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I got to drive a 1.6L/5-speed manual 5-Door Apple Green Fiesta at the Fiesta Movement's Ride & Drive event at a mall here in Arizona. The location was a covered outdoor area, in the valet lane. This being Scottsdale there were five Fiestas, a Land Rover, a Mercedes S-Class, and an Aston Martin sharing the valet spots. I'm thinking that this may not have been the target demographic for a subcompact, but it spot was covered, and that's important in Arizona. Unfortunately there wasn't a huge crowd at the event, but I think people may not have known what was going on.

 

The "event" was pretty blah - a couple of people in shirts answering questions and five Fiestas. Two of the cars (one in pink and one in dark blue) were parked on display - the blue one open for examination and the pink one decked out in computers with the fiestamovement.com information loaded. Of the three driving cars one was in black and the other two were green. All five were the 5-door hatchback. There were people to answer questions, people to escort the drives, and people to "check you in" so that you could drive the cars (license, email, waiver, and you're off) and as an added bonus they gave me a card that I can allegedly redeem for 10 music downloads.

 

The model I drove was a 1.6L/manual 5-door. It was equipped with power windows & mirrors & locks, Sync, leather (heated, natch) seats, trip computer, automatic climate control, front & rear fog lamps, tilt/telescopic steering column, mood lighting, and keyless entry/ignition. Some other nice features included the six-way adjustable drivers seat, input jack & USB slot, convex outside mirrors to eliminate blindspots (even if they do cause a bit of queasiness when you look at them), capless fuel filler, large front door map pockets, and adjustable headlights. There were a couple of features noticeably absent from the vehicle - overhead grab handles, folding mirrors, front center armrest, and "American-sized" cup holders - but overall it was very nicely equipped.

 

The interior materials were of the "inexpensive quality" type. Everything appear sturdy and well built, but the materials were not high-end. The center dashboard silver trim is glossy, but obviously plastic and not metal. The leather upholstery on the seats was rather rough, but it did feature the oatmeal-colored contrasting stitching for nice effect. The seating position is taller, very similar to the Focus and not laid back like some other small cars. And while the front seats are narrow, there is plenty of seat travel for taller drivers and there is enough head, shoulder, and elbow room to be very comfortable. Likewise, the rear seat is roomy enough that I was comfortable (6'1" sitting behind a shorter passenger (5'6") in the front seat.) There was plenty of head room, my knees were easily splayed, not forced around the seat back. One downside to the styling, however, is the tall and small rear-seat windows - kids won't be able to see out. The center-column controls have positive tactile feedback for all of their movements, but make no mistake, this isn't a Lexus with dampened buttons, they do snick-snick.

 

The trunk area is bigger than you'd guess from looking at the exterior. Of course, the rear seats fold down to expand the cargo area, but this exposes the Fiesta's weakness vis-a-vis the Fit - the rear seats' folding action. The Fit's rear seat famously folds flat into the floor of the car, creating a nearly seamless, low floor for cargo. The Fiesta, however, has a much simpler rear seat. The Fiesta's rear seat cushion is fixed and the seat back simply folds over onto the bottom cusion, creating a nearly six inch difference between the top of the folded seat and the trunk floor. Also, the back of the seat back is painted metal which seems bad in three ways: one, the paint will most likely scratch off over time with use, two the cargo it is carrying will be prone to rattling, and three, the hard metal may scratch or damage any soft cargo. The cargo area definitely could use some additional thought before launch.

 

But this is all the boring "before the drive" stuff. More exciting was actually driving the little Fiesta. I did not independently confirm that I was driving a 1.6L, that's what I was told, but I'll assume that's right for my comments. Also on hand was a 1.4L/automatic, and the escort said it was a 4-speed automatic. Ugh. A 100-hp engine with a 4-speed auto? No thanks. Because the green Fiesta was equipped with keyless ignition, I pressed the button and the engine started up quietly. The driving controls are all extremely light. The electronic power steering is light enough to steer with a pinky finger but was great for pulling into and out of the parking area. The clutch is very light but engages positively, leaving very few jerks in its wake. The transmission lever is much longer than I am used to in my Miata and appeared to have long, lazy throws. This could be because it is so much different than my own tight gearbox, but the shifter was very light and did not require much force to change gears.

 

Pulling out into traffic the Fiesta steps out well but doesn't have a lot of power to spare. I was trying to act like the respectable, middle-aged man I one-day-hope-to-be and avoided flooring the throttle and I shifted at less than 3500 rpm each time, but still, the Fiesta was far from fast. I would deem the power as adequate with the knowledge that if pushed higher into the rpm range, the engine probably perks up. What was surprising is the smoothness of driving the Fiesta. The engine is quiet and free of surges. The transmission is a bit loose for my taste, but it does engage gears well. And finally, the clutch would make even a novice stick driver appear like a pro with a smooth, progressive engagement. Also, for my admittedly short drive, the interior is quite quiet. The engine is pretty quiet around town and the car doesn't transmit a ton of noise into the cabin.

 

I mentioned that the steering is very light, but it is also very direct and fast, not requiring much effort to turn the vehicle. The ride is European - firm but forgiving. After I had my spin-around-the-block my friend drove and I took my turn in the backseat. Road blemishes are felt but are not severe. It reminds me of the original Focus here in the US - connected but not punishing. The car felt very planted zipping along down side streets. It did follow some deep grooves in one section of road, but nothing out of the ordinary. All-in-all it was a short, fun drive around the mall area.

 

I went to the event today expecting a fun little car and came away with the impression that the Fiesta is a fun little car. I'm not wild about the limited flexibility of the cargo area, especially considering the number one competitor (Fit) has such a great cargo area. I also expected a bit more punch from the 1.6L. But this was an European model brought to the US. I think the power is adequate as-is, but I hope a US-spec version is tuned for a bit more torque to help launch the car from a stop. I also hope they keep the ride but give the steering additional weight.

 

But these are minor suggestions. Overall I think the Fiesta is a great car. The Fiestas that were running around Scottsdale stood out from the crowd, both their unique design and the bright green exteriors. This is a great car and I think we'll be seeing a lot of them in the future.

 

Sorry for the lengthy description, I wanted to capture as many details as possible. If you have driven the Fiesta, leave your thoughts, or if you have other specific questions, please post them.

 

Scott

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The clutch is very light but engages positively, leaving very few jerks in its wake.

Oh, so the jerks will mostly be passing you ?

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Great post. I was not sure how the crowd would react in Scottsdale to the car. It was in Chandler and on Mill Ave earlier in the weekend. Hopefully younger crowds there.

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Oh, so the jerks will mostly be passing you ?

 

:lol:

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It couldn't cost much to carpet the backs of the folding rear seats. Hopefully upgraded interior materials will be on board for the U.S. launch.

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Thanks for the post, it was great and don't worry about the length. The details are what we're looking for.

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Sorry for the lengthy description

 

Scott

 

That's probably the longest post I've ever read all the way through on this site :)

 

Wait... you're Scott in Scottsdale? That's spiffy :)

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That's probably the longest post I've ever read all the way through on this site :)

 

Wait... you're Scott in Scottsdale? That's spiffy :)

It would be monumental if his middle name was Dale :hysterical:

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It couldn't cost much to carpet the backs of the folding rear seats. Hopefully upgraded interior materials will be on board for the U.S. launch.

 

Yeah, I noticed the Fiesta at the Green Festival in Pllymouth, MI used bare minimum materials in cargo area, but don't foget the price difference between the Fit and Fiesta. Supposedly, the base Fiesta will be in $12,000 range, and fully optioned in $16,000 range. Throw in incentives and Fiesta's probably will go for $11,000-$15,000 range a few months after debut. Now take the Fit. At Honda Dealer by me, every Fit worth having goes for about $20,000 without any incentives. In fact, the Honda Dealer charges over list for the Fit by putting in rip off items. So there is roughly a $4,000 price difference between Fiesta and Fit. So don't expect Fit materials for Fiesta's price. You can see where Ford cut corners in order to meet price target. Don't get me wrong, for $16,000 with some nice features Fiesta is a steal compared to the Fit. Ford needs a vehicle like the Fiesta in these worrisome times and a fully optioned Fiesta with sync, decent interior, pep, great fuel mileage and nice list of features hits the sweet spot. Those who want better can spend an extra $4,000 and get the Fit. $4,000 is a lot of money in these economic times. With Mexican connection, Ford can probably beat anyone on price in this class.

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Yeah, I noticed the Fiesta at the Green Festival in Pllymouth, MI used bare minimum materials in cargo area, but don't foget the price difference between the Fit and Fiesta. Supposedly, the base Fiesta will be in $12,000 range, and fully optioned in $16,000 range. Throw in incentives and Fiesta's probably will go for $11,000-$15,000 range a few months after debut. Now take the Fit. At Honda Dealer by me, every Fit worth having goes for about $20,000 without any incentives. In fact, the Honda Dealer charges over list for the Fit by putting in rip off items. So there is roughly a $4,000 price difference between Fiesta and Fit. So don't expect Fit materials for Fiesta's price. You can see where Ford cut corners in order to meet price target. Don't get me wrong, for $16,000 with some nice features Fiesta is a steal compared to the Fit. Ford needs a vehicle like the Fiesta in these worrisome times and a fully optioned Fiesta with sync, decent interior, pep, great fuel mileage and nice list of features hits the sweet spot. Those who want better can spend an extra $4,000 and get the Fit. $4,000 is a lot of money in these economic times. With Mexican connection, Ford can probably beat anyone on price in this class.

 

I would think Ford will be right in line with the fit in price. The goal is to have cars that people will "want and value". I dont know how many times I have got that line over the pasted two years. Dont get me wrong I am all in with that. However gone are the day of the Ford being a good car for a great price. It's now going to be a great car for a good price. So I would bet it will be only a few bucks less then the class leader. Showing that Ford has every bit a good a car as the class leader and in most cases will be the class leader for a great value ie a lower price. However I dont think it will be in the 4,000 less range. We just got some showroom posters for the 2010 Fusion showing the Fusion Camry and Chevy with a "value" story Fusion SE is 1200 less than a Camry LE and like 2,000 less then the Chevy. Its a good message. I could be wrong but I think the goal is to have a car that is so good you dont need to "give" it away for way less money then the class super star. Time will tell.

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It's too bad that the Fiesta's rear seat doesn't fold flat. I'm disapointed. The Fit has remarkable storage capabilities because of the way they designed the rear seat. I think Ford may need to work on this.

 

I think to get the most out of that little engine you would have to rev it up a bit more than you did. I've seen a British test review of the Fiesta on YouTube and they liked the performance of the car. They also licked the red line before shifting.

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I would think Ford will be right in line with the fit in price. The goal is to have cars that people will "want and value". I dont know how many times I have got that line over the pasted two years. Dont get me wrong I am all in with that. However gone are the day of the Ford being a good car for a great price. It's now going to be a great car for a good price. So I would bet it will be only a few bucks less then the class leader. Showing that Ford has every bit a good a car as the class leader and in most cases will be the class leader for a great value ie a lower price. However I dont think it will be in the 4,000 less range. We just got some showroom posters for the 2010 Fusion showing the Fusion Camry and Chevy with a "value" story Fusion SE is 1200 less than a Camry LE and like 2,000 less then the Chevy. Its a good message. I could be wrong but I think the goal is to have a car that is so good you dont need to "give" it away for way less money then the class super star. Time will tell.

 

Have you priced a Fit? I have and the upscale models all cost about $20,000, and the dealers add in their scotch guarding and tack on another $500. I could be wrong, but I have heard Fiesta will be priced below the Focus. The present Focus stickers for about same price as Fit optioned out. The Fiesta is supposed to be Ford's value price leader and will be cheaper price than Focus. A fully optioned Fiesta should not sticker for more than $17,000 an a well appointed one should not be over $16,000. I have heard base price will be around $12,000. The base Fit costs about $16,000. So I will stand by $4,000 price difference. No way is Ford going to price Fiesta at same price range as Fit or present Focus. As it is, you can buy a new Focus SE for about $12,000 with lots of features including Sync. The sticker price is about $15,000.

 

With the Mexican connection, Ford has more leeway on price with incentives and sticker price and options since they undercut the transplants in cost and the Fit is built in Japan that has higher costs than U.S. The Fit is a premium priced vehicle and you could probably get a Fusion SE for less after rebates and discounts than you could an expensive Fit. The Fit is a nice vehicle, but for the price they want it's not. The Fiesta should eat its lunch at its price point.

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I had the chance to drive the Fiesta in Cincinnati and left a few observations in the Fiesta Forum (here). From the stories I've read in magazines, one of the prime goals of the new Fiesta was to decrease weight yet maintain overall vehicle footprint and improve interior space. That was the reason more complex and heavier features such as a flat folding rear seat were excluded in favor of the simple fold down back rest. I know I never haul anything in my car without a blanket or something under the load, so I think that's a reasonable option for the metal backs of the seat.

 

I do wonder how much the materials will change on the interior. It seems that for a product with small margins, the quality of the materials will not change much from Europe to here especially given that the European market is more accustomed to paying a premium for small cars. My thought is the interior will be almost exactly the same as the European version with a possible exception of the seat fabrics. A center armrest would also be a nice addition and could provide some storage space as well, but it would likely eliminate at least one existing cupholder so who knows if that would happen.

 

Many magazines seem to be sure the engine will be the 1.6L so I wouldn't count on more than 120-hp. I'm not sure how much weight the 1.6L adds to the car, but the 2200 lb. curb weight is probably not off by more than 50 to 100 lbs so that should be sufficient in terms of power. Maybe the small EcoBoost will one day be a performance option ST version or something. Personally, I'd like to see a 6-speed manual instead of the 5-speed just to further improve the highway mileage and allow for closer ratios in the lower 5 gears, but I'm sure that won't be happening either.

 

The electric power-steering is a variable effort that, as the marketing guy said, practically shuts off to give manual steering at highway speeds. He seemed to love the way the steering worked, and given its light weight not a lot of boost would be required anyway.

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I'm assuming that the US Fiesta will come with a 6-speed manual and 6-speed Powershift. Also curious, why would you want folding mirrors on a car?

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I'm assuming that the US Fiesta will come with a 6-speed manual and 6-speed Powershift. Also curious, why would you want folding mirrors on a car?

 

 

Since the mirrors have at least two wiring harnesses with electric adustable, and turn signal lamps built into outside mirrors, not sure if folding them is doable. I know my Taurus has heated mirrors, puddle lamps, and electric adjustable which means it needed at least three wiring harnesses. Outside mirrors have gottern very complex and even more so with BLIS technology.

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I've been looking over the features and options on ford.co.uk in an attempt to figure out what is likely for the US version. As far as folding mirrors, there's the City Pack including rear parking sensor and electronically folding mirrors there, so it's at least possible. I can't comment on the Fiestas in Scottsdale, but judging by the UK's website, the models in Cincy (and I'm assuming all that Ford brought to the US for Ride & Drive and the Movement) are pretty high spec (the Brits call it the Titanium model from what I can glean) with the projector beam headlights, chrome grille, folding mirros (seems like they would have shown this off since it's so often found on high end cars), etc.

 

I wonder if the Fiestas sold in the US will have the broad range of features found in the European model and if the features will be grouped together similarly to those in Europe, or if we will see a more limited array of options and features. I definitely want to see the Projector beam headlights and the 7-spoke 16" alloys. With today's exchange rates, the Titanium model starts at over US$21k, which will partially be offset by building in Mex, but will that be enough?

 

The start button doesn't really appeal to me, but I have a feeling that will be on the upper end US models along with the auto climate control and rain sensor. Oh well, it's a year or so until they are released here and probably 2 years before I'll be in the market, but it's fun to configure the ideal car all the same.

 

Just curious, Scott, but was the dark blue Fiesta the same as I saw in Cincy? That color & wheel combo is ideal in my book.

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I've been looking over the features and options on ford.co.uk in an attempt to figure out what is likely for the US version. As far as folding mirrors, there's the City Pack including rear parking sensor and electronically folding mirrors there, so it's at least possible. I can't comment on the Fiestas in Scottsdale, but judging by the UK's website, the models in Cincy (and I'm assuming all that Ford brought to the US for Ride & Drive and the Movement) are pretty high spec (the Brits call it the Titanium model from what I can glean) with the projector beam headlights, chrome grille, folding mirros (seems like they would have shown this off since it's so often found on high end cars), etc.

 

I wonder if the Fiestas sold in the US will have the broad range of features found in the European model and if the features will be grouped together similarly to those in Europe, or if we will see a more limited array of options and features. I definitely want to see the Projector beam headlights and the 7-spoke 16" alloys. With today's exchange rates, the Titanium model starts at over US$21k, which will partially be offset by building in Mex, but will that be enough?

 

The start button doesn't really appeal to me, but I have a feeling that will be on the upper end US models along with the auto climate control and rain sensor. Oh well, it's a year or so until they are released here and probably 2 years before I'll be in the market, but it's fun to configure the ideal car all the same.

 

Just curious, Scott, but was the dark blue Fiesta the same as I saw in Cincy? That color & wheel combo is ideal in my book.

 

Ah, I get it. In Europe, many of the streets are so narrow, you'd need folding mirrors. That's a problem we don't have in the US.

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I remember Jeremy Clarkson saying the same thing about the boot of the new Fiesta. Mainly that the rear seats don't fold flat but the over all space is still pretty decent, or as he put it, big enough for a Zebras head for those mafia game ranger types. Anyway, I think the Fiesta will be successful here in the US. What the car lacks inside it makes up for it on the outside with its styling. Personally though, I hate small cars, always have, I like ginormous land yachts, but the Fiesta is something I might just look in to buying when the time is right, they're pretty and get good mileage.

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FWIW, I know for a fact that Ford developed a completely different seats for he US Spec Fiesta.

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FWIW, I know for a fact that Ford developed a completely different seats for he US Spec Fiesta.

Fat boys Rule.....

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... I did not independently confirm that I was driving a 1.6L, that's what I was told, but I'll assume that's right for my comments. Also on hand was a 1.4L/automatic, and the escort said it was a 4-speed automatic....

The last 2 vehicles you mentioned must be European spec.

 

I am 99.999% certain that all US Fiesta will have a 1.6L engine. The automatic will be a 6 speed PowerShift (Getrag-Ford dual clutch)

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(...)but judging by the UK's website, the models in Cincy (and I'm assuming all that Ford brought to the US for Ride & Drive and the Movement) are pretty high spec (the Brits call it the Titanium model from what I can glean) with the projector beam headlights, chrome grille, folding mirros (seems like they would have shown this off since it's so often found on high end cars), etc.

It makes sense that Ford has brought over the high-spec features. To break out of the "cheap car" syndrome Ford will need to offer higher-end features when they introduce the Fiesta. And anyway, even if you're not going to bring those features, you can still put your best foot forward with the people stopping by to look.

 

I wonder if the Fiestas sold in the US will have the broad range of features found in the European model and if the features will be grouped together similarly to those in Europe, or if we will see a more limited array of options and features. I definitely want to see the Projector beam headlights and the 7-spoke 16" alloys. With today's exchange rates, the Titanium model starts at over US$21k, which will partially be offset by building in Mex, but will that be enough?

I doubt our feature list and model lineup will sync up with the UK. But I see a couple of models, and I do think a top-of-the-line with all options Fiesta is going to round up to $18K or more.

 

Just curious, Scott, but was the dark blue Fiesta the same as I saw in Cincy? That color & wheel combo is ideal in my book.

That link didn't appear to work, but the models in AZ all appeared to be the top-spec model with multi-spoke wheels and all body-colored trim. And the blue was the dark blue paint.

 

FWIW, I know for a fact that Ford developed a completely different seats for he US Spec Fiesta.

Probably a good thing. The drivers seat was a touch narrow for someone of my, uhhh, breadth.

 

And for those that asked, yes, I'm "Scott", but not in "Scottsdale." I'm in Tempe, just south of Scottsdale. And my middle name ain't Dale.

 

Scott

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Fat boys Rule.....

 

Maybe the Obama Administration upped the CAFE standards not for the purpose of stopping global warming, but to reduce Medicare costs. ;)

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Maybe the Obama Administration upped the CAFE standards not for the purpose of stopping global warming, but to reduce Medicare costs. ;)

Nope, but the candy machine tax, the french fry tax and the soft drink tax sure will !

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