How will automakers counter the predictions for five-dollar-a-gallon-gas this year? Ford wants you to celebrate – with a Fiesta!
Yes, the car you simply could not get enough of during last season’s American Idol is in dealer showrooms giving consumers ample time to secure one as fuel prices begin the roller coaster ride back northward. While the nameplate is not new to our shores, this gen-forward Fiesta has already seen success globally, it just took a little time Ford (as well as the other domestic carmakers) to see Fit (pun intended) to bring it (back) here.
The little tike was first here in the days of cheap(er) oil and crappy square cars. Gone is all of that now and 2011 is certainly a good time for a Fiesta.
“Customers are savvy. They want expressive cars that deliver not just great fuel economy but also high quality, new technologies and a fun driving experience,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We plan to answer the call with Fiesta; an all-new vehicle in North America we hope will set a new standard for small cars.”
The new Fiesta is being offered in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models. Our recent tester was the latter and came rolling in the hard-to-ignore lime squeeze metallic body paint. I liked it, but then I was always a sucker for a Braum’s Limeade too.
The little car has a little engine but delivered big on ride quality and comfort and backed by a five-speed manual gearbox was able to deliver pleasant acceleration as well from the 120hp 1.6-liter I-4 DuraTec motor. And when mated to the six-speed automatic transmission the new Fiesta is capable of up to 40 mpg. Also aiding fuel economy is the new electric power assist steering that does not put any drag on the engine and is lighter in weight as well.
On the road the Fiesta delivers a quiet ride not usually found in the segment. Automakers have seen fit to pay more attention to NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) in this segment in order to bolster sales of the smaller vehicles. A little bit of foam and padding goes a long way in pleasing the buyer.
Of course Fiesta is connected – with SYNC – and also offers keyless entry and push button start. Interior design is open and roomy and seating is comfortable.
Pricing begins at $13,995 and key competitors include the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris (and its own cousin the Mazda2). Our SES tester started at $17,120 and came with a final sticker of $18,590 (almost a 33 percent increase over base – ouch). In this segment I prefer the hatch version of every one of the models listed here. Those that offer a sedan version are just plain ugly (Ford included). If you are shopping this segment be sure to save some time for a Fiesta.