I had the MUCH anticipated 2011 Ford Fiesta for a few days this past week. I was lucky to get the first one Ford had in the Texas press fleet.
I can say with all honesty, I’ve never had a small car that piqued this much interest. People have been steadily asking about it for more than a year. I can tell you that Ford has a winner in this car, it will be a runaway success.
The Fiesta and cars like this are your future folks, and for the first time I can say I finally found a small car I would drive on a daily basis. I’ve waited for this for a number of years. It is finally here…a small car with a big car driving feel and one with a true personality. And YES, cars are like people, some have a great personality and some do not.
Fiesta comes as a sedan or a hatchback. I had the hatchback SES model, the top-of-the-line and it came in Lime Squeeze Metallic. It was as bright a green as it sounds and although I would have NEVER thought this, it was really a sharp color. You might want to sit down for this one, but it also had white leather seats. Somehow, it all worked and I give kudos to Ford’s design team for putting these colors together.
Under the hood, there is a 1.6 liter inline-4 cylinder that produces 120 horses. My test Fiesta had a 5-speed manual transmission that was effortless to shift. You won’t get a whiplash taking off, but that’s not what this car is about, it is about fuel economy.
Fiesta comes with all the safety features of cars twice its size and price, including stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. It also has a driver knee airbag in case of a frontal collision, which I thought was very impressive as a standard feature.
The Fiesta comes with Ford’s awesome Sync system, which is reason enough to buy this car. But my test car also had heated front seats, keyless entry, and a keyless start button, another surprise in a car this size.
But for me, the ride, drive and handling were superb. The driving dynamics of this car were almost shocking. It is quiet, it actually corners without much dip or roll, and you don’t feel every bump in the road. As I said earlier, a small car with a big car feel.
I got within one mile per gallon of the stated mileage in both city and highway driving and I got this car with under 100 miles on the odometer. I think it will exceed the estimates once broken in.
It took a while for Ford to come out with a truly world-class small car, but it was worth the wait.
What I liked most: The way it rides and drives.
What I’d change if I could: Give it a little more cargo area.
Price as tested: MSRP $19200 completely loaded.