The Ford Motor Company unveiled their 2011 Ford Fiesta at the Los Angeles Auto Show, giving small car fans something to look forward to on the domestic front. The Fiesta, a nameplate that some Americans might recall from decades ago (or more recently if they've traveled to Europe in the last few years, where the Fiesta has been a perennial hit), will go on sale next year.
Despite the fact that the Fiesta has been on sale in Europe and Asia for some time, the 2011 Fiesta for North America is a decidedly different car: the exterior is tweaked and Ford claims there's only a 60% carryover from the European model. Paradoxically, this leaves a lot of enthusiasts wondering (or, hoping) that the U.S. version of the car will be similar to the European model, one that was lauded for its driving character. At this point all signs point to the two being very similar.
Ford claims the new 2011 Fiesta will achieve 40 MPG on the highway, something that will make it a near hybrid competitor (or in some cases, even better than a hybrid). The engine is, not surprisingly, a four-cylinder 1.6 liter. But what is surprising is the six-speed automatic transmission (an expensive and fuel-saving move by Ford), something that helps the Fiesta get that high mileage rating.
The Fiesta will be available in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. This configuration makes sense for the U.S. market, where smaller three-door cars tend to underperform the rest of the market.
The interesting part about Ford's strategy for the Fiesta is that the little car will come packed with features. The car comes standard with a very nice LCD display and a push-button start mechanism. Ford' SYNC system (for audio and hands-free controls) is available, as is heated seats, heated side mirrors and a sunroof. That's more than most small cars offer.