed – the build your own feature on Ford’s website is reading differently than yesterday . As far as legroom goes seeing is believing and I’ll soon find that out on my own . All the Fiestas in my area are in the range of 18-21K . Hondalike price gouging on a new model or are they actually that costly ? If it’s the latter I can only imagine what the 2012 Focus is going to cost !

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Sticker on a base Fiesta sedan (manual, crank windows, but with AC and CD) is $13,990, but don’t expect any discounts as there are no incentives, and that price reflects a whopping $160 mark up from invoice. If you take a hatchback and load it up with leather, push button start, moonroof, automatic, and fancy wheels, the price can top $20K.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      I just sat in one today, the 5 door hatch and with the seat back as far as I can get it, the leg room was quite decent, though I doubt as spacious as the Versa, which has the best back seat legroom of anyone in this class.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Sat in a couple this weekend , not bad for it’s class . The left armrest is useless with the seat all the way back , but most are on a four door- too bad the hatch isn’t offered in a two door . If the Fiesta can live up to fuel economy claims I believe Ford may have a winner here . Good to see padded dashes making a comeback and looking forward to seeing the new 2012 Focus .

  • avatar
    Arthist

    There’s no such thing as “basic” transportation to young people. Young people want their car to be versatile and flexible. They want it to be able to carry 3 of their friends in a pinch (the Fiesta cannot do that). They want to be able to move lotsa stuff in one trip (ditto). For the moment, all Fiestas are selling before they’re unloaded off the truck. But I’ll bet good money it’s people over 50 doing the buying. Young people are buying the Versa………I don’t want the Fiesta to fail. But the Contour got similar good reviews about its unmatched handling when it came out and it crashed and burned.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    This morning as I walked to work I saw a green hatch being driven to some highrise downtown. Behind the wheel was an older gentleman wearing a very nice suit. The plate frame said something about Highland Park (a very liberal North Shore suburb).

    If Ford can sell a bright green hatch to this guy, the Fiesta will do very well.

    • 0 avatar
      MM

      @Chicago, I’m that guy. Not literally, but when we return to the U.S. in 18 months (working in Asia), the Fiesta is on my short list. As a one- or two-person commuter, it seems hard to beat. Great mileage, small parking footprint, just enough gadgetry, great crash ratings (in Europe anyway) and after two years I can hand it over to the kids for them to thrash while learning the art of driving a manual. And at sub-$18K pretty loaded, when d-bags open doors or push carts into its sides, who cares?

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Hey, just checked out this car today and man is it nice. I drove the SE version with the powershift auto and you are right, it’s lightening fast in responding to the accelerator, the steering quick and precise, despite being electrical.

    This car, the Honda Fit, the Mazda 2 (it may well be dropped due to things like it’s sluchbox), the Kia Soul and the Fiat 500 when it finally makes its way here early next year.

    Just had to say at first, I was not terribly hot on its aggressive styling, but seeing the car in person, me likes it.

    What I love about the auto is that when you stomp on the throttle, it reacts almost immediately and the car just gets up to speed, it’s no lightening fast rocket, but scoots decently enough under normal aspiration, which is pretty good in my book.

    I did not get to test drive the Kia Soul, but have test driven the Fit about a couple of months ago, also with the auto, the sport trim as it has the paddle shifters and while I didn’t try them out, in standard auto mode, the transmission, a CVT unit was a little slow to downshift, but once it did, the little 4 pot mill got up and out of the way too.

    I’m in the hopes that by early next year to be in a financial position to think about the possibility of buying my first new car and as you see, all of them small sub compacts. I wished Ford offered a shift mode for its automatic, but oh well, the Fiat, the 2011 Soul and the Honda all do, which is nice as I’d be coming from driving 5 spd manuals, currently in a very high mile-aged 92 Ranger truck but had 2 Honda before that, an 83 Civic hatch and the 88 Accord LXI 4 door sedan, both with 5spds and living in and around Urban Puget Sound and the often steep hills of Seattle, and having done so for most of the last 18 years I’ve driven stick shifts (prior that, I drove older American sedan/coupes with automatics), manipulating the clutch in those conditions gets old, fast.

  • avatar
    johnxyz

    Is it just the tune that results in the 20 hp difference btwn the new Fiesta and Mazda2 that a couple of posters referenced above? Is the manual transmission the same in each? Where is the Festiva (oops – meant the Fiesta) and Mazda2 built/assembled? Did Jack do a review of the Mazda2? Finally, what is the MSRP price difference btwn the Fiesta and Mazda2? Thanks (too lazy to Google these)

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      http://www.fordvehicles.com/cars/fiesta/

      http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/displayPage.action?pageParameter=modelsMain&vehicleCode=MZ2

      Mazda’s auto is an “archaic” 4-speed, the manual is a true 5 speed manual, no dual clutch affair. And yes the Mazda is cheaper and has no fancy “SYNC” stereo option. If and when companies start to make speed parts for the Mazda2, I think it will be a real bargain.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Not sure why, but I really dig the way this car looks. Even the color.


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