For years people have been begging Ford to bring the same quality vehicles they are selling in Europe to the U.S. Ford has listened and is doing just what was asked. The 2011 Fiesta is heavily based on the European version, which is a highly regarded car in Europe. Many people worried that the U.S. version of the Fiesta would be changed drastically by becoming watered down. Fear not, slight changes were made due to differing safety standards, but over sixty percent of the European Fiesta made it to the U.S. version.
The Fiesta will be powered by a 1.6 liter DOCH I-4 to the front wheels. The engine is estimated to provide 119 hp and 109 ft-lbs while achieving an estimated 40 mpg. Two transmissions will be offered. The first being a 5 speed manual and the second, a class exclusive six speed dual clutch transmission. Ford’s dual clutch transmission will go under the “PowerShift” moniker. The transmission is “sealed for life” and never requires any maintenance. When asked if the clutches could be replaced, Ford did say yes.
The Fiesta will come in both sedan and five door hatch forms. The hatch will have a grille similar to the European model while the sedan will get a chrome, three bar grille. The three bar grille aligns with other U.S. models such as the Focus, Taurus, and Fusion. The grille in both the sedan and the hatchback are the exact same size, theoretically making them interchangeable. The fog lights from the European Fiesta have been replaced with light pipes such as those on the new Taurus SHO. The Fiesta will be the most customizable Ford to date, with tons of optional dealer installable accessories that are not bug shields. Everything from body wrap graphics to wheel packages will be optional in order to make your Fiesta unique.
The Fiesta is composed of over fifty percent high strength steel. This makes for a lighter, safer car. Ultra strong boron steel is used in several critical areas. Boron steel is even stronger than high strength steel. Fiesta will boast class leading safety with features such as standard electronic stability control, seat belt pretensioners, rear door child safety locks, and Safety Canopy (side curtain air bags essentially). Ford made sure to mention, “Fiesta is proof that a small car can deliver big safety.” Fiesta offers a segment-exclusive driver’s knee air bag, developed to help reduce lower leg injuries in the event of a frontal collision and to work together with other safety features.
Many class exclusive features will be available on the Fiesta. Everything from keyless entry and push button start, to Ford’s SYNC will be offered. Also unique within the segment will be a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Standard will be Ford’s innovative EasyFuel capless fuel filler. Ford did make one major change on the interior which is somewhat disappointing. The U.S. Fiesta will only be available with manual climate control. I understand meeting a price point, but the European Fiesta has available automatic climate control. Worse yet, the controls felt somewhat cheap.
The features and technology in this vehicle is definitely class leading. I would say the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit were just put on notice. With 15 class exclusive technologies and the estimated 40 mpg fuel economy rating, the new Fiesta will be a force to be reckoned with.