• Apr 3, 2009
Ford Fiesta in NYC – Click above for high-res image gallery

Those Fiesta Movement "agents" who delivered winning videos to Ford? Envy them, because the cars they're being handed the keys to for the next six months are no joke. Yesterday morning, Ford tossed us a set of those keys (well, it was a key fob, actually) to a reactor-leak green Ford Fiesta. We only had an hour to play with the car, but by the end of it, we were wishing we had busted out the camcorder for the contest.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.

At first blush, at least, the Ford Fiesta is good. Like, really good. Its 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is a gutsy little motor with plenty of low-end launch power. It's peachy in urban duty, and on the few occasions when we got to briefly stretch its legs between stoplights, it demonstrated that it will fit right into the U.S. market. There's no worries about adequate merging speed or anything like that here. This much power in such a small car is nothing to sneeze at. In the case of our loaner, those ponies were herded to the front wheels through a five-speed manual that was very easy – and enjoyable – to row. The engine's not an annoying buzz box, either; it emits a little kitten snarl when you give it the boot.



Pray that Ford doesn't neuter this car's road feel for U.S. consumption – the Fiesta strikes a nice balance between firmness and comfort. You feel the potholes and other miserable urban imperfections, for sure, but you're also well-connected to the road beneath you. Steering response and overall feedback are good, as it's not too over-assisted in that department. The Fiesta is a car for you guys (and gals) who enjoy hitting the road on Sunday mornings just for fun, but it's accessible enough that "car-as-appliance" drivers will still find it a smile generator when they go pick up the dry cleaning. We'd rate the driving experience as a happy medium between the MINI Cooper's sporting demeanor and the 1.6-liter Nissan Versa's cushy, neo-1970s approach. It felt right at home darting in and out of a sea of midtown traffic, and the thing is probably a blast when you get it out of the city and onto roads that are actually fun to drive.



The Fiesta's packaging is also very tidy. The bodywork is eye-catchingly sculpted, with big eyes and a big mouth up front that adds a lot of character. This kind of styling is a balancing act – go too far and you're into the dark end of Peugeot territory, but Ford nails it. The Fiesta is interesting from every angle. Cargo space behind the hatch's back seat is about what you'd expect, which is to say there's enough room for all of your groceries, and you can always flip the second row down if you need more room.



We had no trouble finding a comfortable driving position quickly. The seats manually adjust and the steering column tilts and telescopes. Primary instruments are eminently readable, the dark upper on the instrument panel is soft-touch material and the interior plastics are nice. It's a clean, modern cabin and the snazzy-looking center stack is, well, snazzy-looking. The button arrangement is nicely-organized, and the high-mounted multifunction info screen is very legible.



Unfortunately, our limited time behind the wheel, we didn't get to mess with the other features all that much. When we did, we ran into a little trouble. We couldn't get the radio tuner to work, for example. Either we are idiots (a completely plausible explanation) or this is a Euro-spec thing that was getting lost in translation. With more time, we'd have perused the manual (there was one in the glove box) for guidance and figured it out. There were no CDs around, so we didn't get to try the audio system that way, either. A basic AUX jack in the console between the front seats ensures rudimentary iPod happiness. The climate controls, which were used, are completely straightforward.



We drove the Fiesta right through Times Square. People stared. Past Madison Square Garden? More staring. (The paint color may have had something to do with this.) Stoplights became impromptu Q&A sessions as drivers (a lot of cabbies were definitely feeling the Fiesta) asked the usual barrage of questions. The same thing happened when we stopped to take some photos farther downtown, as people walking their dogs or walking to work took an interest. What is it? How much is it? (We're hoping for a starting price in the low teens.) What's the mileage? (Figure well over 30 mpg.) The public wanted to know.

Now, will that public turn out in droves to buy the Fiesta when it arrives next year? We'll have to wait and see. Obviously, the state of the economy plays a part in that decision-making process. Right now, no one's buying much of anything, and understandably so. If things spruce up on the economic front, there's no reason to believe the Fiesta will be anything short of a hit for Ford.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 101 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Love the car, but I don't love the interior. It looks cheap and silly. If I wanted a cheap, silly interior I'd get a MINI. Class it up and keep it simple. That's why I wish this was being brought over as a Mazda2. There's still time to fix it.

      http://p.webwombat.com.au/motoring/images/mazda2-5-big.jpg
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car is spectacular. I love it! So long Cobalt, Hello Fiesta! :D

      We got any kind of price for this beauty? I need to start saving.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, it looks like the Fit will finally get some real comp.

      If they're going to make this work their ad campaign better be funkier than a four year old yoga mat. Know what a'mean? The Fit and the Soul (already?!?) has got street cred.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Ford could have gotten this out here at the same time Europe got it, they would have stolen a sale from Honda. My old '01 ZX3 was on its last legs and really needed replacement, and with no hatch in the Ford lineup at all right now, I had to look elsewhere and ended up with a Fit, which I love so far. But this definitely would have been at the top of my list if it had been out when I needed a car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ... and it took Honda almost six years to debut the Jazz/Fit in North America after it was on sale everywhere else. Until North America adopts the UNECE standard, you can pretty much forget simultaneous debuts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think a lot of people are thinking the way you are about this (Same time Europe got it). Smart move on the FIt by the way. It seems like a great car. I'm gonna hold out awhile longer and wait for this I think.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really like this one. Do not know how it will be next to my Ferraris and my Hummer, though.

      Guess my wife to be can take otherwise:-)


      Melvin Durable
      melvindurable@gmail.com
        • 5 Years Ago
        He forgot to mention that the garage he speaks of is in Gran Turismo, not real life.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would rather have seen Ford put a 100HP engine in this car. I'm afraid at 120HP it'll end up as a car that gives Civic mpg at a Civic price but with less space inside.

      The interior looks incredibly cheap. I'm baffled as to how this hard, cheap, spray-painted polystrene is "nice" while other cheap polysytrene (sometimes spray-painted or faced) in other cars is "hard to the touch junk". And the silver color over-emphasizes the rings around the instrument cluster and makes it look garish. The upper center stack is also done no favors by being silver, the shape of it is pretty pleasing, but the silver makes it too noticeable. I also find the doors, with 3 colors and kinds of plastic competing with each other to be unnecessarily ugly.

      It's tough to argue with the outside though. I guess the back looks a little more like a Kia than I'd like, but that's not really Ford's fault. They picked an attractive design, and there just happens to be some other cars that look like it from the back.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i guess ur about the only person that doesnt like it.we get it daaaaaaa
        • 5 Years Ago
        For the record, in case anyone wants to complain. I find the spray-painted sliver and with red displays portion of the interior of the Beat to be very cheap-looking too (like the instrument cluster). So it's not just a brand thing. I'd just rather see these dash accents in black (which would be darker than the grey of the dash) instead of silver. Then the colors wouldn't draw attention to the huge swath of plastic.

        Also, on the Fiesta again, the up-facing headlamp controls on the left side of the dash are stupid and ugly. Are they trying to make them easily viewable from standing outside the driver's window?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The interior pics don't do the car justice. It's far better in person, with good quality plastics throughout, and the driving position is excellent. My only gripe was the boot space - the lower roofline hinders entry for large items unlike the old Fiesta.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Huh, must be a taste thing. I thought it looked like a relatively nice interpretation of the techo-savvy interior. I.e., it's for the same market as the Fit, but instead of being over the top with a techno whiz-bang interior, it came out looking tasteful. To each their own.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really like this effort by Ford and will give it serious consideration when it arrives. My only question is what are they going to leave off/add on to ruin it for me. Ford, don't add 3 bar grille during your "US Translation". Does anyone really think the US version will come with items that UK get like integrated defrost in front windshield and power folding side mirrors. This car has the first key fob from Ford that does not make me think I have gone back to the 80's. Oh, and I actually like the Squeeze green paint.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The fiesta is a very iconic car. it was chase by baddies in a corvette, it joined the Royal Army, and its also a secret agent working together with Bond.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hi. My parents ar expecting delivery of that exact car, and that exact colour, in around 2 weeks. The colour's called squeeze, not "reactor leak green" btw. nd the car you drove dosn't look U.K spec, there's no white or grey plastics in the options list.
      :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still remember an american friend's first reaction when I picked him up at the airport in Athens,Greece where I live: "Boy, your cars are small!". Having visited the States myself, his comment didn't strike me as odd. But I myself had never solved the puzzle inside my head: Why would you need a "small block" V8 on a 15 feet long car just to go shopping downtown? Maybe, with brands like Fiat (with the 500), Mini, Smart (bleh!) and this cute Ford - which is rapidly becoming a best seller around here, you lads on the other side of the Atlantic will have the chance to grasp the meaning of convenience and gain some fuel economy in the process :p Not to mention this little cheap Fiesta is light years away in terms of technology compared to your common F-150. Hail to the european small car invasion of the US!

      ...just when you thought spring leaves would haunt the States for ever!
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Loved it, and can't wait to kick some Fit ass in the comparos ;)
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