Not since we went from an almost 300K Bentley Continental to a barely 18K Toyota Yaris has the transition between our weekly drives been so dramatic.
In case you are wondering we test drive several new cars each week, so it was a fairly dramatic change to go from one of Ford’s biggest US vehicles (the F-150 Raptor) to one of their newest and smallest (the 2011 Fiesta).
BTW: You can check out that first drive video HERE.
So what’s the take home lesson from our first few days with the Fiesta.
To start with the car is truly European in nature. It feels like it just came off the boat from Europe, but we happen know that it is being built just a few click South of the boarder in Mexico.
The ride, the interior, and design just scream small European sedan…which we think is a very good thing.
Think of it as the poor man’s Mini Cooper, or the wealthy high school student’s Saab 900.
And speaking of the Mini Cooper we parked the Fiesta next to a Clubman recently at our local bagel shop, and we were seriously surprised that the Fiesta is just a tad bigger that the Clubman.
So either the Fiesta is larger than we had conceptualized in our minds, or the Clubman is smaller.
We’ll let you decide.
We love the fact the Fiesta doesn’t feel cheap. Our SES model came with a bunch of luxury car standards like heated seats, and we know that you’ll even be able to get those heated seats in leather if you tick the right order box.
At an as tested (so far) 37 mpg the Fiesta also a very pleasant surprise when it come to the pump…even though we haven’t really gone to the pump yet since the car just sips gas (unlike the Raptor we recently tested which could easily and quickly fill out a frequent dinner punch card at the local Conoco gas station.
Check out Ten Things you don’t want to do with a Raptor HERE.
Since this particular Fiesta is a pre-production model we don’t have an MSRP but we can report that new Fiesta will cost between $14K to 17K depending on the model and of course the trim level.
The downside to all that gas sipping is that the Fiesta is almost one of the slowest car’s we’ve recently tested. Leisurely acceleration is what happens naturally when an engine sips gas and this morning we had to flog the car for all it was with to keep up with a guy in a Honda Accord who wanted to beat up to the lane closure before a construction zone.
To be fair the Toyota Yaris and the Honda Fit are not much faster, but the Fiesta has such a sporty suspension set up that it just begs to be driven fast and that’s not really possible with the 1.6 DOHC Inline Four banger.
We can’t wait until Ford develops their small Ecoboost 4 cylinder turbo and hopefully puts one in the Fiesta. The car could certainly benefit from just a little bit torque steer. You know just a fun and friendly way to let you know that the engine is indeed in the house.
Another interesting fact about the Fiesta that surprised us is that in our opinion the car feels more lively with the dual clutch automatic. That’s something that we have never said before, but alas the automatic does a better job in allocating the car’s limited 117 ponies.
Another very funny Fiesta factor is the car’s Lime Squeeze Metallic pain job (Ford’s color description not ours). In general the color palate used to sell cars in America by almost all manufactures is about as diverse and exciting as a South pole penguin rookery.
In America you better like your cars either black or white, or if you get a bit crazy red, silver, blue…but that’s about it.
We’re happy to see that Ford broke the American car color barrier and built some fun and fresh cars that don’t look like they belong in a funeral procession.
On our TFLcar recommendation scale of:
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it or
– Forget it
because the2011 Fiesta is fresh, young and hip, and driving it can actually make you feel fresh, young, and hip.