2011 Ford Fiesta: An Unexpectedly Impressive Car

by Benjamin Jones on April 14, 2009

2011 Ford Fiesta

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Last week at the 2009 New York International Auto Show, I got the chance to drive the all new 2011 Ford Fiesta. The folks over at Ford have been able to generate a lot of buzz around the car with their innovative marketing campaign, so I was excited to get a chance to drive one at the show.

The Ford Fiesta, which is now on sale in Europe in a variety of packages, is based on the Mazda2, which should be coming to Canada fairly soon. No one knows what engine/trim packages will be available in the United States yet, but I was grateful to be able to take my test drive on the 1.6 liter, 5-speed manual Titanium edition.

My first impression of the Fiesta was that it had a very high level of fit and finish. Playing with it on the showroom floor I was surprised that I could fit in the back seat easily and that the rear hatch had lots of cargo room (for a car that size). None of the knobs or buttons felt cheap and nothing fell off in my hands while I was yanking at it. My only complaint is that the gauge cluster seemed a bit cramped. Unfortunately, this seems to be the style of the times, and I felt a bit better about the cluster after playing with the built-in fuel economy gauge.

Driving the car felt almost as good as playing with it on the showroom floor. Having driven a lot of different cars in the time that I have been working on EcoModder, I’ve developed a sort of sixth sense about what is and is not a good car. I’m sure many of you have experienced: sometimes you get behind the wheel of a car and think “wow, something’s missing.”

I’ve experienced this with many cars in the past, including many Fords, but when driving the new Ford Fiesta I felt very confident. The engine feels strong and smooth, and the manual transmission shifts precisely. Driving the car is comfortable but not so comfortable that you don’t feel connected to the road.

Steering is tight and responsive, and the vehicle handles turns well, even in midtown Manhattan traffic. To be honest, I didn’t get the longest test drive, but I didn’t feel any major flaws with the car. Even though we sat parked in traffic for half an hour and I made no effort to ecodrive the car, we still managed a bit under 30 mpg, which is a great number for the kind of driving I did. Though there are no official numbers, I’m told we can expect high 30s for the EPA rating on the 2011 model.

So, what are the flaws? Well, it’s a small, efficient car. While that might mean a lot of good things to most ecomodders, it also means that you won’t be able to haul much cargo and you will have a tough time cramming many people into the back seats. Also, it doesn’t have the power you are used to in most new cars. The Fiesta can get you up to speed, but you shouldn’t expect any self-induced whiplash.

In any case, I wish I could give a more thorough review, but I haven’t had as much time with the car as I would’ve liked. Nevertheless, the Ford Fiesta is now up there with the Scion iQ and Smart fortwo in terms of eco-friendly personal transportation.


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1 1337 April 15, 2009 at 6:43 am

How does it compare to your CRX in terms of driving dynamics?

2 Benjamin Jones April 15, 2009 at 7:38 am

Well, the CRX has a sport suspension, lowered ride heigh, and manual steering, so I still think it feel much more connected to the road, but it will also rattle your teeth out driving over a bumpy highway, so I wouldn’t clearly say one ride is better than another.

3 terry comeau November 12, 2009 at 4:17 pm

why not a good diesel engine here in canada i would buy it right away ford have trouble putting diesel but in europe lots of diesel even in ranger 4×4

4 Micheal January 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Ford Fiesta well get good reputation in Indian automotive market. Ford Fiesta have standard safety features, but fuel economy of cars is not impressive than other cars.

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