Test: Ford Fiesta
Review by Feann Torr - 4/February/2009
Derived from the Latin word festa - to feast - Ford's new German-built Fiesta is very tasty.
all-new Ford Fiesta is a completely new vehicle that draws on the Blue
Oval's 'kinetic' design philosophy and from the moment you sit in the
vehicle it's clear that the bar has been set remarkably high.
a sharp new style designed to appeal to younger generations, the
Fiesta range starts at $15,750 for the 3-door CL model.
testing the mid-range Fiesta LX model, in 5-door configuration, which
is priced at $18,490 and comes standard with driver and front passenger
airbags, alloy wheels and cruise control.
to Ford's CEO Alan Mulally, the new Fiesta is the first vehicle to
embody the "One Ford" plan - the Blue Oval's bold first attempt at a
truly global car.
from the outset to be sold in all major markets, including China,
Australia, America and Europe, there's a lot riding on the new model.
is the "most significant global vehicle project since the Model T,"
according to Marin Burela, Ford Australia's President and CEO who was
previously in charge of Ford's global small car division.
As we discovered during our first test of this crucial vehicle, Ford
appears to have broken very few eggs making this particularly flavoursome omelette.
Model: Fiesta LX
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Engine: 1.6-litre Inline 4-cylinder petrol
passenger (x2)), ABS, EBD
Supplier: Ford Australia
Ford's new German-made Fiesta
raises the compact car benchmark
The spritely new design will attract a lot
of new customers, but it's the way the car
drives that will ultimately win over buyers
Engine: 1.6-litre I4 Petrol
The transversely mounted 1596cc 4-cylinder petrol engine has an
inline layout with an all alloy construction. It
has dual overhead camshafts
(DOHC) that actuate 16-valves (4-valves per cylinder) that feature variable valve timing.
engine electronically injects fuel into the cylinders from a 43 litre
fuel tank. It will run on standard grade (91 RON) or higher
Max Power: 88kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 152Nm @ 4050rpm
As a city car, the Ford Fiesta is without par
The interior of the Fiesta is well laid out,
easy to use, and best of all it looks fantastic
Ford's Fiesta is a revelation
Even with dozens of vibrant and competitive rivals like the Honda Jazz and Mazda2, the Fiesta is in another league.
From the outset it's clear that the Fiesta is a class leader: it took all of about three and a half minutes driving the
car from Ford's HQ to realise how much the Blue Oval's European engineers have achieved with this new global car.
feels like it was born to drive. It has a remarkably refined
ride that is on par with some luxury cars -- truly, it feels like it's
a prestige car trapped inside a compact car's body.
Simply put, it's able to soak up and deal with
pretty much anything the road throws at it, quarantining occupants from diseased surfaces. Smooth roads, bumpy roads,
changing road surfaces, tram lines, pot holes, train tracks, crumbling verges -
the Fiesta almost seems to glide over them.
And it gets better.
with the Fiesta's ultra-smooth suspension tune is one of the best
gearbox-engine combinations I've come across in a compact car.
you're seated comfortably in the drivers seat - and it's fairly roomy
for such a little car - rowing through the gears and pedalling the
clutch is very intuitive.
The 5-speed manual transmission shifts cleanly and smoothly between gates and a light clutch makes this car eminently drivable.
very little effort to drive the manual model but is still remarkably
involving to punt around - which bodes well for the automatic
pint-sized Ford is a satisfying little buzz box, sporting what is
arguably the best chassis of any car in its class. The steering is
light and easygoing, which makes tight maneouvres, parking and U-turns
effortless and contributes to the Fiesta's composed attitude.
With its smooth ride and sophisticated powertrain, the new Ford Fiesta
truly is a compelling drive - something that can seldom be said of compact
As strange as it feels to write this, few cars feel this well-rounded - compact or otherwise.
aspect that impressed me about the new Fiesta was the clear rearward
vision. The window line is quite high but it wraps around the rear of
the vehicle giving you a good field of vision, cutting down the size
of the blind spots.
The story of sophistication continues inside
the Fiesta LX, where occupants will find cloth seats upholstered with
patterned fabric. This gives the cabin more character than
the usual black-grey seats of most budget cars.
a futuristic centre console with a wing-like motif for the control
panel - not to mention some of the best soft-touch dash
plastics in existence - it's hard to believe that Ford is making money
from the vehicle.
The sense of quality in the cabin is
astonishing for a compact car and the overall design (particularly the
futuristic instrument dial shrouds) is refreshingly original. Inspired
by mobile phones, the interior is designed to appeal to
generations X and Y but I reckon its got universal appeal.
dashpad is finished in contrasting colours to the rest of the
interior plastics, adding to the cabin's high-end look and like the
ultra-modern Mondeo the kinetic design permeates almost all design
aspects. Everything from the instrument dials - even the needles -
to the centre console and the door handles all look very modern and this bodes well for Ford's future product line-up.
The LX model we tested also featured voice control; a feature that used to be sole preserve of luxury cars.
You can activate the Blue Tooth phone functionality to dial up numbers
or program radio stations without taking your eyes off the road.
wheel controls comprise cruise and stereo/menu inputs on the LX model
and though there's a lot to take in at first - 10 buttons all up - the
system works well once you've spent a few days toying with the system.
all good compact cars there's a profusion of storage bins throughout
the car to safely stow mobile phones, MP3 players, wallets, bags, food,
drinks, maps - you name it. And there's also an external AUX jack
to plug in audio devices and the range-topping Zetec models even come
with iPod/USB connectivity.
Detailed menu systems on the LX and
Zetec models mean you can spend hours customising
car options, which will appeal to gadget lovers. Meanwhile the
small details like the door lock/unlock button on the centre console add to the car's user friendliness.
seat room isn't massive but rear leg room has improved over the
previous model and boot space of 281 litres means you can get four
people and all their beach gear in the car.
The air-con is pretty good too, as we discovered on a sweltering 42° day...
rear seats can also be folded down in the traditional 60:40 split-fold
formation to load bulkier items into the car. Opening the small rear
hatch - even with hands full - is not difficult either.
new WS Fiesta also sits quite low to the ground and I found that this
aids ingress and egress - though older drivers may not share this
Another benefit of this low ride height is that you feel
closer to the road, giving you more of a 'connection' with the car. This
closeness to the road is a real boon when you reach tight, twisting
roads as the well-sorted chassis ensures the Fiesta is satisfying
There's not too much body roll when you build up steam through corners and the progressive
steering gives it a sporty persona, but this never overrides its
By and large, it's difficult to criticise the way the Fiesta behaves on the road.
when the time comes to fill up the vehicle, the new capless fuel
filler makes the whole rigmarole quick and efficient and hassle-free.
efficiency is another strong suit of the Fiesta, with the manual
model's 1.6-litre engine using 6.1 litres of fuel per 100km on
the combined city/highway cycle, which is relatively frugal for a
car that weighs almost 1.1 tonne.
We managed around 6.7L/100km over about 450 kilometres of mainly urban and some highway driving.
top gear (5th) while cruising at 100km/h the car engine spins @ 3000rpm
and the motor is surprisingly responsive, able to accelerate for
overtaking needs at this speed without any need for a down shift.
a flexible, revvy little unit that churns out 88kW and 152 Newton
metres of torque and will happily putt along at 60km/h in 5th gear.
engine revs cleanly and puts its power to the ground effectively via
the 5-speed manual and if you do find some nice winding roads that
require haste, the Fiesta hits its stride
at around 4000rpm and can hustle along pretty swiftly when kept above
Our Fiesta LX test car featured the optional safety pack ($1,000) which adds thorax
side airbags, a driver
knee airbag and dynamic stability control (DSC) with traction control,
the latter of which kicked in only a couple of times when we
took off too quickly from standstill.
only real issue I found with the Fiesta was that there were some
annoying creaks coming from the rear, but this is more likely due
to media car abuse rather than anything to do with build quality.
I'm not completely sold on the new design, everyone we showed the car
to thought it was a real head turner and if nothing else it's an
evocative, modern look, one thateschews the tall body design of some compact cars.
front end design features an ultra-slim grille underneath which sits a
large air dam that adds a sporty edge. The headlights work well
and are one of the first features that attracts the eye, and the rear
is likewise fairly attractive with neatly integrated brake lights.
Fiesta is low, sleek and well-proportioned and will no doubt set a
new standard for what small car buyers will expect.
having a super sophisticated feel, impressive features and an
ultra-modern cabin, compact cars rely most heavily on their looks to
make sales and in this respect Ford appears to have nailed it.
One of the best compact cars we've ever driven, the
Fiesta is sumptuous vehicular cuisine. It's very much a mini
Mondeo, motivating ever-so-smoothly like its bigger sibling, yet
quietly and with a level of sophistication that's left me
With ultra-modern designs inside and out, this is
a tremendous effort from Ford is a very positive sign for the
an urbane little vehicle with an expressive exterior and plenty of useful features that represent
remarkable value for money when priced from under $16,000.
Fiesta has changed the playing field forever. It has a bevy of
neat innovations and manages satisfy the driver like no other
compact car on the market.
Who knew compact cars could be this slick? In a nutshell, this is the best compact car on the market.
- Sophisticated Feel
- Smooth Ride
- High Quality Interior
- Responsive & Frugal Engine
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