• Sep 22, 2009


If you're looking for a practical, fuel efficient subcompact, you've got a few options, and the Honda Fit remains a top pick for many. The five-door hatchback packs plenty of volume, while also providing just enough punch to deliver smiles on the open road.

Doubtlessly jealously eying the Fit's success, Ford officials are counting down the months until they can finally provide some competition in the form of their 2011 Fiesta – but does it have the goods to knock the Fit from atop the subcompact mountain?

The crew at Inside Line wanted to answer that question and brought the Fit face-to-face against a European-spec Fiesta in a battle for B-Segment superiority. The Fit came in for praise for its masterfully engineered interior and massive cargo area, while the Fiesta was lauded for its superb driving dynamics and higher end materials. Which subcompact all-star came out on top in the battle of the (little) bulge? Head over to Inside Line to find out.




[Source: Inside Line | Image Source: Kevin Wing]


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  • 51 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Also I think this speaks to a larger problem with car reviews in general. Most magazines reviews every car like it's a sports car and they pick the winner based on which car is the track winner. I think a better test for these cars would have been a trip to the grocery store or home depot. Nobody who buys a subcompact is going to need to turn off the traction control for the track! Come on!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So basically it comes down to whether driving dynamics, which are bound to change with the Fiesta as it's not even US spec, are more important or car utility since size, style, and fuel economy are pretty much the same. Since the Fit comes with GPS and offers more utility I would gladly take it over the Fiesta. Not much use for that nimbleness (Euro spec anyway) when sitting in traffic or riding down the straight boring highway on a trip, which is what I would be using one of these cars for anyway. Regular unleaded is a nice plus as well....
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Fit should have won when you take into account resale, Honda-level reliability, and the fact that a Honda buyer doesn't have to wonder whether the company he bought the car from will be bankrupt in three years or not. Getting the Honda over the Ford gives you peace of mind.

      Also remember all the reliability issues with the first gen Focus when they brought it over here, even though there weren't any with the version built in Europe? I bet we'll see those popping up (again).
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ James:

        As much as Brian has to do with intellectual comments.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "did they hire 8 year olds with creons to design that interior?"

        Creons?! What's "Oedipus" got do with cars...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Looks like Ligor hired an "8 year old with creons" to submit the spelling for his post...
        • 5 Years Ago
        My test drives of the Fit put it at the bottom of the segment. I was unimpressed. I guess for small(er/ish) people they fit better.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "now last I check current Ford products have averaged higher than Honda in reliability and by the way, the Fiesta will not be a brnd new car since it's been on sale in EU for a while and they would have already figured out most 1st year issues u point too"


        Ligor, by the time the first-gen Focus went on sale in North America, it had already been on sale in Europe for almost eighteen months.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Always hating on Ford (shakes head). This is a head to head comparison test. They are not taking into account reliability, resale value, or whether the parent company is about to go bankrupt or not. I doubt you even read the article. With regards to reliability, it may have issues, or it may not, no one knows the future.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It isn't ugly. Now the current US Focus--THAT is an ugly pig of a car!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Fit should loose just based on that interior design
        did they hire 8 year olds with creons to design that interior? the exterior is almost just as UGLY btw

        now last I check current Ford products have averaged higher than Honda in reliability and by the way, the Fiesta will not be a brnd new car since it's been on sale in EU for a while and they would have already figured out most 1st year issues u point too
      • 5 Years Ago
      So the Ford drives better and looks much better (IMO). Sounds like a winner.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ahhhh... can we use another colour on the Fiesta? Did the contract with Benjamin Moore expire or something? This lime green makes me sick....
        • 5 Years Ago
        When Ford federalised the first-generation Focus in 2000 and built it in Mexico, the drop from the European model in terms of materials quality, trim, and fit & finish was staggering. However, it retained the European car's driving dynamics for the most part.

        I'm skeptical about comparisons such as these because whereas the Fiesta has largely come out ahead of the Jazz in UK tests, any major cost-cutting of the North American Fiesta (as was the case with the Focus) could spell a different story.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, too bad they tested the Euro-spec which will not be the one selling here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Both Jazz/Fit and Fiesta are cars are cars which were engineered to be a success worldwide in any given market. That's why there are so good.

        Regional vehicles such as the Cobalt or current US Focus would not come even close to being as good as these two.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To be fair, the Fiesta has the Euro suspension (which will likely be revised for the U.S.) and summer tires, the latter of which makes a huge difference on a car like this. It also has the Euro style, which will be changed. A better comparison would be the UK Fiesta vs the UK Jazz. Or, soon, the U.S. Fiesta vs the U.S. Fit. This current comparison is not ultimately useful.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am not dyslexic I promise

        Both Jazz/Fit and Fiesta are cars which were engineered to be successful worldwide - regardless of the market. That's why they are so good.

        Regional vehicles such as the Cobalt or current US Focus would not come even close.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Both are great, but i'd like to see the prices a little lower, even 1K would be great. At the price point the are in the article 18K for Fit and 19K for Fiesta, is a little to high for me. For 18K you can get Honda Civic LX with automatic tranny, which probably is the most popular Civic out there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        European mid-grade 95RON, use mid-grade
        • 5 Years Ago
        Check out the 26mpg for the Fiesta. And required premium fuel. 8-0
        • 5 Years Ago
        yup, i'm not so worried for the fit, but the soul and cube if ford prices the entry level cheap enough.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Fit is a decent car, but overpriced. The fact that Chevy (via Daewoo) offers such a low quality small car (Aveo) at an overinflated price, means Honda can say "Our car is better" and charge more for it.

      The MSRP of the Euro spec Focus runs 19K, but being build in Mexico and as long as the downgrade in production cost don't include cheap interior panels/materials then I think it will be fine.

      As for the driving dynamics, Ford later added an S2 option package that added the "European Spec" struts and springs to a standard US market Focus. Being that their is an Fiesta S (S for Sport) model in the line up, I expect if you want the sporty driving experience you'll opt for the Sport option package, which would include struts and sticker tires (still all season more than likely), along with alum wheels.

      As long as nicely optioned 3 door hatchback is available, I'll consider it. But I am almost dead set on a Abrath 500, which I hope Ford reconsiders the Fiesta ST that is shelved recently, otherwise my next car purchase will be a Fiat... But could be a Fiesta, are you listening Ford?



      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow...for all of the blind cheerleading the fan boys have done for this car, the Fit kept right up with it. Not a good showing for Ford's rollerskate.

      The Party will have the same sales number differentiation that we see between the Corolla/Civic/Focus and Camry/Accord/Fusion.

      The Ford will have pitiful numbers when compared to the clearly superior products.

      Ford missed the mark with the Fiesta...which is saying a lot because it isn't even on sale. It is not any better than the Fit, yet it is two years too late. Had Ford not dragged their feet with this car and gotten it here in a reasonable amount of time, then they would have a leg up. But do you think that Honda and Toyota are going to be sitting still? Heck no, they will make changes to their cars and the result will be the Ford will have sales numbers about 2/3 lower than Toyota and Honda. Add to that the GM entry, and Ford will soon realize that they spent a lot of money on this turd.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Fit has more power (when octane is taken into account), MUCH better versatility, better handling (with all seasons rather than grippy supper tires like the Party), and the interior of the fFit is MUCH more appealing than the Party.

        The only thing that the Fiesta has going for it is the (slightly) better driving dynamics...and let's face it, nobody buys these cracker boxes for their driving ability. Practicality is a much bigger consideration for buyers...and the Party doesn't have it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We have the current Fit (Sport model) and I think it holds up well but the Ford looks a little better. My one annoyance about the Fit is interior noise levels are a bit louder that I like and it sounds as if the Fiesta wins there too but in utility value, the Fit will hold an unreal amount of stuff and the back seat versatility and leg room is just ridiculously large for such a small car. The nice thing about this comparison is, unlike in the past where the was always the clear winner and now, it's a real contest. I'm happy to see it and real competition always breeds better quality for the consumer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if they will make Fiesta SVT hatch.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I drive an '09 Fit and wouldn't trade it for anything. 19,000 miles in 11 months and no complaints. It can fit your entire life in the back too. No it isn't fast, no it doesn't handle like a race car, (I can't believe they even skid padded these things...WHO THE HELL CARES? It is like skid padding a Ford F-150, they are missing the point entirely) - but it isn't supposed to do those things. It gets me where I am going and does so without complaint. And those who think the interior is ugly do not understand how easy it is to use everything in the car. Function over form - especially in something I drive everyday. Whenever I read comparos I always have to remind myself that people who write about cars for a living only seem to care about POWER and HANDLING and POWER and Sexy Curves and POWER. I agree with whoever said that these things should have been compared by driving them to the grocery store or to Lowe's or something. That rear Magic Seat is incredible and certainly won me over. And the Fit is big on the inside. I take three people to work once a week (bags and everything) and none of them ever complain about lack of room.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If and I say again If Ford will bring the hot hatch back here, they will trump the Fit.

        I can see it now the new Fiesta with four doors and a trunk.

        With the popularity of crossovers Americans do and will want hatchbacks now days.

        If the Fiesta comes here as a sedan only it will be a dud.

        The Flex would have been a hit if it had sliding doors like that of a minivan.

        The best thing Ford has done so far is the new Taurus.

        Don`t EEF up the new Fiesta Ford, or the next Focus.
        Get these two right along with the new Taurus and you will be kicking some A**!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I always remember the show with Tim Allen. His wife was driving a souped 50's Chevy Nomad. Very cool car but would you really want your wife driving your kids around in a 1950's car with 1950's brakes, steering and safety features? Just saying, sometimes coolest isn't always best.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly the Fiesta looks a lot better and more refreshing than the Fit. I never really liked the Fit. I see one or two a year. That's it. The interior of the Fiesta is just incredible. Using cell phone display and crafting as a template was undoubtedly intelligent. It will add to the ease of use and customer satisfaction/appreciation. I saw a green one here at Purdue. Larger than what you would think. It is a very nice looking car. Easy on the eyes, and puts a smile on your face.
      Derek
      • 5 Years Ago
      (Dear Inside Line: Please don't ever write an article with annoying statements like this again.)
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