• Jun 26, 2009
2010 Ford Fiesta (Euro-Spec) – Click above for high-res gallery

For longer than we can remember, words like 'cheap', 'unattractive' and 'lousy' were used to describe America's domestic offerings in the compact car segment. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have never figured out how to make money with small cars, so the domestic trio seeming has rarely put forth the effort to create competitive compact products. And although FoMoCo had a solid player in 2000 with the introduction of the Focus, when Ford of Europe received the thoroughly revised model in 2005, customers in the States got the short end of the stick. Until now.

While the 2011 Ford Fiesta isn't the Euro-Spec Focus that we've long-admired from abroad, this compact five-door offers a compelling list of kit in a tidy package. Ford is billing it as a great looking, high-quality vehicle that just happens to inhabit a small footprint. So the Blue Oval has imbued the Fiesta with the same technology and amenities found in other larger, more expensive offerings and added a healthy dose of nippy handling and top-notch fuel economy to boot. But those attributes come at a cost that – historically – Americans haven't been willing to pay for. So is the Fiesta worth your time and hard-earned coin? It's time to find out.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.


Our "Squeeze" Fiesta Titanium tester came equipped with a raft of formerly upmarket features including leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity, rain-sensing wipers and auto climate control. Optioned out, it carried a UK market price tag of £16,000. That's close to $26,000 in U.S. dollars, but the UK total includes a hefty double-digit value added tax, and, as we're all well aware, direct currency conversions have little bearing on final market price.



The exterior styling of the Fiesta (think of it as "Kinetic 2.0") will likely serve as the template for future Fords both at home and abroad, with sleek proportions, aggressive sheetmetal and sharp head- and tail-lamps that make the Fiesta look more expensive than its sticker would imply. Even without its neon green hue, the Fiesta is a head-turner, and although its aquatic headlights and front fascia make it appear larger in photographs, the profile embraces its chic smallness in a way few compact cars can. Ford designers have struck a nice balance of form and function, as the tight packaging of the exterior miraculously allows for a voluminous interior.



Entering the Fiesta, the first thing that strikes you is the massive amount of space inside. There's plenty of head room, and two plus-sized guys can sit up front without rubbing shoulders. Also evident after only a few moments is the fact that Ford didn't go cheap on materials.

Comfortable leather seats in a B-segment hatchback? That's progressive. And Ford has also passed on the standard issue hard plastic dash in favor of rich-feeling, soft-touch materials. The steering wheel is thick and meaty, with an appealing leather wrap and redundant controls for cruise control and stereo functions. Ford even opted to go with a push button start as a means for inciting ignition, officially killing off any exclusivity associated with keyless start.



On the tech front, our top-level tester had an stellar sound system complete with a four-inch LED screen at the center of the dash. The display's bright red text was easy to read any time of day and the layout easy to follow. The Titanium Fiesta also came equipped with Bluetooth and voice control, plus auxiliary and USB inputs for your MP3 player of choice, along with power folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals.

Since the Fiesta is, after all, a hatchback, we expected it to have decent cargo-hauling capability. With folding rear seats and ample trunk space, it didn't disappoint. We were able to jam a set of golf clubs in back without folding down the seats, though we wouldn't recommend shoe-horning your expensive sticks if you actually value them (since our clubs don't like us, we have no regard for them). We were also able to fit groceries for a family of five without dropping the rear seats flat.



Since we've become accustomed to cheap, unappealing interiors in small cars, it's hard to complain about anything inside the surprising plush Fiesta. Our lone gripe is the Euro-Spec tester didn't have a center arm rest. That's something that could very well be rectified in the U.S. model, so we still have hope that our right arm will have a place to reside once the Fiesta comes Stateside.

Ford did a commendable job of making the Fiesta's interior a reasonable place to spend time, but we were just as interested to see how the little hatch performed on the open road. Ford has worked hard to garner a reputation in Europe for chassis tuning, and the new Fiesta is further proof Ford's labors were not in vain. It doesn't have Mini-like handling, but the Euro-Spec Fiesta is the closest Detroit has ever come. Here's hoping U.S. engineers don't mess it up.

The Fiesta's light weight and direct steering makes you long for more twists, and we were lucky enough to hit a stretch of barren backroads north of Detroit. The 1.6-liter Duratec didn't overpower, but the challenge of holding the correct gear while properly negotiating all the dips, turns and straights was a blast. We liked it so much, in fact, that we went back for seconds and again for thirds a few hours later.



And while 120 horsepower isn't exactly track material, it more than held its own around town. The Fiesta exhibits very strong (relative to its meager power numbers) acceleration on takeoff, and getting to 60 mph feels faster than Ford's claim of a tick under ten seconds. The five-speed manual gearbox provided well-gated shifts, but the throws were a bit long for our tastes. Once on the freeway, the little 1.6-liter needs to hover around 4,000 RPM to cruise at 75 mph. It's a bit loud and buzzy on the freeway, but then again, we averaged a little over 38 mpg combined during a long weekend. That's impressive, even if we spent about 70% of our time on the freeway. We enjoyed driving the Fiesta so much that we found an excuse to drive 50 miles over to Ford's Dearborn, MI headquarters for extra pictures.

After a few days behind the wheel of the Euro-spec Fiesta, we're becoming bullish about the future of the small car in the U.S. – at least the ones donning a Blue Oval badge. The Fiesta is attractive, fun to drive, and it has the tech-savvy features the Fiesta's core demographic are after. And when you consider the Fiesta promises to deliver all that with fuel economy surpassing just about every (non-hybrid) on the market for a price tag of around $15-$20k, there's good reason to be excited. The only downside to the Fiesta is the U.S. market model won't be available for sale here until the spring of 2010. Haven't we waited long enough for a good small car from a domestic automaker?



Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.


2010 Ford Fiesta (Euro-spec)
Performance Brakes/Tires/Wheels
Engine 1.6-liter inline four Front Brakes 10.6-inch ventilated discs (ABS)
Configuration/Valvetrain DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder Rear Brakes 7.87-inch drum
Max Horsepower @ RPM 118 hp @ 6,000 RPM Wheels (front) 15x6-inches
Max Torque @ RPM 112 lb-ft @ 4.050 RPM Wheels (rear) 15x6-inches
Drive Type front-wheel drive Tires (front) 195/60 R15
Transmission Five-speed manual Tires (rear) 195/60 R15
Fuel Injection EFI
Compression Ratio 11:1 Exterior Dimensions
Recommended Fuel 87 octane Length 156 inches
Fuel Capacity 11.9 gallons Width 67.8 inches
EPA Fuel Economy (city/hwy) Unavailable Height 53.3 inches
0-60 mph time (MFR est.) 9.9 seconds Wheelbase 98 inches
Top Speed 120 mph Curb Weight 2,445 pounds
Suspension/Steering Interior Dimensions
Front MacPherson, with anti-roll bar Maximum Seating 5
Rear Twist Beam Luggage Capacity 9.9 cu-ft
Steering Electric Power Assist Head Room (Front/Rear) 39.02/37.53 inches
Turns Lock-to-Lock 2.6 Shoulder Room (Front/Rear) 53.15/51.06 inches
Turning Circle (feet) 33.5 Leg Room (Front/Rear) 43.74/32.4


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 111 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      "What does this car offer thats not already offered in a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris?"

      WTF are you talking about? What else do you WANT it to offer? Gold plated steering wheel? Built-in ant form? Room for 8? It's a B sized car offering the same general features as it's competitors and THEN some. Also, it's actually fun to drive. Compared to the Yaris it's a gem and it's on par or slightly better than the Fit. And in case you hadn't noticed, Ford is already matching the build quality and reliability of Toyota and Honda.

      Get your fingers out of your ears and your head out of... the sand. Seriously. Worst post ever. Learn to think before you type.
      • 5 Years Ago
      OK - agreed... this car is probably one of the best drives I've had for a small car.

      But calling the interior upscale is an overstatement. It does have soft plastic dash, which is really nice, but the quality is decidedly cheap and paint job for blue coloured dash is far from perfect. The face of the speedometer look like a toy and it seems like you can almost rip the whole thing out of its place. The demo car we drove in even had the electric power window button came out its socket. Looks great on photos guys, the quality is not there.....

      Can't fault the drive and the exterior though.... but interior.... the feel just isn't there...
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeh, those lights are superb
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lets see it here soon on the market with minimal changes from the Euro model.

      I saw one in he flesh in Portland Oregon one week ago, must have been a test model...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thats a great looking car and I can't wait to take one for a drive.
      The only minor qualm I have is why are the rear seat backs painted metal with such an upscale interior? I would have thought they would at least have some fabric covering them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, calling a Cobalt's interior ugly is staunchly defending it.

        Actually, while I was in the UK, I took a great interest in the cars there. I wrote up a post about it on here, perhaps you can find it. I don't agree with your comment that it isn't well built and don't completely agree with your comment it is a decent product either. It sure doesn't fall in the top half of its segment (unlike what this appears to do), I'll say that. This Fiesta shown here would run rings around every Cobalt except the SS in most ways and it'll top the SS in a lot of ways too.

        As to the stuff about my weight and running into you, I'll be less subtle this time. I was calling you a nasty person. You go on to ascribe many characteristics to me without knowing a thing about them. They are invariably negative, which makes you kind of an ass. You then go on to explain how I shouldn't even bother to hold an opinion because you're an expert on this stuff and you'll be doing the deciding around here.

        How about you have your opinion and I have mine and you stop telling me I can't have one?
        • 5 Years Ago
        For a small car I believe it is upscale; nothing in this segment comes close. Its no A8 but it is nice.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I never mess with my HVAC, but it's automatic. This is why it is lowest down, but it still doesn't need to be hidden. Other makers figured out how to not hide it.

        I don't think we can count on these cars having automatic climate control. The car shown is loaded up with options. You can see in the pic I sent that it has keyless start too, and that's clear optional as it has an ugly plug over where the ignition key normally goes (which isn't visible from the driver's position). I don't think you can assume that the base (i.e high volume) model will have options like automatic climate control. This isn't "your 3", it's an economy car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't see how one calls an interior made of painted hard plastic with a screechingly cheap 500 in 1 function red display in the center (and get ready for it to dim out over time like Audi's red displays) can be considered upscale.

        It appears functional, it appears durable, but it doesn't appear to be upscale.

        But that having been said, I bet the seats are covered somehow, they'd look like hell folded down.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Yes, calling a Cobalt's interior ugly is staunchly defending it."

        You're equating the Coablt to the Fiesta. Why, I'm not exactly sure. There's no comparison in build quality, chassis dynamics (the Delta was never top of its segment) and both cars are in different market segments in any case.

        "Actually, while I was in the UK, I took a great interest in the cars there. I wrote up a post about it on here, perhaps you can find it. I don't agree with your comment that it isn't well built and don't completely agree with your comment it is a decent product either. It sure doesn't fall in the top half of its segment (unlike what this appears to do), I'll say that. This Fiesta shown here would run rings around every Cobalt except the SS in most ways and it'll top the SS in a lot of ways too."

        Interesting, given that many Ohioans don't even think it's that well built. And the ones I've been in aren't what I would expect from any modern car in its class segment.

        "As to the stuff about my weight and running into you, I'll be less subtle this time. I was calling you a nasty person. You go on to ascribe many characteristics to me without knowing a thing about them. They are invariably negative, which makes you kind of an ass. You then go on to explain how I shouldn't even bother to hold an opinion because you're an expert on this stuff and you'll be doing the deciding around here."

        It's all in your mind. Nasty person? Please, grow some bollocks. You see, I'm not interested in any aspect of your personality. But the big difference between people here and people where you are is that if we see someone barking on about something they haven't got the first clue about or any experience of, it's very much frowned upon. So, your comments in response to mine about the Fiestas ergonomics - which I have experience of and you do not - would annoy people with actual experience here. Understand what I mean?

        "How about you have your opinion and I have mine and you stop telling me I can't have one?"

        Absolutely - but opinions based on experience will always carry more weight than those from nosing through pretty pictures.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Ergonomically well placed means putting the heater controls at your knees and you'd better be in an even numbered gear for easier access? Wow.

        There are a lot better examples of ergonomic out there already. Even the Cobalt is more ergonomic (despite being ugly) and the Mazda 3 from Ford itself also shows a better way.

        Seriously, there are far more ergonomic setups than this:

        http://www.autoblog.com/photos/review-2010-ford-fiesta-euro-spec/2108787/
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bloke, I already went to your country last fall. I was great, everyone seemed very nice, so I guess I know I didn't run into you.

        I apologize for spoiling your "you don't know what you are talking about, you probably haven't even seen the cars in the segment" attack. Perhaps you could instead switch to ill-informed comments about my weight and appearance instead?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a Ford thing, just like the stupid use key to open bonnet solution.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LS2LS7:

        don't bother arguing with Bloke. for whatever reason he has a North American-size chip on his shoulder. Best let him prattle on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, another missing phrase, I'm doing an awful today. It was supposed to say "As to the Cobalt, I don't agree with your comment that it isn't particularly well built..." I left the "As to the Cobalt" part out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LS2LS7 - I test drove a Zetec S trim new Fiesta shortly before Christmas. The quality of interior plastics was definitely up there with the best in the segment (not that the previous Fiesta's were particularly poor) and ergonomically well-placed. The switchgear illumination seemed fine to me and attractive enough.

        Overall I very much enjoyed driving it. My only complaint was the height of the boot opening with the tailgate up because of that sloping rear roofline; didn't seem as practical as the previous-generation model.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All cars have hard plastic in their interiors. It's about ratios of hard to soft. Even top players like the Honda Fit have hard plastic dashboards. This one manages to provide a soft cushy dash for the same price along with cool features like Sync. Granted the red display is not my favorite, but other than that it breaks new ground for a domestic (or any) small car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      But would I be willing to pay more than I would for a competing Kia / Hyundai model?

      Yes, I believe I would.
      • 5 Years Ago
      review the base model. thats where the sales will come from. its a huge assumption that all feistas will be as good as the driver made this sound.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly? You think that the mere existence of competition should keep Ford from producing this car? I'm seriously dumbfounded by your logic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So... is there not an American Coupe version then? In All i see is 4 doors when I go looking up American Fiesta stuff, and that makes me sad.
        • 5 Years Ago
        as far as i know, the 3 door is not yet confirmed for the US
      • 5 Years Ago
      watch the ford dealers charge over sticker.the big3 dealer networks are the biggest reason they they are going to fail, they killed a fantactic retro t bird with 10 thousand added to the sticker dealers kill the brand totally-- as one old dealer owner once said about KEEPING his customers--YOU CAN SHAVE A SHEEP EVERY YEAR BUT YOU CAN ONLY SKIN IT ONCE
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just saw one on the street in San Diego just yesterday. Green just like the pics here. It's actually better looking in person than the picts, which is surprising.

      I was rather impressed, which is a new feeling for me about a Ford product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The reason we currently have the American Focus rather than the European Focus(sold here as the Mazda3 and Volvo S40) is two-fold; Americans weren't ways willing to pay for high quality small cars and the fact that at the time Ford was spead so thinly that its operations were doing as they pleased, but when it came to the(2005) Focus replacement, there rose a problem. The new upgrades were appropriate for the Euro-Focus, but the North American Focus was meant to be an entry level car, meaning the new car would have been more expensive than the Fusion. Now those who have clamnmored for the Euro-Fords, stop your quibbling and put your money where your mouth has always been.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Once on the freeway, the little 1.6-liter needs to hover around 4,000 RPM to cruise at 75 mph. It's a bit loud and buzzy on the freeway.."

      Deal breaker! And 38 MPG does not make that all better. Not with 118 HP/112 lb-ft on tap. Put in a taller top gear or a 6-speed. I'd pay for the difference.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why do you need a taller gear? How fast do you intend to drive? It's an economy car with good road manners, not a hot hatch. Maybe Ford with release a Fiesta RS in a year or two. That might be more what you're looking for.
        • 5 Years Ago
        taller gear would be great

        i do not understand why companies do this, every manual trans car should have a cruising gear that puts 80 mph at 2000 rpm

        gears 1-3 can be tuned for performance, everything above that should be fuel economy gear
        • 5 Years Ago
        See I'm okay with 1-4 being geared for acceleration. But yeah, gimmie a tall 5th (or 6th) for open road cruising. And gear it out to about 3k RPM @ 80-90 MPH, that's okay by me. We've gotten carried away with the whole close ratio thing. I shift my current ride 1-2-4-6 90% of the time these days. And I'm in 6th by 40-45 MPH and still keeping right up with traffic.

        Low RPMs => comfort and economy in my book. I don't mind having to stir the gearbox to pass.

        "Why do you need a taller gear? How fast do you intend to drive?"

        'round here the prevailing speeds on the Interstates are 70-80 MPH. I see some states have given up pretending and set the legal limits that high. I fully expect any serious automobile sold these days to be able to cruise at those speeds. Anything else is targeted exclusively at the urban, in-town crowd.

        This is especially true in a car pushing ~120 HP across a measly 2400 lbs.
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