2011 Ford Fiesta - Already An Award Winner

2011 Ford Fiesta – Already An Award Winner

If you’ve been a fan of magazines like AutoWeek or Car and Driver, you’ve probably heard the complaint more than once – and I’ve even made it myself in the public prints, as they say – that European drivers get to see and buy cars that we never see on this side of the Atlantic, or Pacific, for that matter.

With the 2011 Ford Fiesta that comment is gone because the car that’s available down the street at your local Ford dealer is the same Fiesta that’s available in Europe, the Far East, Central Europe and just about everywhere – except maybe Terra Del Fuego. That’s right no one can complain anymore that we don’t get the same cars as they do in Europe because the Fiesta is actually the Mazda 2, which also also available down the street at your local Mazda dealer (Mazda, by the way, is a Ford subsidiary).

For 2011, the Fiesta has already one two major awards. It was named U.S. New and World Report’s “Best Subcompact for the Money” and it also garnered Consumer Guide’s “2011 Best Buy.” That it won the awards is surprising enough; that it won them against 32 other vehicles made by some of the best automakers in the world. For example, BMW makes the Mini Cooper, one of the best subcompacts on the road and one of the most fun to drive. As equipped, the Mini is $5,000 more than the base Fiesta, while the SES is still $1,000 less than the top-line Mini and it handles as well.

From a handling standpoint, the sleek Fiesta, whose lines literally sweep up through a rounded roof and on through an nicely integrated rear end, slips through holes in traffic and handles turns and corners with a stability of vehicles twice its price. The steering is quick and the road feedback is excellent so you know what your front wheels are doing at all times.

Ergonomically – the study of the driver and the surroundings – the Fiesta is on a par with any vehicle you’ll find out there. For example, Mazda’s 2 – actually the same vehicle but somewhat different – is also nicely styled but the Ford engineering team went them one better and made a vehicle whose key controls and gauges are either intuitively placed an easy reach away and which also offers such features as the SYNC – Bluetooth synchronization tool – and an easy-to-read display with easy to use controls. Altogether it’s a job well done. Indeed, after looking at the competition, I can see why Ford’s Fiesta has come out number one with two major organizations. It’s just that well done. (The last Fiesta I saw about 15 years ago or more was nowhere near as good as this one.)

From a performance standpoint, it’s really amazing just the type of mileage that the Fiesta gets – 30/40. Those are the types of figures you get from a hybrid, but this subcompact is no hybrid, it’s gasoline all the way. The 1.6-horsepower four-cylinder engine develops 118 horsepower and still turns in some of the best mileage in the market. It just shows that gas engines can be developed that turn out the type of mileage needed when gas hits $4-a-gallon. The front-engine Fiesta, available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback uses a five-speed manual as standard while a six-speed is also available. There’s also an overdrive automatic available for drivers who like to be shiftless (although, truth be told, you can actually still shift the automatic yourself).

As in all Ford lines there are several trim levels available, beginning with the base S, moving up to the more fully featured SE and then the SEL adds to that. The top of the line and most performance-oriented of the four Fiestas is the SES.

I have heard some of my colleagues in the automotive press literally whistle when they see the way the Fiesta is put together because they doubted anything offered by an American automaker could do it. Well they certain did with Fiesta, and then some.

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