Slip inside the Fiesta and there’s no mistaking that this is a small car. The car almost seems even smaller than when we drove it for the first time last fall, although that probably has more to do with spending much more time inside this time around. On the plus side, the relatively deep dash and sloping roof line does help create a sense of spaciousness, and lets just say that parallel parking has never been easier. The standard cloth front seats are reasonably supportive, but also quite narrow and would make comfort a legitimate concern for larger individuals. Rear seating is also quite tight, with limited leg and head room, but should be sufficient for kids or smaller occupants.
Pop the hatch and you’ll find a modest little trunk that should be good for at least a few medium sized suitcases, and cargo space can be increased by folding down the rear seats. Unfortunately the seats don’t fold flat, making loading of larger objects a bit more tricky. You can fit a bicycle in the back, but it requires removing both wheels and even then it barely fits. Two-wheel aficionados should definitely look into a roof rack.
When we first sampled the Fiesta we were impressed with the build quality, which still remains true, although upon closer inspection the car’s economy class status does shine through a bit more. Some of the plastics are hard to the touch and come across as a bit cheap, and the seat fabric looks a bit thrifty, but altogether the car is solidly put together. Surprisingly little engine noise makes its way into the interior, even with the little motor buzzing at over 3000 rpm on the freeway, and road and wind noise are also quite low.
For anyone who thinks buying an economy car means sacrificing all creature comforts and other fun options, the Fiesta’s interior will be a pleasant surprise. Power door locks and windows have replaced the manual locks and hand cranks of yore, and the a/c cranks out plenty of cool air for those hot summer days. The dashboard looks modern and even stylish, although style seems to have trumped ergonomics a bit, in the sense that some of the controls and buttons are a bit high and hard to reach. Our test car also featured an optional 6-speaker CD stereo system with surprisingly good sound and Ford’s excellent SYNC system, both of which should appeal to the younger crowd.
Although we still like the Fiesta’s cute and cheerful exterior, after several days of driving around in the car it started to look almost a bit too cute. Some of the styling elements, such as the lower front grill and triangular psuedo-fog lights, seem excessive and unnecessary, and the whole package lacks some of the edge and aggressiveness of Ford’s other recent designs. Still, the car is a lot better to look at than must budget boxes and for some, the Fiesta’s cuteness will be a big part its appeal.
|Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback||119 hp 1.6 L||5 speed manual||29/38||$15,120|
|Nissan Versa 1.8 S Hatchback||122 hp 1.8L||6 speed manual||26/32||$13,400|
|Honda Fit Sport||117 hp 1.5 L||5 speed manual||27/33||$16,410|
|Chevrolet Aveo5 1LT||106 hp 1.6L||5 speed manual||27/34||$14,250|
|Kia Rio5 LX||110 hp 1.6L||5 speed manual||28/36||$13,895|
|Scion xD 5-door||128 hp 1.8 L||5 speed manual||27/33||$14,650|
At the end of the day, folks shopping for a small car are likely looking for good value and although the Fiesta isn’t the cheapest car around, there is plenty of value packed into this small Ford. The base S sedan starts at just $13, 320 and an SE hatchback can be had for just over $15k. Our test car did feature a few extra options, including the SYNC and Sound package as well as the Sport Appearance package, which bumps the price up to $16,550. Even though this is starting to knock on the door of larger compact cars, the price is still quite reasonable given the level of equipment and should be very competitive with other comparably optioned subcompacts.
Once you factor in the Fiesta’s superior ride, fresh styling, class leading fuel efficiency, and available features, such as the SYNC system, it becomes much harder to justify buying the typical bland subcompact, even if you could save a grand or two. Although there are already some compelling small cars on the market, such as the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa, and others are soon to join this growing segment, the Ford Fiesta makes a good case for automotive downsizing and should enjoy a lot of success in the coming years.
|MORE FORD FIESTA REVIEWS|
|2011 Ford Fiesta Video Review by Driving Sports TV
“Thankfully, this new Fiesta is not a watered-down version of its European brother… “
|First Impressions: 2011 Ford Fiesta – Betting the future on a stylish, spunky, sub-compact
By Alex Kramer
“Altogether, the Euro-spec Fiesta is a compelling little car that definitely goes beyond just basic transportation.”
2011 Ford Fiesta Specs
|Official website for Ford cars, hybrids, trucks, and SUVs – www.fordvehicles.com|
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