GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES, AGAIN
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Aug 1, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
There was a time when American car companies offered small cars in only one manner: cheap and stripped-down. That was then. With Ford’s introduction of the new Fiesta, however, that’s all changed. Finally, we get what Europe has had for years—a small car with big car creature comforts. Harvey Schwartz reports. By Harvey Schwartz Ford has finally seen the light by bringing to American consumers Europe’s number two best-selling car and Ford’s top-selling vehicle, the Fiesta. The all-new Fiesta offers American consumers a stylish, fuel-efficient alternative at a very reasonable price, starting at just $13,995.00, and returning segment-leading specs of 40mpg on the highway. Designed and engineered in England to be versatile, personal and adaptable, Fiesta delivers best-in-class safety, convenience and connectivity with segment-exclusive SYNC voice-activated communications system, and an expressive color palette and available body graphics. The all-new Fiesta offers 15 class-exclusive technologies, adding luxury and convenience usually found in vehicles at significantly higher prices. Fiesta is the next milestone under the ONE Ford plan to design and develop vehicles that meet the differing needs, wants and expectations of customers around the world. More than 500,000 new Fiestas have already been sold to customers in Europe and Asia. It is about time that we have the opportunity to own, drive and enjoy this small compact car—available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback.
Kinetic design imparts a sense of movement-while-standing-still harmonizing elements to reflect Ford identity, enabling Fiesta to project its own air of confidence, style and individuality. Fiesta targets a youthful ‘design progressive’ mind-set, a consumer group that values style and diversity as worthy assets. It is also a great young-family sedan with ample room for two adults up front and three young children in the rear seats, and storage room for shopping forays. With a rating of 28mpg/city and 40mpg/highway, it makes for a great commuter vehicle for any young person pursuing their first job. Up front, Fiesta sports the global Ford face, centering the Blue Oval badge on the grille over the signature inverted trapezoidal lower grille opening. These subtle curves engender familiarity across the portfolio, providing aesthetic linkage between the distinctive new Taurus, the fuel-efficient mid-size Fusion and the bold Fiesta. Adding two eyes to the Fiesta face are sweeping, elongated halogen headlamp clusters that frame and connect the hood to muscular, sculpted front fenders. The silhouette also shows a deep scallop in the doors, wedge shape with a rising chrome strip at the beltline. The power-remote/heated side mirrors are aerodynamically designed and the lower side extensions give the car a more aggressive stance from the side.
At the rear of the car many design elements merge, including the chamfered rear liftgate glass, the low roofline sweeping into a spoiler and dramatic taillamp clusters with honeycomb detailing mounted high in the five-door’s corners. Muscular rear quarter panels that are wrapped tightly, there is a black diffuser finisher at the bottom of the bumper, and dual exhaust pipes drawing the eyes to the 16in. alloy wheels/tires and Fiesta’s confident stance. The Fiesta design is further enhanced with a choice of nine vivid new colors, from bright magenta through lime squeeze to blue flame, Fiesta’s broad color pallet—more available colors than any other segment competitors—instills vibrant individuality. Our test Fiesta was painted yellow blaze metallic tri-coat and drew the attention of everyone when we parked the car. Fiesta is as dramatic on the inside as it on the outside. Boldly sculpted surfaces, contrasting colors and comfortable, soft-touch, supportive materials make the interior as individual as the owner. The dashboard center stack-focal point of the new Fiesta interior-was designed to feel as useful and familiar as the keypad on a mobile phone. You get first row supportive and comfortable bucket seats with a 60/40 split second-row seatback. Up level Fiesta’s also offer leather with sporty contrast accent color piping. Our test Fiesta came with a beefy, leather wrapped steering wheel with tilt/telescoping column for the perfect feel, reach and angle. Soft, sculpted surfaces and the centerstack layout provide the Fiesta with a sense of harmony. Intuitive switchgear placement, comfort zone seating and optional ambient lighting allow a driver to maximize the mood with seven complementary colors-switchable among three levels of intensity-for interior accent lighting. The instrument cluster is straight-ahead and easy to see and understand with a trip computer to let you know if you are getting the most mpg from your Fiesta. All dials, switches and buttons are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel.
Fiesta’s flowing sculpted hood covers a 1.6 liter DOHC I-4 engine with 120hp and 112lb.ft. of torque. Spirited performance and fuel-efficient economy are signature attributes with the Fiesta. The Fiesta’s 1.6 liter engine features Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing allowing the engine to be downsized for fuel economy while continuously optimizing camshaft phasing for throttle response, performance and flexibility. Big results from a small package are possible with several new technologies in this new global engine, including an advanced new front end accessory drive (FEAD) belt with stretchy dynamics to improve the engine’s thermal dynamics. The elasticity in this new drive belt eliminates the need for a belt tensioner and contributes to overall fuel economy. Fiesta features a smooth shifting five-speed manual transaxle with gear ratios selected to offer quick off-the-line performance and exceptional fuel economy, 39mpg/highway, 28mpg/city, for drivers who desire three pedals and a stick shift to maximize the fun driving experience. The independent MacPherson front setup includes specially tuned struts, bushings, dampers and stabilizer bars while at the rear a twist-beam axle with specially tuned bushings, dampers, coil springs and stabilizer bar keep Fiesta firmly planted and sure-footed on the road.
If changes gears is not for you, Ford offers and optional, American industry-exclusive PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission the combines the responsive performance and fuel economy of a manual transmission with the convenience of a traditional automatic in one advanced, dual dry-clutch package. Twin internal clutches keep the PowerShift in constant mesh, always optimizing for maximum responsiveness or fuel efficiency, depending on input received from your foot on the throttle. Securely guiding you on your chosen path for confidence-inspiring on-road dynamics is the Fiesta’s Electric Rack & Pinion Power Steering System (EPAS), which reduces complexity while saving weight and fuel. This advanced system is speed-sensitive-providing optimized assist based on speed, cornering forces and acceleration or deceleration. It is nicely weighted and gives a great feel for the road. EPAS also includes Pull-Drift Compensation to help Fiesta track true regardless of road crown or side wind conditions. In addition, active nibble control helps detect and compensate for tire balance irregularity. Both features –enabled by EPAS-are class exclusive. Safely slowing the all-new Fiesta down from speed are power-assisted, 10.2-inch vented steel discs clamped with single-piston calipers up front and 7.9-inch drums in the rear.
Keeping you in control while braking are standard ABS and AdvanceTrak Electronic Stability Control. Although braking was good for this light weight, 2,578 pound five-door hatchback, I would like to see steel disc brakes at all four corners for even more braking power. More than 50 percent of Fiesta’s welded body structure is made from high-strength steel, with ultra-strong boron steel used in several critical areas. This rigid body shell contributes to Fiesta’s confident road-holding, best-in-class occupant safety and quiet composure. Fiesta safety is enhanced by an array of features including dual-stage first-row airbags, a class-exclusive driver’s knee airbag, side airbags, and side curtain airbags. AdvanceTrak with ESC is standard, as mentioned above, along with front 3-point safety belts with seat belt tensioners, three 3-point safety belts in the rear, rear door child safety locks, Safety Canopy system, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door. Fiesta NVH control is taken to a new level of quiet for this segment, helped in part by a specially laminated, class-exclusive windshield that was chosen to help absorb and contain noise. Engine noise is subdued by a hood blanket, with enhanced door seals keeping wind noise minimized. Special padding behind the dashboard and foam baffles mounted inside the pillars keeps Fiesta quiet. Even the headliner material was specified for its sound-deadening qualities. Much of Fiesta’s sound-absorbent materials are comprised of recycled content, helping to conserve resources as it preserves peace and quiet. In addition, Fiesta’s excellent aerodynamics contributes to both NVH control and fuel efficiency.
Standard equipment in the all-new Fiesta SES, not mentioned above, include power windows/door locks with driver’s side one-touch up/down, cruise-control/audio system controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, audio input jack with USB, 6-speaker audio system with SIRIUS satellite radio, self-dimming rearview mirrors, dual vanity mirrors, dual cupholders, message center with trip computer, SYNC voice activated system with Bluetooth, push-button start/stop ignition, ambient lighting, remote keyless entry, heated front seats, security anti-theft alarm with engine immobilizer, variable speed front/rear wipers/washers, deep and wide glove box, front door storage slots with adjustable cup holders than can accommodate Red Bull cans and Big Gulps along with every container size in between, Ford’s industry-exclusive EasyFuel Capless fuel-filler system, dual map lamps and thick cut-pile carpeting with floor mats. For a SES trimmed base price of just $17,120.00 and a nicely loaded model for $18,215.00, the all-new Ford Fiesta is just what young American families, students, and young adults need behind the wheel of an excellent designed and constructed, fun-to-drive, well equipped, and safe compact sedan or five-door hatchback. © Words supra and pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information about Ford products, go to www.ford.com For more information about Harvey’s photography, click here
SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2011 Ford Focus SES Price: $17,120.00-base/$18215.00 as tested Engine: 1.6 liter Ti-VCT aluminum block/heads, DOHC, inline 4-cylinder Horsepower: 120 hp at 3,350rpm Torque: 112 lb.ft. at 5,000rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel drive Transmission: 5-speed manual/6-speed Power Shift automatic Front suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Twist beam, coil springs, gas-charged shocks Wheels/tires: 16X7 inch aluminum alloy wheels/195/50R16in. all-season radial tires Brakes: Front-10.2 inch vented rotors/single-piston calipers Rear: 7.9 inch drums/ABS, AdvanceTrac/electronic stability control Total length: 173.6 inches Total width: 67.8 inches Total height: 58 inches Curb weight: 2,578lbs. manual/2,628lbs. automatic EPA mileage: 28mpg/city/37mpg/highway with 5-speed manual 29mpg/city/40mpg/highway with 6-speed Power Shift automatic