Last year, we had the opportunity to do a full review on the 2011 Ford Fiesta. It was fresh to the market and a fresh new design for Ford, bringing their European hit to America. A year later, we are reviewing the same car; well almost. So has the hype worked on the American car buyer? What do we think about the car now that it has a growing class of competition?
Not much has changed outside this car, except the Oxford White paint, as it’s the same body as the last Fiesta we reviewed. However, on the inside is a totally new world. This SES model is fitted with plum colored leather seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, loads of soft-touch materials, color adjustable interior lighting, and push button start. The interior not only impressed us throughout the week, it also impressed almost everyone whom we showed the car.
The few things we complained about in the previous review still stand in this interior though. Although you get radio controls on the steering wheel, you do not get the option of turning up or down the volume from the steering wheel. After I made that comment in our video review, I took some flack about it. But almost immediately after driving this car some distance, it was the first thing that popped into my head, yet again. The other things missing in the interior were arm rests. No large console or pull-down armrest on the seats, no good.
The Fiesta comes with a 1.6 liter engine and this test car was hooked up to the PowerShift 6-speed automatic transmission. Although the transmission felt great for this segment, we couldn’t help but long for the manual shifter and clutch pedal we had in the last Fiesta we reviewed. No matter the transmission, this car has always shined in the corners thanks to its tuned suspension and nimble steering. The Fiesta is small and fun to drive, there’s no doubt about that. Powering out of the corners is another concern, especially with the automatic transmission, to deal with.
The Fiesta has been doing well for Ford and everyone that we showed it to, were highly impressed with the interior quality as we were. In these times of high gas prices and consumers looking to get the best fuel economy as possible, the Fiesta has hit its mark, but what about its competition out there now? You still have players like the Suzuki SX4, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris. But you also have cars like the new Hyundai Accent or Veloster, the soon to come Chevrolet Sonic, and the Kia Rio.
Out of the cars we’ve driven here I’d say test drive the Accent and Veloster (when it hits the sales floor) also check out the new Sonic when it hits, but for the time being, the Fiesta is win-win.
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