the 2011 Fiesta for North America, Ford's basic formula is the same
-- take a car with attractive interior and exterior and heap on
performance, a fuel economy that bests competitors, and loads of
high-tech standard features. The vehicle was previewed
at the 2009 LA Auto Show.
Beginning with the exterior, the
first thing you notice is how strikingly similar it is to the Euro
Fiesta, despite the fact that it only has 60 percent of its parts in
common with its Euro twin. About the only changes to the
exterior are the removal of the fog lights, which have been replaced
with a strip of chrome-accented LED lamps, and the removal of
Euro-style grill, which is replaced by a similar colored grill in the
hatchback version and with a metal grill in the standard version.
Both alterations have drawn some minor criticism, as can be expected
when one modifies a beloved design, but overall the response to the
familiar exterior is strong.
Turning to the interior, the
Fiesta can be had with optional leather seats. Also, to suit
American demands, leg room has been increased from the Euro version,
along with the addition of a knee airbag.
The car is also
packed with loads of consumer electronics. It predictably
popular SYNC system (optional), powered by Microsoft. It
comes push button start, a 4-inch LCD display, and an MP3 player
auxiliary port. It is also the only car in its class to feature
automatic climate control. The car also features high-tech
mirrors, standard, which have surface heating and turn signal
indicators. More typical fare -- a moon roof and power seats
come as optional features.
In terms of power, the Fiesta's
1.6-liter four-cylinder with 119 horsepower and 109 ft.-lbs. of
torque provides ample thrust to drive the light vehicle. You
can get it with one of two attractive transmissions -- a five-speed
manual transmission or Ford's new six-speed PowerShift
electronic dual clutch automatic transmission.
PowerShift is reportedly 22 lb lighter and more compact that a
typical six-speed and offers an 8-10 percent fuel economy savings
versus a four-speed transmission. The dual clutch transmission
should be more than ready when the American Fiesta gets an Eco-Boost
engine as it is over-engineered to currently handle up to 185 lb-ft
Ford is tweaking the suspension, but promises to
retain the same "fun" factor as the Euro model. Its
chief objective is to minimize the harshness when riding over rough
surfaces. Ford also has slapped on Electronic Power Assisted
Steering, also featured in the new Mustang. Ford insists that
its not overdoing it, and that the feature will be unobtrusive.
fuel economy on the Fiesta, like that of the new
30 mpg Mustang, is another show-stopper for Ford. It proves
that gasoline engines can
be fuel efficient, as it gets 40 mpg highway, over 3 mpg better than
the closest competitors in its class. It also gets 30 mpg
That outstanding fuel sipping doesn't come at the
expense of safety, though. The car is brimming with airbags,
with side curtain airbags and lower bags to protect your hips, in
addition to traditional front airbags. It also features 55
percent high strength steel, including Boron steel-reinforced door
crossbars and at the A-pillar to B-pillar.