Today I am going to talk about the new 2011 Ford Fiesta SES. This is the new small car from Ford that packs in style and great economy. The Fiesta is a name that some may remember from years ago when Ford produced another small car with the same name that was not what many liked. I can recall the car as being a boxy and generally unattractive economy car.
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The new Fiesta is an all together different animal and is a vehicle that will appeal to users looking for style and fun as much as for a car that is economical. The Fiesta I am checking out is a loaded out SES hatchback in a nice maroon color called Candy Red Metallic. The car also has leather seats, a 1.6L TI-VCT Duratech DOHC I4 engine with a Power shift 6-speed automatic transmission.
My test vehicle was equipped with the comfort upgrade package including heated front seats, belt line chrome molding, keyless entry and keyless start and a few other items in the rapid spec 301A package that added $795 to the base price. Other features include Ford Sync, power windows, power locks, satellite radio, and 16-inch premium wheels. The total sticker price with options for the car as tested is $20,555 with a base price for the SES of $17,120. The lesser equipped versions of the Fiesta start as low as $13,320. I can’t believe you can get a new car for that price today; I have spent more than that customizing cars in the past.
We all notice the outside of a car and if that doesn’t grab you then you might not be interested no matter how well the car drives and what kind of fuel economy you get. The women that saw the Fiesta while I had it unanimously called it "cute" and all felt that car was attractive enough to own. I also found that most of the guys who saw the car thought it was cool enough to make it on their list of economy cars that are cool enough to own. The outside of the car has lots of style to it and Ford uses some interesting colors on the flanks of the Fiesta.
My Candy Red Metallic test car is one of the more mundane colors; you can get bright and flashy colors like lime and yellow as well if you want something different. The leather interior in my test car is called cashmere and black leather. Almost everyone that looked at the interior called it white, it is a very light color and the piping around the seats was black. The interior looks really cool, but the light color seats may not hold up to a life with kids. The two front seats on my tester had stains that appeared to be transfer from people who drove it before me wearing dark jeans. If you buy the Fiesta with the light leather, you will want to be very careful and if your dealer offers a stain protection package, you will definitely want to consider that.
Ford spent some time sculpting the interior of the car and it shows in the design. The dash is black with lots of silver trim and the light behind the buttons is orange. The steering wheel has the controls for the radio and cruise control. The voice activation for Sync on the Fiesta isn’t on the wheel as it has been on all the other Ford cars I have tested. The Sync voice button is on the blinker stalk, which is a bit awkward. I usually ended up accidentally turning on the bright lights trying to activate Sync. I would like to see the button brought onto the steering wheel where it would be easier to access. The information screen on the Fiesta is on the dash and has a rounded sun visor over the top of it. The screen is recessed enough that it is easy to see even in bright sunlight.
The bulk of the controls for the radio and entertainment system in the car are arranged in a cool "V" shape below the information screen. The buttons are large and easy to see in all light conditions. In the center of the control array is a large D-pad style knob that you can use for navigating the menus of the radio system. Below that knob are the volume and a couple other control knobs. To the right of that section is a row of buttons for directly accessing radio stations and other content.
The controls for the HVAC system are on the bottom of the center stack directly in front of the shifter. These controls are very easy to use and are intuitive. The button for locking and unlocking the doors is underneath the radio controls and takes some getting used to. After years of driving cars where the lock buttons are on the doors having it on the dash takes some getting used to. Overall, the interior is very comfortable for short and long drives.
The Fiesta is a four-door car and the amount of interior space the car has doesn’t seem to go with the petit dimensions of the outside of the car. I loaded up my wife and two kids in the car and headed off to do some school shopping in the Fiesta and we had plenty of room. My wife is what you call a power shopper so a month of her salary and five huge bags later we were back at the Fiesta packing everything away into the trunk, and surprisingly it all fit. This car will have plenty of room for the average family of four. The hatchback version of the Fiesta has a couple blind spots in the rear behind the passengers that take getting used to.
The car is small and light and the little 1.6L motor produces 120HP and 112 ft.-lb. of torque. All that really matters is that the motor offers plenty of pep for fun driving and to get you out into traffic without issue. The Ti-VCT 1.6L engine is quiet at highway cruising speed, but is rumble when accelerating. When cruising at 75mph on the highway, the car is turning almost 3000 rpm, which considering the car is a 6-speed auto seems high. The car still crushes anything else I have driven in fuel economy though. I racked up a lower fuel mileage rating according to the onboard computer of 28mpg in the city and cruising on the highway at 70-75mph netted me a downright impressive 38mpg. The Fiesta rides well for a lower priced car. It has surprisingly nimble handling that will make the car fun in the curves. I suspect the Fiesta would be tons of fun on an autocross track.
The small car market here in the US is packed with offerings, and to be honest most of them are ugly. I am looking at you Toyota Yaris. The Fiesta is an attractive car that is clearly aimed at the driver wanting a car that is economical in purchase price and in how much fuel it consumes. At the same time, the car is also clearly aimed at the driver looking for a vehicle with personality and a vehicle that they can outfit to their own personality. The 2011 Ford Fiesta has a wealth of accessories that the buyer can get directly from Ford including body kits and other items to make their Fiesta exactly what they want it to be.
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