By David Colman
Hypes: Cute, Practical, City Parking Champ
Gripes: Auto Gearbox Kills the Buzz
The newly reissued Fiesta is small, practical, affordable, and cute. But along with those virtues, it also never lets you forget that it is cramped and underpowered. On the positive side of the ledger, the Fiesta is short enough to slip into any parking spot you can find. It’s even a pleasure to parallel park since side and rear vision is unrestricted. Its diminutive 98 inch wheelbase is 6 inches shorter than that of the Ford Focus, which itself is hardly a limousine. Hence the agile Fiesta is a lot of fun on twisty roads, willingly following your steering wheel command to flick it from side to side. Appealingly grippy performance rubber – 195/50/R16 Hankook Optimo H426 tires – underline the Fiesta’s innate balance and proclivity to carve corners.
The interior appointments of the top line SES model are soothing and handsome. The cloth trimmed seats feature tone on tone inserts that look like they belong on a tapestry in the museum of modern art. Their branch-like patterning contributes an air of Zen simplicity to the cabin. Even the pebbly dash top finish, which resembles compressed shipping cardboard, does a good job of quelling reflections and looking starkly modern. The center stack of the dash, constructed in a V-pattern to replicate a smart phone faceplate, works well with one exception. There’s a center volume control knob for the entertainment unit, but no matching knob to access station settings. This lack requires you to resort to an infuriating scan of the various push buttons, none of which accomplish the simple task of changing radio channels.