Back in September, I wrote a piece lamenting the death of Honda’s high-perofrmance hallmark, the twin-cam VTEC 4-cylinder engine. It was just the sort of article many of you are fed up with: a lengthy piece filled with flowery prose and Honda fanboy-ism sprinkled with a condescending explanation of the auto industry’s inner workings. Miraculously, it was fairly well-received. But I’ve had a change of heart.
The rumors have it that the new Ford Ka will be on sale as of March this year. Production of the old Ka has come to a close as the Zetec Rocam engines have also been terminated (and thus the old Brazil-market Fiesta is probably dead as well). At launch, the new Ka will come exclusively with a 1.5 Sigma engine and a 1.0, three cylinder, EcoBoost-based engine. Rumors have it that it will be the most powerful 1.0 engine in Brazil and will thus have to provide around 82 ponies.
For many Americans, the words “Ford Fiesta” dredges up memories of a claustrophobic rattle-trap competing with “Geo Metro” for the title of Worst American Small Car. Personally, the only time I ever wanted a fiesta was during a drunken weekend in Cabo, and it had more to do with tequila than cars. But that was four years ago and 214,000 Fiestas ago. Since then the Fiesta has proved that an American car company is capable of creating a desirable compact car. Is the party over, or is the car’s first refresh a sign that the party has just begun? Let’s find out.
The Ford Fiesta story is an interesting one, with this car being a huge gamble for Ford’s global operations back in the 1970s. This car was intended for the European market from day one, but a fair number of Mk1 Fiestas were sold the United States for the 1978 through 1981 model years (eventually, the Mazda-designed/Kia-built Ford Festiva filled the US-market Ford lineup spot vacated by the Fiesta. These cars have been rare to the point of near-extinction for decades now, being disposable cheapo commuters and all, but they do show up from time to time in self-serve wrecking yards. I found this ’78 Fiesta Sport in Denver a couple years back, and last month I spotted today’s find in Northern California. (Read More…)
The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is finally here! When I found out that I’d be covering the Fiesta ST for TTAC in place of E-I-C pro tem Jack Baruth, said E-I-C offering some lame excuse about pneumonia, I went over the comment sections of previous ST posts to find out what the B&B were wondering about. I received information on the car from Ford engineers over lunch, then had the Fiesta ST for about 3 hours on back roads around Ann Arbor, and here’s what I found out.
During the launch of the Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost, multiple outlets ran articles parroting Ford’s PR line about the lack of an automatic transmission. Apparently, Ford declined to offer an automatic or Powershift dual-clutch gearbox on the 3-cylinder Fiesta since a two-pedal option would run counter to the 1.0L’s stated mission of being both fun to drive and good on gas.
As a first-rate cynic and an enthusiast of the English language, I reflexively cringe when I hear the latest “CBC buzzwords” (CBC is Canada’s version of NPR) that get thrown around by the sort of people who think that bicycles will eventually replace cars as our main mode of transportation in our future communitarian-utopia of urban living.
Imagine my horror when I logged on to the website for the latest installment of Ford’s Fiesta movement and saw it was chock-full of these nebulous descriptors. I nearly had to go back and read one of TTAC’s “Volts on Fire” stories just to calm my rapidly rising blood pressure.
It’s got an awkward name but it’s a vehicle whose niche will never disappear. A “sedan delivery” is a commercial version of the station wagon that has metal panels replacing the glass in the vehicle’s rear (photos here). They were originally used by small businesses as service and delivery vehicles and it’s such a practical vehicle that they never really will go away. They were made out of ’57 Chevy Nomads, they made them out of Pinto wagons and they currently are being made out of Chevy’s HHR retro panel truck thing. Now Ford Europe is getting back into the sedan delivery business. To accommodate those businesses that need to transport tools and replacement parts but don’t need the capacity of something like a Transit Connect, Ford of Europe has introduced the new Fiesta Van, based on the Fiesta hatchback.
The Ford Fiesta ST looks even better in a bland color like silver. It’s the kind of car you could leave parked on the street without worrying about theft or vandalism. Try that with a hot Honda from the 90′s. The ST’s big change might be the ST-specific seats installed here. There’s only a small badge, and the alloys don’t exactly scream “performance car” either.