2011 Fiesta New Car Test Drive
The all new 2011 Ford Fiesta resurrects a legacy nameplate in the Blue Oval family with a sparkling new sedan and hatchback that sport new technology inside and underneath. The result is a car that today's newly arrived urbanites should find perfectly fitted to their needs, wants and comforts.
Inside, the Fiesta breaks new ground in the mobile multimedia market with a voice activated infotainment system that augments the traditional AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with audio and podcasts streamed into the car's sound system via a Bluetooth link to a smart phone. Non voice audio controls and for creature comfort settings revert to basic knobs and buttons that are sized and arrayed for ease of use with minimal distraction from the driving task.
Comfortable seats have enough side and bottom bolsters to keep occupants properly positioned, but gingerly, without obstructing ingress and egress. Quality of interior materials is either on a par with or a tick or two above the expected standard for cars in the new Fiesta's class. Ford wants to boost this even further, too, with something not commonly found on cars in this size and price class: Leather seating surfaces and heated front seats are optional on the top of the line sedan and hatchback.
Underneath, the Fiesta introduces a new transmission technology as an option to the Fiesta's standard, 5 speed manual gearbox. This is a 6 speed, twin clutch, automated manual that operates like an automatic but with the fuel economy of a manual transmission. This offers what approaches the best of both worlds for people who like driving but live a city centered life: not having to deal with a clutch pedal but enjoying authentic manual transmission gear changes and the traditionally better fuel economy of a row your own gearbox. Evidence of this latter benefit is the EPA estimated, city/highway rating of 30/40 miles per gallon for the 6 speed against 29/38 mpg for the 5 speed. Normally, an automatic would come up two or more mpg short of a manual.
The new Fiesta feels right at home running around town and on weekend errands. It slips conveniently into fleeting gaps in stop and go urban traffic and into space limited parking slots. Its 120 horsepower, 1.6 liter engine will take the daily commute in stride. Ride is smooth. Wind and road noise is decently muted. Steering feel is certain. Corners taken at responsible speeds reveal little body roll. This means it'll also handle quite well a relaxed Sunday drive to the coast or to a family gathering.
The two body styles make distinct statements. The sedan is an interesting combination of an American style econobox with softened edges and a high rear deck (trunk lid). The hatchback presents a more satisfying, Euro like profile, with nicely wedged side character lines and an almost sensuously rounded posterior. Choice is in the eye of the beholder, but both are pleasant and more than competitive in today's design conscious new car market.
Manufacturer's suggested retail price of $13,320 for the base 4 door sedan and $17,120 for the top level, 5 door hatchback make the 2011 Fiesta competitive in the financing side as well.
The 2011 Ford Fiesta comes as four door sedan or five door hatchback. All have the same 120 horsepower, 1.6-liter, four cylinder engine. The standard transmission is a 5 speed manual. Optional on everything but the base sedan is a 6 speed, twin clutch, electrically shifted, automated manual ($1,070).
The Fiesta S sedan ($13,320) comes standard with air conditioning; cloth upholstery; 60/40 split fold down rear seatback; four speaker, 40 watt AM/FM stereo with audio input jack; power door locks and outside mirrors; carpeted front floor mats; rear seat heat ducts; cloth door panel trim. Steel wheels with a six spoke hubcap wear 185/65R15 tires. An option package adds a CD/MP3 player, remote keyless entry, auto lock doors ($495).
Fiesta SE ($14,320) comes with the Fiesta S option package content plus upgraded upholstery; metallic painted interior trim accents; power windows; trip computer; and 195/60R15 tires on aluminum alloy wheels. Option packages include SYNC entertainment center with six speakers and 80 watts, redundant audio controls on the steering wheel and USB equipped center console ($665), and a sport appearance group ($815) that includes painted aluminum wheels, cruise control and deck lid spoiler.
Fiesta SEL ($16,320) has everything that was standard and optional on the S and the SE plus rear seat floor mats; seven color ambient lighting; a second, rear seat auxiliary power point; auto dim rearview mirror; SIRIUS satellite radio; and leather wrapped steering wheel. Fiesta SEL comes with 195/50R16 tires on aluminum alloy wheels. One upgrade option group is offered, with chrome external trim, heated front seats, perimeter alarm and keyless door unlock/pushbutton start/stop ($795).
The Fiesta hatchback has two trim levels, the SE ($15,120) and the SES ($17,120). Standard equipment on the SE hatchback tracks the SE sedan's, as do the available option groupings' content, save for the sport appearance group ($575) because the hatchback comes standard with a spoiler. Fiesta SES is equipped similarly to SEL.
Stand alone options for the SE sedan and hatchback include a power moonroof ($695); SIRIUS satellite radio coupled with seven color ambient lighting ($370); carpeted rear floor mats ($35); and heated front seats and outside mirrors ($195). The Super Fuel Economy Package ($795) comprises cruise control, partial grille blockers, side air deflectors, underbody shields and 195/60R15 T-rated (low rolling resistance) tires. (Ford hasn't released official estimates for expected fuel economy increases, but independent studies suggest T-rated tires can cut fuel use by between 1.5 percent and 4.5 percent.)
Options for SEL and SES include leather seating trim ($715), power moonroof and special exterior paints. Four graphic body trims ($150). The SEL can be tricked out with a ground effect lower body kit ($700), and a more aggressive, Euro style rear spoiler can be added to the SES ($295).
Safety equipment that comes standard includes seven airbags, with dual stage frontal, front seat side impact, side curtain and driver knee; antilock brakes; electronic stability control; tire pressure monitoring system; and child safety seat anchors (LATCH).