Pros Very good handling, ride and noise level refinement, build quality, well equipped with lots of features including excellent SYNC system
Cons Needs more ponies, in-cabin bins, and center arm rest.
Summary I special-ordered the SES hatch back in May and have had it now for just over two weeks.
I lived in Europe for many years so am familiar with the Fiesta and its competition. Ford have stayed true to the genre and haven't ruined the handling dynamics of this car during the "Americanizing" process.
The ride is very compliant without being at all mushy and the cabin is so quiet that you forget that you're in a small car. Handling is very good and cornering and driving through swoopy curves is very satisfying. There is a slight amount of body roll through hard corners, but never intrusive or alarming. It's surprising how well the car stays calm and composed through dips, bumps and rough roads, but still maintains its ride composure and very good handling characteristics.
The electrically power-assisted steering works very well although you're somewhat detached from direct feel of the front tires. However because the steering is so precise, this isn't an issue and the car nicely goes where you point it. I haven't pushed it really hard but handling seems very neutral except with maybe getting hints of understeer at the limits. The levels of assist automatically adapt based on your speed and this is so progressive and well controlled that you never really notice. The other point of note is how stable the car is. It's very resistant to side winds and passing/being passed by large vehicles. The so-called "active nibble" control does its job, again, without being intrusive.
I have the 5 speed manual transmission and the gearing -- especially 4th and 5th are obviously chosen to maximize fuel mileage. With only 120 ponies on-tap, you need to plan ahead and downshift for passing and long hills to stay in the power curve. Thankfully, small though it is, the 4-banger revs very sweetly and willingly, and only begins to get even slightly raspy near the redline. If you're used to driving a car with ocean-liner levels of torque (my previous car was an 07 Mustang GT) you'll need to adapt your driving style accordingly. In my mind it's a small price to pay for getting good mileage. I'm already getting 35.3mpg on my daily commute which is combined city/highway. I've hit 42mpg on a highway trip when making a conscious effort to stay (mostly!) within the speed limit.
The interior is nice. I have the optional heated leather seats which are very comfortable, but the seat controls (including driver height adjustment are manual. I'm tall, with long legs and arms, but with the seat all the way back, I have plenty of room and the steering wheel is both height and reach adjustable. Pity someone behind me though, they would suffer for legroom. But, with the passenger seat at a sensible position, legroom in the back is fine, even for me, albeit I wouldn't want to be back there for very long.
The dash styling is a matter of taste. I think that the "cellphone" inspired center controls are somewhat wacky looking, but everything is laid out logically and easy to figure out. Some of the controls might be hard to reach for drivers with arms shorter than mine. Much of the dash and trip is "soft feel" and the fit and finish above the expected small car standard. The interior has a neat LED lighting system that bathes the footwells, rings around the cupholders and in the cutout over the glove compartment in soft light. You can set the glow to be one of seven colors. Just one of a number of neat features that make this car stand above its Japanese competitors.
There is plenty of technology. My car has the "keyless" system with a pusbutton start/stop. You just need to have the fob in your pocket to open doors and activate everything. It works great. There are steering wheel controls for the speed control and for the excellent Ford/Microsoft SYNC system. SYNC has built-in handsfree Bluetooth with USB interfaces for your iPOD or Zune. Everything is voice activated. Say a command to find and instantly play a track, artist or album on your iPOD or Zune, or to select and dial a number from your cellphone. (The phonebook is automatically downloaded to SYNC). SYNC has tons of other features like vehicle health reports, 911-assist, turn-by-turn satnav (no map screen though), and other voice activated feature like pulling up traffic, news or weather from your favorite sources. Apparently there's even a Pandora app, but I haven't tried to figure that one out yet.
Body, paint, trim, fit, finish and build quality are excellent. The doors are not at all small car tinny -- they close with a solid and satisfying thunk. Hopefully the car will age well and live up to my early impressions and experience.
Downs? Mostly, it needs a bit more power. Ford are apparently working on beefier engines, but I'm waiting on FS Werks in Anaheim to release its turbo system similar to the one they developed for the Focus. I'd like more storage compartments, a center armrest, and the back seats (in the hatchback) to fold down flat.
Other that that -- I'm a happy camper.
Cons None when you factor the price.
Summary I have test driven this car at my local Ford store and I gotta tell ya if I was in the market for a fuel sipper this would be the only one I would consider. Fords quality has risen to levels unheard of for a domestic manufacturer. In fact last week CNBC reported JD Powers has given Ford the highest rating ever. Ford quality is now top 5 with Porsche and Lexus. Or you could spend $41,000 on a Volt and maybe just maybe make it to uncle Joes house for thanksgiving dinner with its 40 mile range. The smart money would be to spend $18,000 on the nicest most loaded (moonroof, leather,Sync) Ford Fiesta and invest the savings in Ford stock.
Pros Great acceleration - way beyond what I thought 120 hp could do, very good fuel economy, excellent steering and handling, and great exterior that always makes me smile when I look at it. No noticeable slowdown when passengers in car or AC blasting.
Cons If your cell phone isn't compatible with SYNC's phonebook feature, it is a complete drag to dial numbers with. Silly that USB has to be commanded through SYNC when there's an AUX button on the dash. I am not convinced SYNC is better than bluetooth.
Summary I downsized from a midsized, 140 hp sedan to this, but if drives like an upgrade. The car is way more zippy than my old car, it does 70 and 80 mph happily, as if I'm asking too little of it. Rather than make me feel LESS safe, the Fiesta makes me feel more safe: when I'm sandwiched in between two huge trucks or jersey barriers in narrow lanes, I feel like I have lots of room on either side of me, unlike when I drove a larger car. The acceleration is so responsive I feel like I can evade most dangerous situations, and the car feels strong and solid, so I don't feel like I'm going to be mashed to a pulp if I am hit. I do mostly highway driving, so those things matter most to me, and Fiesta was the perfect car for me. I still get 30 mpg when I blast the AC in bumper-to-bumper traffic, by the way.
Pros gas milage, handling, good looks, get all kinds of thumbs up...options and extras are amazing, real snappy get up and go at all speeds....love it!!
Cons car should be 3 inches longer for more rear seat leg room. rear seats should fold down flat, cup holders in front doors are in the wrong spot. makes it harder to get your feet out. had to pay extra for front seat arm rest, should be included.
Summary ive already said it all. love the car, its excellent for in town and long trips. i have never owned a car so fun to drive. im always looking for an excuse to go some place. its every bit as fun as the mini cooper!!its an ses automatic and now have 1500 miles on it. its yellow and loaded with all options. i am 74 years old and 6 feet tall. very roomy and comfortable. i have owned 77 other vehicles, caddies, volkswagons and everything in between but never one with so many extras and so much fun!!
Pros Mileage is great for a non-hybrid car, exterior is sporty, cute, and it comes in a lot of great colors
Cons Interior is space agey, ugly, and not very functional, however for the younger crowd it might be appealing.
Summary I test drove the Fiesta right after it came to the lot. I've been waiting for this car to come out since I heard about it's European debut.
Acceleration, handling, and ease of driving was all as expected. As all Fords I've driven (my family has owned pretty much nothing but Fords and Toyotas since the 80s) it drove really well and gave that effortless driving experience I've come to love in the Focus.
However, the interior was a turn off to me. My mom recently bought an 2010 Focus and I loved the functional yet stylish interior. The Fiesta's alien looking center unit in the dash and the confusing at best Sync system was a total turn off and deal breaker for me.
I really think that for the right person, this would be a great car for a young hipster type, but I found the interior too cramped and too space agey for me. I prefer the Focus by far over the Fiesta.
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