Fittingly, Ford chose San Francisco as the location for the introduction of the 2011 Fiesta compact. While considered a compact vehicle, from the driver’s seat the new Fiesta feels roomy on the inside. It seems to be perfect for the tight streets and busy traffic the Bay Area hands out.
Another reason for the great fit between Bagdad by the Bay and the Ford Fiesta is the amount of high tech gadgetry found on the car. You would think this was more a personal information device than an automobile, particularly with the amount of emphasis Ford puts on the electronic features.
Personally, I feel we have plenty to keep us distracted while driving, but car companies, all car companies, seem to feel car owners just cannot leave any information gathering until we arrive at our destination. We need it NOW by gawd. They call it social media but I think it more of an anti-social media. We are losing our ability to respond to face-to-face communication. However, enough of that rant, we are here to drive.
Let’s look at the vehicle as a conveyance for moving driver and passengers. In this, the Ford Fiesta does an admirable job with only a few minor complaints.
The sharply designed exterior emulates a cool car that stands out from the crowd. In addition, tick the correct box on the order form you can have a vehicle that really stands out. There are a number of cool, electrifying paint schemes available. Plus, you can individualize your Fiesta with dealer-installed graphic designs.
Power comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces an adequate 120 horsepower and 112 ft-lb. of torque. The Fiesta isn’t going to light your racecar fantasies but then that isn’t where this car is aimed. The Fiesta is a vehicle for the econo-minded; those who want to squeeze as much out of their dollar as they can, plus have a vehicle they enjoy driving. That is where the Fiesta shines.
The Fiesta may be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Although the automatic is more a manual gear box with an automatic clutch system. Around urban environs, both are quite fine. However, the gear spacing must be reckoned with out on the highway and country winding roads. The spacing between 3-4-5 is just not satisfying. Each shift found me looking for more power or I began wishing I hadn’t up-shifted so quickly. Once familiar with the layout I was able to compensate my shifting to make a reasonable twisting road the fun it should have been.
One area of engineering satisfaction came from the suspension system. We’ve been told far too many times by many engineers “the suspension is just like the European version. Only tweaked for the American driver.” Read that as to say we didn’t think the American driver would like the taut suspension system so we softened it to make them happy. In the words of one Ford engineer, “we didn’t dumb it down.” While it may not be as taut as I would like, these Ford chassis people really left most alone. The suspension system won’t beat you up but it isn’t like a limp washcloth either. I had a great deal of fun on the twisties as long as I kept the revs up and strategically shifted through the gears.
Talking about interior space a while ago, I stated it was roomy from the driver’s seat and indeed, it is. However, my 74” frame just wasn’t elated about sitting in the back seat. I could do it and I could do it without too much complaining. Yet, put me there for more than a short trip to the market and I might be asking for a break to stretch. The rear seat just isn’t that comfortable for full-grown adults.
It may seem I am less impressed with the Fiesta than I actually am. But, really, I am impressed with this little compact. It will prove to be an asset for those who need economy in their vehicle. It is contemporary in styling, fun to drive and comfortable for the majority of uses. I believe it will be another winner for Ford following in the footsteps of vehicles introduced earlier this year.