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The 2011 Ford Fiesta Hatch SE
We hope to share some interesting insight about our week-long experience with this compact vehicle

Last week we had the privilege of test driving the 2011 Fiesta Hatch SE which was provided to us by Ford.  This subcompact features Ford's next-generation 1.6L 16-valve Duratec I4 engine.  The engine is pretty light on power, producing 120 hp @ 6350 rpm and 112 lb. feet of torque @ 5000 rpm.

The vehicle features a MacPherson strut front and twist-beam rear suspension. The vehicle features an electronic power-assisted steering (EPAS) system, which may turn off some auto enthusiasts, but Ford promises sporty handling will be preserved.

Riding in the Fiesta for a week, we traveled 366 miles, and used approximately 1 tank of gas.  That places our gas mileage for the 12 U.S. gallon (45 liter) tank at 30.5 mpg.  This is slightly below the EPA-rated 32 mpg, but it was likely due to the fact that much of our time on the highway was spent in stop-and-go and we were at times a bit aggressive in our engine use to test the vehicle's power.  Thus we wound up closer to the rated city mileage (28 mpg) than the rated highway mileage (37 mpg).

This is a good fuel economy performance, but falls short of hybrid engines such as the Ford Fusion hybrid or the Toyota Prius.  Of course the price of the Fiesta starts at a much lower price -- $13,320 MSRP for the base sedan Fiesta versus $23,050 for the base Toyota Prius.

The best thing about the Fiesta, in our minds, is the handling.  The car turns tightly and is capable of swift maneuvers.  It takes the curves beautifully.  The suspension allows you to "feel" the road's uneven character, without discomfort, offering the perfect blend of sport and comfort.

One important thing to bear in mind for those who haven't previously owned a subcompact, is that the class lacks power compared to larger compact and midsize sedans.  The Fiesta is slightly more powerful than two of its chief competitors -- the 117, hp 1.5L Honda Fit, or the 106 hp, 1.5L Toyota Yaris hatchback.  For those used to driving midsized sedans, the car will still feel underpowered, though.  It is also slightly less powerful than the 2009 Toyota Prius (134 combined hp), which we test-drove last year last year.

dual-clutch 6-speed option option is provided, which may help with power needs, by utilizing the engine's power a bit better and having a better gear distribution.  Our vehicle came with the base-level 5-speed transmission.

With our 5-speed we took the car up to 80 mph in the top-gear (see updates below)and under controlled highway conditions then floored the accelerator.  It took approximately 10-15 seconds in several trials to reach 90 mph.  Acceleration at the higher end of highway speeds was a crawl and felt painful and unnatural.  We could see this as being a problem if you wanted to pass vehicles on the highway, say to make an exit or something.  Of course, this is a problem that effects most of the cars in this class, so it's largely the nature of the beast.

And the Ford Fiesta is a pretty light vehicle -- 2,537 for the high speed hatch-back version -- so the lack of power isn't quite as glaring as some vehicles in its class.

If you can get past the power, the Fiesta offers a compelling experience.  Looks are highly subjective, but we felt that the Fiesta looks attractive.  Of numerous American automotive designs, the Fiesta is among the best in preserving the aggressive look of its concepts in the actual production model (versus vehicles like the Volt that featured bold concepts, which were transformed into more sedate production looks).

As mentioned, the handling and gas mileage are both pleasant experiences.  And we experienced little noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) during our rides -- another desirable factor.    To top it off, the interior is relatively spacious for a vehicle of this class.

Minor gripes about the interior include that the seats feel a little bit rigid/hard, which may turn off some (we found them sufficiently comfortable, though, and felt they fit with the "sporty" feel) and the storage space in the middle was limited.  For us the latter gripe was definitely the hard one to deal with, as we found ourselves using cup-holders as a place to hold your cell phone, etc. -- not exactly a desirable stowage situation.  We would have preferred a bit of recessed space between the center console.

Our version of the car had one more compelling positive, that's worth noting -- SYNC.  We were preoccupied with testing the vehicle's performance and weren't able to extensively test SYNC, but as we've previously stated, this is a pretty powerful tool if you want to make calls in-car or play music from your iPod or other USB device.

In all the 2011 Ford Fiesta is a vehicle well-suited for day-to-day commutes and chores, while offering a definite "fun-factor".  The sweet price point, inclusion of SYNC, and the strong gas mileage all help the vehicle overcome the inherent downside of subcompact vehicles -- power.  We feel this car -- like any one -- has its negatives.  But overall the 2011 Ford Fiesta Hatch SE is a compelling option in its class.

Ford's product page for the vehicle can be found here.

Update 1 -- Tues. September 28, 2010:
As some commenters pointed out, the key to accelerating with a lower powered manual like the Fiesta is to put it in a higher gear.  Of course this will spike your RPMs quite high -- probably above 4k.  But if you have to speed up, this is the obvious way to do it, albeit at the cost of fuel efficiency. 

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By etherreal on 9/28/2010 9:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
What kind of progress are we truly making, when a "fuel efficient" subcompact in 2010 can only get 30MPG? My 1996 Civic hatchback has the same amount of power and gets 45MPG. Some of the older CRX Civics can go 50MPG+.

Where have all the 40MPG+ gas vehicles gone?

By Chris Peredun on 9/28/2010 9:30:02 AM , Rating: 3
Word. I've gotten 37mpg (measured, US miles and US gallons) in the city in my 05 Civic - of course, that was with me driving gently. Not like a nun on a rosary run, just not jackrabbiting away from stoplights, looking ahead to avoid trying to beat lights that I'll never make, etc.

By othercents on 9/28/2010 3:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
In my 99 Civic I typically get better than 30MPG for my commute where I drive aggressive and some stop and go traffic. It is amazing on how much fuel efficient the older Civics are compared to the new vehicles especially with the discrepancy in cost.


RE: "Fuel Efficient Vehicles" these days are a joke.
By tng on 9/28/2010 3:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 99 Civic and just driving reasonably I can get 42mpg out of it. I am on board with the fact that yes newer cars in this class should get better mileage despite the weight gains that have been mandated by a nanny government.

BTW my commute is ~50 miles each way, so allot of highway miles and some stop and go if I get out to late in the day...

By wiz220 on 9/28/2010 4:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
"nanny government"

Really? My impression was that many manufacturers strive to make cars safer (and therefore heavier) and use those added safety features in marketing. Almost every car on the market today greatly exceeds basic government standards. Manufacturers could do less if they wanted to. Just today I saw a Mercedes commercial where the entire ad was focused on the safety features of their cars. Frankly, this is one area where the free market seems to have worked well. people demanded safety, and got it, it's a top concern for many buyers.

By JonnyDough on 9/28/2010 6:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
This is what I was thinking too. Does your 05 civic have sync? Airbags?

By Souka on 9/28/2010 6:47:11 PM , Rating: 3
My old 76' Datsun 280Z (2.8L straight-6) would get 35mpg cruzing at 60mph from Eugene, OR to Everett, WA

Of course I tended to drive in the 100+ on occasion, 120mph on the flats...then my economy would drop to 18MPG or less. :)

I dunno why I posted it...just felt like it.

By JonnyDough on 9/29/2010 5:08:21 AM , Rating: 2
See mine and OmegaD's post below. There are reasons we don't get the same efficiency. For one, we are no longer polluting the air nearly as badly.

By tng on 9/29/2010 8:21:10 AM , Rating: 2
If you are talking about my post it is a 99 Civic and yes it has airbags. As for Sync, I have installed a similar system from Alpine. Touchscreen control for my Ipod, CD/DVD player, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, backup camera. Great system and I now that I have it when I get a rental somewhere that does not have the Ipod and Bluetooth I miss it.

So you see my Civic really does not need Sync.

By Omega215D on 9/29/2010 2:58:54 AM , Rating: 2
Not only that but emissions equipment play a role in reducing fuel mileage. The higher the standards the less mileage you will get.

My source came from my motorcycle magazine with an in depth view on the whole thing (for those who doubt this).

By tng on 9/29/2010 8:14:50 AM , Rating: 2
Frankly, this is one area where the free market seems to have worked well.
Yes and no, in my opinion. Most of the safety comes not from manufacturers that voluntarily install this equipment, but from many years of mandates by government and insurance companies. The fact that car safety can be marketed by companies like Mercedes to generate more sales is a by-product. I like the fact that people are thinking about this stuff.

By Samus on 9/29/2010 10:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well sure, my 238 whp supercharged SVT Focus CAN get upward of 30MPG, but cars like it aren't really designed for fuel economy.

Ironically, between my truck and my Mustang, it's the only car I own that achieves anything considered 'decent' fuel economy these days.

I just wish Ford would bring the performance version of the Kuga over next year as the Escape Sport or something, but they'll just throw a clunker V6 in it and call it sporty, and I'll never be able to consolidate ALL my cars into one. Economy, light towing, performance.

By CBRbrutha on 9/28/2010 9:35:53 AM , Rating: 5
The progress is in safety, which comes at the expense of the progress made in efficiency. Your '96 Civic would fare far worse in just about any type of crash than would a modern subcompact. The increased safety standards come with a weight penalty. Until that changes, increases in efficiency will continue to be offset - to one extent or another - by increased safety equipment.

RE: "Fuel Efficient Vehicles" these days are a joke.
By Goty on 9/28/2010 9:41:26 AM , Rating: 2

We have a winner!

RE: "Fuel Efficient Vehicles" these days are a joke.
By ipay on 9/28/10, Rating: -1
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 2:22:39 PM , Rating: 4
While some things you say are correct, I suggest you seek professional help.

By NullSubroutine on 9/28/2010 5:32:19 PM , Rating: 3

By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 10:02:35 AM , Rating: 3
You'd likely die in either one if hit by a truck. But yes you're correct. Safety standards keep increasing the weight of cars which make it ever harder for auto manufacturers to meet the absurd mileage standards also being imposed. Then you have the emissions requirements which cause an engine to potentially be less fuel efficient than it otherwise could be.

Basically the auto manufacturers are like a college girl in the middle of a three way gang bang.

By Motoman on 9/28/2010 11:16:14 AM , Rating: 3
...and there's a herpes-carrying retard at each end.

RE: "Fuel Efficient Vehicles" these days are a joke.
By goku on 9/28/2010 11:50:20 AM , Rating: 5
Actually you're wrong.. Just go to the IIHS website and compare the '96 Civic with the latest Fiesta and you'll see the Fiesta only does slightly better. Go to and you'll see the same.. (Difference between IIHS and Federal Crash Testing is that IIHS does offset crash testing while NHTSA does full width crash testing)

Crash testing procedures are DIRECTLY COMPARABLE across all model years but NOT class sizes. Meaning you cannot accurately compare the crash rating of a Civic (4 stars) and that of a Chevy Pickup (3 stars) due to how the test is conducted. The Federal Crash Test standard hasn't changed at all since it was instituted and revised by 1977. A 1984 Corolla's 5 star crash test rating on the NHTSA standard is directly comparable to a 2010 Corolla's 5 star rating on the same test. The only things that have changed since that time is the addition of additional tests, such as side impact testing. The IIHS is an independent organization that started offset crash testing in 1995 which is more rigorous than the full width test the NHTSA conducts. This means that while the '84 corolla and the '10 Corolla get the same NHTSA rating, the '10 corolla is safer only because it was designed with the IIHS testing in mind as well (offset crash testing is harder than full width). So, if a MY 1997 and a MY 2010 car of the same class both score highly on the NHTSA and IIHS, then the scores are directly comparable.

What people don't understand is, manufacturers aren't going to make their cars significantly safer if there isn't a way to be able to differentiate their cars from the rest of the pack. I.e. They're generally not going to go out of their way to make a car survive a 45mph if crash testing is only conducted at 35mph. This is why some cars in the Early 90s were starting to get 5 Stars (Federal Standard) which looked good but then when they came out with the IIHS test, these cars fell flat on their faces since an Offset crash is so much worse.

In terms of crash testing and its ratings, things really haven't changed since 1997 when the IIHS and NHTSA agreed to start conducting Side Impact crash testing.

By tng on 9/28/2010 4:10:11 PM , Rating: 2
Good post

By phantom505 on 9/29/2010 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not a good post at all.

First top pick in that class by IIHS (see August 25th post), sounds like it's safer than all subcompacts before it to me. Not that it says much but if you have to measure.....

This Fiesta is 2011. There is no NHSTA rating as of yet, and for all 2011 model years the requirements are much more strict.

So yeah, bad post, well at least uninformed post passing off as informed.

By sprockkets on 9/30/2010 10:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
What the heck are you talking about? The 1996 gen got an acceptable rating vs Good of the current gen.

No, unlike you, I'll post proof:

The Fiesta got a Good in EVERY category.

You losers who rate up people without even checking the facts should be ashamed of yourselves.

By Ristogod on 9/28/2010 10:02:28 AM , Rating: 2
Even in my 2005 Corolla XRS, which I drive hard all the time, I get 27-30 mpg. So yeah, when I hear about these even smaller and even less powerful cars getting only about the same or worse, it really makes you wonder what is going on. Some one always has to mention the addition of weight because of all this safety equipment. But My car is only 5 years old and pretty current on safety equipment itself. What could they possibly be still adding in regards to safety that is adding weight faster than they can make engines more efficient?

By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 10:08:13 AM , Rating: 1
You also have to realize for these smaller cars with smaller engines, you need more aggressive gearing in order to get the marginally adequate performance out of them you do get. A larger engine doesn't suffer from this problem so the gearing can be less aggressive, thus resulting in the same or close to the same fuel efficiency. You could reduce the aggressiveness of the gearing with the smaller engine but then its even more anemic than before. But for the targeted audience of drivers that a boring car like the Corolla goes for, this is ok.

Also its a question of what else did they put in. How much does the interior weigh and all the other included features.

By mcnabney on 9/28/2010 10:50:32 AM , Rating: 3
The CRX-hf had a curb weight of 1713lbs.
The stock Fiesta has a curb weight of 2462lbs

That is closing in on a 50% weight difference, so expecting similar mileage is hardly fair.

Anyway, people driving the new Fiesta primarily on the highway are reporting 40+mpg. That actually compares well with the 52-55mpg that the CRX-hf would get on the highway.

By goku on 9/28/2010 12:25:58 PM , Rating: 3
The 1992-1995 Honda Civic VX weighs around 2100lbs and got very nearly the same mileage as the CRX-HF.. however one trick up its sleeve was lean-burn, something that cars today don't have thanks to the Federal Tier 2 Bin 5 emission regulations.. The only way we're going to get that kind of boost in mileage again is if and when engines become capable of HCCI operation. (HCCI lets gasoline cars behave like a diesel while cruising)

By SanLC504 on 9/28/2010 10:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
And how many airbags did that LeBaron have? And how many crumple zones? And pedestrian crash zones?

Oh, zero. Right. Did it even have ABS?

To follow the status quo when it comes to safety, you must add weight.

By YashBudini on 9/28/2010 11:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
All cars get bigger and fatter with age. The latest Civic is probably bigger than the original Accord.

By mcnabney on 9/28/2010 4:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
It is. Likewise, the new Corollas are bigger than Camrys from the 90's.

We are soooooo fat.

By YashBudini on 9/30/2010 1:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Engines too.

By dubldwn on 9/28/2010 1:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
I used to routinely get 35 mpg in a late 80's LeBaron that had a 2.4 Turbo. I got this mileage while driving the piss out of the car.

lol by "35", do you mean "17"? Although I don't recall a 2.4 turbo.

By Ammohunt on 9/28/2010 2:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
the internal combustion engine design is over 100 years old and really hasn't changed much in that timeframe.

By teldar on 9/28/2010 4:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, engines haven't changed? We sill have open ports instead of valves and we have points and condensers instead of electronic ignition. We probably don't have emissions controls, fuel injection, turbo, fuel pumps, or anything else that would increase power, efficiency, or pollution emissions.
I'm sure you're right, there's really no difference between now and 100 years ago, I mean the DO still burn fuel.

By Ammohunt on 9/29/2010 12:30:05 PM , Rating: 3
Wow! The basic principles and componenets of the internal combustion engine haven't changed everything you listed don't change the basic design; e.g. if we put a lab coat some glasses and a pocket protector on you. It wouldn't change the fact that you are still a basic dumbass.

By SoCalBoomer on 9/28/2010 7:46:54 PM , Rating: 1
I seriously doubt that you got that in a LeBaron - piece of turd! Had one, in supposedly "good" shape. . . hated it. Ugh.

However, I drive a 97 Neon (2.0 DOHC ACR) and get between 27-30mpg regularly (237 miles on 8.5 gallons last fillup) . . . so I agree with your point, just not with your example. . .

By dubldwn on 9/28/2010 12:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
My 1996 Civic hatchback has the same amount of power and gets 45MPG.

No it doesn't. It has less power, weighs less, and still only achieves similar mpg. Are you talking about the mpg *you* get?

By etherreal on 9/29/2010 9:17:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I am talking about the MPG I get. 40 if I drive it real hard, 47 if I drive it real easy, 44-45 for normal driving.

By xprojected on 9/28/2010 2:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
The '96 Civic is rated (by current MPG standards, see anywhere between 26/35 and 24/32 mpg (depending on manual/auto or VTEC). So if you are managing 45, I'd think you could manage at least that much with the Fiesta. The 80s-early 90s CRX did get higher mpg than most current cars, but it was also much, much lighter.

By BookofRage on 9/28/2010 4:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
The European Version gives 65 MPG

By Spivonious on 9/28/2010 5:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
1.2 imperial gallons to 1 US gallon, plus the mileage tests are very different.

By walk2k on 9/29/2010 9:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
You lost me at "twist beam".

Same as the FIT.. and the new CRZ hybrid.

Why don't they put decent suspensions on these cars? They would be SO much fun stripped down and powered up a little, like an old Civic/CRX. But no, they have to saddle them with terrible suspensions.

Why underpowered?
By theagentsmith on 9/28/2010 9:39:26 AM , Rating: 3
I think 120HP for a car that weighs about 1 ton is plentiful.
I have a 2.2 diesel PT Cruiser with 121HP and while it's not blazing fast, it's perfectly fine even on highways even if it weighs more than 1.6 tons.
Please notice that in most US states the speed limit is 70-75 mph, while here in Italy it's often 80 mph, and here there are a lot of car much underpowered than this Fiesta.
European Fiestas have a HP range from 60 to 120!
I don't understand why Americans love to have cars with a lot of HP with speed limits so strict. While I agree it's fun to get sticked to the seat while accelerating, it's not fun for the environment (hence why better MPG is so important nowadays) and for the wallet.
1 gallon = 3.78 liters x 1.4 euros per liter = 5.38 euros which means a gallon costs a whoppy 7.24 dollars!
A gallon of diesel costs 6 dollars that's why diesel engine is so popular in the EU :)

RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why underpowered?
By AssBall on 9/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 12:29:58 PM , Rating: 3
Are you seriously making fun of a guy's son who has to sleep in an iron lung? Are you going to make fun of his other son who died at 22 or 23 from a similar condition as well? It is a miracle his son has lived as long as he has with the condition he has.

And yes, he has a large truck so that if he ever has to go somewhere with his son, the iron lung has to come along. Say, a hurricane evacuation. He also has a several hundred pound wheel chair lift on the back of the truck. You need to make fun of that as well to be consistent.

Christ you're an ass.

RE: Why underpowered?
By Schrag4 on 9/28/2010 2:06:07 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, but HIS son doesn't sleep in an iron lung, so of course nobody would every need and therefore nobody should be allowed to own large trucks.

RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 2:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much.

The fact is that if the guys reason for owning a large truck is solely because he wants to, at least in the United States, that is, or at least should be, a valid reason.

But with people like Assball's attitude, apparently you should need a government voucher in order to buy a large vehicle. And as such, pay an extremely high price for it due to low production volume.

I fear for my buddies kid under Obamacare. People with his condition will never be able to be productive members of society so the government really won't care about providing funding for their illness.

RE: Why underpowered?
By AssBall on 9/28/2010 3:51:16 PM , Rating: 1
Jesus Christ.

I drive a fricking 07 Tundra and get around 14 MPG if I am lucky in good weather and NOT hauling shit. I agree with Fit on 90% of his posts. Yes, I was just being an Ass.

You guys don't appreciate sarcastic humor? Then lick my 85 octane guzzling exhaust pipe.

And yes I make fun of people with disabilities. I'm easily amused like that, which is my enaliable right.

Don't be so goddamn serious all the time.

RE: Why underpowered?
By AssBall on 9/28/2010 3:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
/edit spelling fail ***


RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2010 8:17:30 AM , Rating: 2
It's actually unalienable or inalienable, depending which you meant.

RE: Why underpowered?
By albundy2 on 9/29/2010 5:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
lol, that reminded me of the episode where Brian tries to become Quagmires' friend.

RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2010 8:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry. If your post was meant to be sarcastic, then I didn't pick it up. But my co-workers kid is a sensitive topic because the kid is only like 5 years younger than me and likely won't live to be 27 as I am now. And my co-worker has already suffered the loss of one child, who was only 6 months younger than me. No parent should have to see their child die.

It's not like I don't make fun of certain non-politically correct topics as well.

RE: Why underpowered?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2010 12:35:35 PM , Rating: 3
Please notice that in most US states the speed limit is 70-75 mph, while here in Italy it's often 80 mph. I don't understand why Americans love to have cars with a lot of HP with speed limits so strict.

WOW a whole 5 mph difference!! That's SOOOO much stricter.

While I agree it's fun to get sticked to the seat while accelerating, it's not fun for the environment

Ummm do you realize the least economical cars on the planet almost exclusively come from Europe and the UK?

RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 1:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, Italy specifically where he says he lives. Ferrari....Lamborghini....not exactly high on the fuel efficiency charts.

RE: Why underpowered?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2010 1:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
How about that Bugatti huh? The MODEL of efficiency lol

RE: Why underpowered?
By Hyperion1400 on 9/28/2010 1:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ferrari is owned by Fiat, one of the most prolific econo car producers in the world. Also, Fiat makes Alfa Romeo, another known for making both affordable and efficient cars, AND sporty, affordable cars.

RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 2:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
Ferrari's are made in Italy though.

His point that the world's most fuel in-efficient cars are built in Europe is valid.

RE: Why underpowered?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2010 2:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. I wasn't saying that Europe didn't make fuel efficient cars. I was just pointing out that the huge HUGE majority of gas guzzlers are European and British.

RE: Why underpowered?
By lelias2k on 9/28/2010 4:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
This HUGE majority you are talking about (Ferraris, Lambos, Buggatis) are sold in a ridiculous small quantity.

American trucks and SUVs on the other hand are sold in millions. AND they are driven on a daily basis, which is not the case of supercars.

Finally, much of the production of these European guzzlers (in many cases the vast majority) is sold to the US.

The US is not the leader of oil usage per capita by accident...

RE: Why underpowered?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/28/2010 6:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
This HUGE majority you are talking about (Ferraris, Lambos, Buggatis) are sold in a ridiculous small quantity.

BMW's are mostly gas guzzlers. Mercedes total gas guzzlers, Rolls Royce. Range Rover. Bentley. Lotus. Porsche, are those sold in ridiculous small quantities too?

I can go on and on. I was only seeking to point out the irony of an Italian accusing another country of not caring about gas mileage.

The US is not the leader of oil usage per capita by accident...

It's no accident we have 330 million citizens, if that's what you're getting at. With over 200 million registered drivers. Yeah, that's going to cause some oil usage. It does NOT make a case, however, for us being not efficient enough.

RE: Why underpowered?
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2010 8:06:51 AM , Rating: 3
Not to mention living a far more spread out country than any European nation.

They can keep their tiny cars, tiny apartments, and extremely high costs of living. At least for those who actually work anyway.

RE: Why underpowered?
By shaidorsai on 9/28/2010 6:44:14 PM , Rating: 1
It's not really horsepower per say as much as torque that we like...that lets us feel like we are something special when we floor the gas on our retardly large pickup truck and cut off the guy in the Fiesta trying to merge in traffic. Basically we all drive like assholes and need the power to look cool (to ourselves) as we do it....

90mph is the top speed?
By Janooo on 9/28/2010 8:57:27 AM , Rating: 1
That's very strange. I could get 100mph out of my 1.3L 50kw (67hp) Skoda car.

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By tng on 9/28/2010 9:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
I drove a Skoda Fabia (1.9L diesel I think) several years ago in Austria for a week. Great car and you could get out and it would really go. Unfortunately here in the US having a top speed above 90mph is a waste for most people, since there is no place that they can go that fast nearby and not get caught. I would rather have a more efficient use of power between 0-70mph here in the US.

I also find it sad that there was not more attention paid to the Sync package. As all these cars in this class meet a certain level of economy for those of us with long commutes, things like Sync is where they will stand out and where allot of us will make out purchasing decisions.

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 10:09:30 AM , Rating: 1
I hit 150 a few weeks ago... ;)

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By AssBall on 9/28/2010 10:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
Good for you! Keep doing the bulimia therapy and you you will get even more next month!

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 12:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
If I was a 16 year old teenage girl that might've been funny.

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By ekv on 9/28/2010 3:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
above 90mph is a waste for most people, since there is no place that they can go that fast nearby and not get caught
Umm, ever drive in LA? If you ain't doing 80 you're kind of getting run over. It becomes kind of a safety thing. 95 is fairly common. CHP is cracking down some due to budget crunch and increases in fines.

San Jose, similar story. [Try to tell Jobs to slow down, hah!, even if you could catch him, money talks.]

Would also like to see more on SYNC though....

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By tng on 9/29/2010 10:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
I typically drive each day into the SF East bay from the central valley, about 50 miles one way.

In the morning I get to work at about 5AM so there is little traffic on the freeway and I can just cruise at 65.

I leave work at 4PM and everything changes. While in the morning I get to work in less than an hour, on the way home that changes to ~2 hours and I use a different route to go home. Going even 60 is not an option most of the way home, so I have different priorities when it comes to speed.

Since I spend so much time literally in my car, having good options for listening makes it so much nicer. That is why I would like to see more info on the Sync package in these cars. For instance, can I fully control the Ipod from the touchscreen (change playlists, find podcasts, sort music by name/artist)? How is the Bluetooth integrated? Currently my Alpine will download my full phonebook from my phone along with sent/received/missed calls. Will the Sync package do this?

So many buttons I want to push....

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By Goty on 9/28/2010 9:40:26 AM , Rating: 2
Where did you read that?

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By Spivonious on 9/28/2010 10:17:42 AM , Rating: 2
He didn't write that. He said the acceleration from 80 to 90 in 5th gear was relatively slow. Honestly, since 75 is the highest speed limit in the country, this isn't a problem. If you want better acceleration, downshift.

You're not going to get much better unless you move to a car with more torque.

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By acer905 on 9/28/2010 12:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
Pfft... Speed Limits... don't know about everywhere else, but in Michigan, people scoff at them

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By Janooo on 9/28/2010 2:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
Correct, but what does it mean "It took approximately 10-15 seconds in several trials to reach 90 mph."
Several trials? Does it mean that he was not able to reach 90mph on some occasions? So how you can have higher top speed if you can not reach 90 all the time?

RE: 90mph is the top speed?
By Spivonious on 9/28/2010 5:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's just poorly written. I think he meant that over several trials, it averaged 10-15 seconds to go from 80-90mph.

Real-world experience
By CBRbrutha on 9/28/2010 9:58:30 AM , Rating: 3
I recently returned from a trip to Germany & Italy, where I spent 1½ weeks driving one of the new Fiestas with the same setup/specs as the one tested for this article. While I appreciate that Anandtech tried to run a number of "standard" tests on the car, such as the highway roll-on, it is not indicative of the performance that can be expected by owners of this vehicle.

While in Europe, I drove the car in pretty much every type of on-road situation you can imagine. Most of my routes outside of Germany were in the mountainous regions of Northern Italy. Even in the mountains the car did very well at maintaining reasonable speeds (~80mph). It felt equally at home whether driving through small country towns or pushing it to 110mph on the Autobahn (verified by GPS). Now, with a 5-speed tranny (no OD), it got a little "buzzy" above 80mph, but still felt planted and handled curves with aplomb. However, to reach those speeds in a reasonable amount of time, a downshift to 4th was inevitable, and if I came upon slower traffic, I would have to grab the shifter again once the traffic cleared. There's simply no getting around the downshifts in a vehicle with such a "peaky" engine (max. horsepower at the upper rev limit).

If I were to purchase one of these, it would definitely be one equipped with the 6-speed dual-clutch auto tranny. I simply don't like having to reach for the shifter every time I want to increase my speed. While I did tend to run the car up to some pretty high speeds in Europe, I am by no means a leadfoot in day-to-day driving. Even so, there was just too much shifting required for my tastes.

Either way, the car was fun to drive, handled really well, and averaged about 33mpg in the mixed driving I did during my trip. It was great on-highway and off, and IMO looked great as well (hatchback only). Don't put too much stock in acceleration tests. This is a great little car.

RE: Real-world experience
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 10:15:01 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty sad that people view having to DRIVE the car as a downside.

"I had to downshift. Who wants to do that when you want to accelerate?"


RE: Real-world experience
By CBRbrutha on 9/28/2010 10:35:31 AM , Rating: 2
"Pretty sad that people view having to DRIVE the car as a downside...


You nailed it, right on the head. Laziness is the ONLY possible explanation for someone wanting to have a free hand while driving.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by your inability to process the possibility that someone may have better things to do than constantly shift while driving, like using a cell phone, for example, or even something so mundane as holding my girlfriend's hand while on vacation (don't worry man, you may know what that feels like one day). Why don't you just say it man? "We need to all go back to the 1940's where 8mpg was considered...well actually it wasn't considered at all, and manual shifting was how MEN got places."

Yeah I'm over my surprise, considering that this comment came from the same mind that can't generate anything beyond a "college girl/gang-bang" analogy for auto manufacturers required to modernize with the rest of society.

You stay classy...

RE: Real-world experience
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 12:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
I drive a manual and driving around town, I manage to hold my girlfriends hand just fine. You don't leave your hand on the shifter. Only teenage punks in riced out Civics do that.

And maybe I don't want the majority of people holding a cell phone. Most people can't drive with two hands, much less one.

RE: Real-world experience
By acer905 on 9/28/2010 12:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
I would really like to see a study done. Survey every person who has been at fault in a collision while using a cell phone, and find out how many collisions they were involved in without using the cell phone. I'd estimate that there would be more repeat crashers than first-timers.

RE: Real-world experience
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2010 1:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I agree. I think the problem is far more than cell phones. Hence my point that most people can't drive using two hands, much less one.

I have made calls with my cell phone while driving. It has never had a measurable impact on the safety of my driving. I typically do it when I'm on the highway and don't need both hands. And if I am in the city, I typically put it on speakerphone and hold it in my hand with my hand on the wheel. If I have to shift, I set the phone on my lap first.

RE: Real-world experience
By MarkK02474 on 9/30/2010 8:41:57 AM , Rating: 2
Most of my girlfriends like men who can operate equipment. They especially like it when I double clutch when downshifting! Their hand is on my thigh or crotch, maintaining contact and not holding my hand. Automatics are for girls and the lazy.

BTW, my 1986 Honda Civic Si weighed 1800 lbs. and its 1.5 l. engine won me good autorcross times and many speeding tickets. My next new car, a 1997 Miata is 2600+ lbs. with a 1.8l and slower. Safety regulations have produced obesity and poorer city mpg due to weight increases. Honda is leading the way now with adoption of stronger steel requiring less of it.

Gasoline composition is also responsible for decreased mileage than before. 10% ethanol means lower energy density than pure gasoline, requiring more of it. Less effective anti-knock additives available today limit engine efficiency with reduced compression ratios and/or retarded ignition timing. Catalytic converters are also responsible for poorer mileage - richer air/fuel ratios are needed to lower nitrate levels while the converter burns leftover fuel into (more) CO2 and water.

Despite having both hands tied behind their backs by safety and pollution regulations, auto makers have done a good job improving engines, while their bean counters have kept them to a fair rating on weight control.

RE: Real-world experience
By Amiga500 on 9/28/2010 1:57:36 PM , Rating: 1

That is fucking pathetic man!

I'm normally not in agreement with FIT on anything, but on this case he is 100% correct. If your going to pull out excuses like "holding my girlfriend's hand while on vacation" as a reason for an auto box/semi-auto box you've no argument at all. Or holding the mobile - ever hear of a hands free kit?

*IF* you had argued that you lived in a city and were looking an auto box to save your clutch, fine. Note, that doesn't apply to the dual clutch semi though.

If you were a semi-competent driver, shifts would easily be minimised by keeping appropriate distance from the car in front so you have a gap to maintain momentum. But I guess holding your girl would distract you from the small matter of being aware of what is around you on the road.

RE: Real-world experience
By bigbrent88 on 9/28/2010 2:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
I find that my girlfriend loves to have her hand on the shifter with mine over as a guide, rowing through the gears. Umm, I promise it is not as dirty as it sounds! She hasn't learned a manual yet so it's also a great way for her to practice. Basically, being a man turns most women on and driving a manual is pretty manly. At least, that's what I tell myself at night!

Jason, please slap yourself
By Hyperion1400 on 9/28/2010 9:34:49 AM , Rating: 3
With our 5-speed we took the car up to 80 mph in the top-gear and under controlled highway conditions then floored the accelerator. It took approximately 10-15 seconds in several trials to reach 90 mph. Acceleration at the higher end of highway speeds was a crawl and felt painful and unnatural.

At 80 mph, you should a plenty of room left in 4th gear to accelerate with. Top gear is intended to be used for cruising not acceleration. With a car closer to the 200hp spectrum, you can get away with being lazy. But with a 130 hp car or lower(110 HP for me :\), you need to be prepared to take a more "active" roll in driving it. Sometimes you need to grab the car by the balls and run past 4k RPMs.

When I hit an on-ramp in my Sentra, I'm in 3rd 'till I hit 70 or what ever the traffic is flowing at. I don't switch to 4th (4 speed) until I am ready to settle in.

I don't mean to be overly critical, just though I'd share my 2 cents. Keep up the good work, it's nice to see DT starting to branch out.

Any shot at you guys getting to drive the Evo XI Hybrid concept when Mitsu gets around to that stage of testing?

RE: Jason, please slap yourself
By KingofL337 on 9/28/2010 10:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, there is no reason to be passing in Top Gear on a 120hp car. Honestly, with a 5-speed manual or a DSG you should be able make that little car scoot. You just have to be willing to spin the motor up a little. I'd say it cleans the carbon out, but today's cars burn so clean that's really not the case.

By Hyperion1400 on 9/28/2010 11:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention it is almost recklessly inefficient. I wouldn't be surprised if you could produce twice the torque in 4th than you could in 5th while only using half the throttle.

No wonder your mileage sucked Jason :P

Well, sshhhhnnapppp
By AssBall on 9/28/2010 9:16:13 AM , Rating: 2
I was totally hoping they would give us the 800 hp AWD fiesta.

On a personal note, I think it is ugly as hell inside and outside, and it could use a turbo'd diesel engine instead of that joke of an i4. Hell the Mazda 3 is a better car and its the same base.

RE: Well, sshhhhnnapppp
By SanLC504 on 9/28/2010 9:41:41 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, the Fiesta shares the same base with the Mazda 2, not the 3. The 3's wheelbase is over five inches longer, plus it has 2.0L and 2.5L engine choices.

Car and Driver compared the Fiesta, the Mazda2, and the Honda Fit, and they provide a good, thought out comparison between the three models.

RE: Well, sshhhhnnapppp
By AssBall on 9/28/2010 9:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I read that, for some reason I thought it was the old 3 and not the 2. Thanks for the correction.

Why is everyone fighting over 30mpg
By BookofRage on 9/28/2010 4:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Why is everyone fighting over 30mpg and 40mpg. The European version gives 65 MPG for the exact same car. Europeans drive just like Americans. We are pretty much concluding Americans are the worst drivers on the planet? 65mpg vs 30 mpg for the same car? that is pretty ridiculous

RE: Why is everyone fighting over 30mpg
By GatoRat on 9/28/2010 10:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
That 65mpg highway (probably UK gallons and using UK standards, so the mileage is probably around 50 mpg if that) with the diesel engine vs. 40 mpg highway for the gasoline version, whether here or Europe. The diesel engine version is estimated to cost about $6000-$8000 more than the gas version (as it does with Volkswagons) though the engine will last longer. Another problem is that Europe allows more particulates to be emitted than the US. The additional anti-pollution gear would cut the mileage by another 3-5% if note more. In the end, the mileage for the diesel version would likely be in the mid 40s. Who would pay an additional $6000 for 5-10 mpg?

By MDPlatts on 9/29/2010 11:53:25 AM , Rating: 2
Looking at a new Audi A1 at present - the diesel version is £800 - i.e. approx $1200-$1300 CHEAPER than the petrol version - and gets 78MPG (uk) on the "extended urban" tests.

80-90mph acceleration
By Chris Peredun on 9/28/2010 9:26:10 AM , Rating: 3
With our 5-speed we took the car up to 80 mph in the top-gear and under controlled highway conditions then floored the accelerator. It took approximately 10-15 seconds in several trials to reach 90 mph.

For the love of FSM, downshift . No sane person who needs to overtake on a two-lane with a car like this is going to try it in top gear.

That said, what was it turning RPM-wise at 80mph?

RE: 80-90mph acceleration
By phantom505 on 9/29/2010 12:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah and not just down shift to 4th, they probably should have gone to 3rd considering 4th and 5th gear are both overdrives on that transmission.

By KingConker on 9/28/2010 11:51:53 AM , Rating: 1
Surely the quote about the assisted power steering turning some auto-enthusiasts off incorrect?

I can't remember a car as far back as 15 years ago that didn't have that?

By KnightBreed on 9/28/2010 12:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
Older cars use a hydraulic pump to provide power for steering. Many newer cars use an electric motor. The latter is more efficient but lacks the "feel" that the hydraulic setup had.

By Amiga500 on 9/28/2010 1:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
**Electronic** power steering.

Completely different. The damn things are very often non-linear which makes it a right bitch to drive.

Higher gear...
By avxo on 9/28/2010 3:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
As some commenters pointed out, the key to accelerating with a lower powered manual like the Fiesta is to put it in a higher gear.

Actually, the key is to put it in a LOWER gear. If you are in 5th you might downshift to 4th, or even 3rd depending on the engine powerband, the gear ratios and the amount of power you need to put down to the road.

If you don't know this basic stuff about a manual/stick, then I very much doubt you will be able to effectively and efficiently drive the car... So your results mean very little.

My girlfriend gets worse fuel efficiency than I do driving my car, despite the fact that I do actually drive pretty aggressively. Why? Because she doesn't use the transmission efficiently.

RE: Higher gear...
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2010 8:10:15 AM , Rating: 1

4th vs. 5th is a HIGHER gear ratio. Hence why it is referred to as a higher gear.

RE: Higher gear...
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2010 8:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct though that Jason probably shouldn't be talking about cars.

Accelerating in a higher gear vs. a lower gear does not necessarily result in lower overall gas mileage. You can get to the desired speed much quicker and get back to cruising sooner by accelerating in a higher gear. If it takes 5 seconds to get from 80-90 in 4th gear and results in 15 mpg that is better than taking 15 seconds accelerating in 5th gear but getting 20 mpg. Assume 30 mpg cruising. For that 15 seconds in 4th gear you average 25 mpg vs. the 20 mpg of accelerating in 5th gear.

So they pounded on the car
By Dr of crap on 9/28/2010 8:43:58 AM , Rating: 2
So what this blog is stating is if you pound the crap out of it -
-trying to see how long it takes to get to highway speed
-trying to get to 90 mph (repeatedly)
-trying to pass cars to make the exit (I really hate that)
-lead foot (seems like that's how they drove it)
the mileage may suffer. Dah!

So we should also drive the cars that this is compared to so that things are equal. You can't say the EPA MPGs of cars and then say what the Feista got after beating on it. Makes the Feista look like its bad on gas.

And why does it always come up with cars like this that they don't have enough power to get up to speed for the highway? In most situations there will be someone in your way and you can't get up to speed very fast anyway. It's not the cars fault, it's the ass in front of you.

I'd guess it has enough power to pass most of the SLOW drivers you don't know how to get up to speed on the on ramp!

RE: So they pounded on the car
By tastyratz on 9/28/2010 8:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
maybe the ass in front of you is in another underpowered subcompact?

They test drove the car to the limits, sorry Dailytech didn't take the sissynanny approach to a test drive. Would you prefer they timed how long it took to wait through a green light till it turned yellow then accelerate to 10mph under the speed limit?

While not everyone drives to the limit its how your car performs at its limitations that determine if you can avoid an accident, etc.

As a tech site reader I might have preferred more than a few short sentences on sync in the article however.

Also Ford's new dual clutch 6 speed is their push to fame right now - I am surprised their demo car was not so equipped. I would suspect it would more than greatly change the character of the vehicle.

By lelias2k on 9/28/2010 5:02:56 PM , Rating: 2
the key to accelerating with a lower powered manual like the Fiesta is to put it in a higher gear.

I think you mean LOWER gear. If I'm in 4th gear and put it in 5th (higher) I'll save fuel by lowering my RPM. If I put it in 3rd the RPMs go higher and I have more power to accelerate.

RE: Update
By JonnyDough on 9/28/2010 6:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. How could he mess this up?

It all depends on the driver
By goku on 9/28/2010 11:19:49 AM , Rating: 3
The fact that the test driver got such poor mileage is a testament to the driving habits more than anything else. Ford Fiesta is certainly capable of the mileage of some of the vehicles you guys are comparing it to, it just so happens the reviewer had a lead-foot. One example is someone getting 45mpg in a civic... yeah if you drive it with a light foot! The Fiesta's rated MPG is actually a bit better than that of the vanilla '96 Civic which means it's actually not only just as capable, but moreso of that kind of mileage.

Using the new MPG estimates, the Fiesta gets 32-33mpg avg while the vanilla civics of '96 are rated at 31mpg. If you're getting 45mpg in those civics, driving the exact same way in the Fiesta should also yield the same MPG or better.

By cruisin3style on 9/28/2010 2:51:47 PM , Rating: 3
The key to accelerating is to run the car through the rev range one gear at a time?? Say it ain't so!!

Also please change higher gears" to lower gears so my headache will go away...

It seems
By YashBudini on 9/28/2010 11:46:51 AM , Rating: 2
The styling has taken a cue from all the big mouth Mazdas.

Except for the smile.

By JonnyDough on 9/28/2010 6:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
I was actually thinking this looked a good bit like a Toyota Prius as well. I guess all hatchbacks share a similarity today due to government standards and past styling (public opinion on style determines sales?).

In regards to the gas mileage...may I ask where at and which direction you test drove the vehicle? 90% or so of highway driving is just pushing air out of the way, and a headwind on a light car with a small engine would really drop the rated gas mileage. Friction of rubber on road can also play a small role (was the road freshly paved?)

By smokeyjoe21 on 9/28/2010 9:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 1986 Olds Delta 88 Brougham and this car will almost fit in my trunk and I got 31.75 mpg last year on a 700 mile round trip with a leaky fuel injector!!!! A lot of people say its the added weight of the new safety features that are government mandated. But I say that's bull, I know my car outweighs that Fiesta by 30 to 50%. And the plushly cushioned seats in my car are sooo comfortable! And let's not forget the power of a 3.8L V6!

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