Top five reoccurring comments concerning the Fiesta


by Bryan Redeker

            Now that we have had the Fiesta for over a week, and hosted 2 events showing the car off, I decided it was time to recap the comments. The first event was held for friends and family at a park in Grand Haven, and the second was held in Grand Rapids. The second event was to present the Fiesta to the Product Design Engineering students at Ferris State University. In total, around 75 people have had the opportunity to see the Fiesta up close and sit in the car. Listed below are the most common responses after seeing the Fiesta.

 1. Looks. When I tell people that I have a Fiesta, they immediately think of either the Festiva or any of the current B-segment cars being produced. Their mental image is of a poorly built small car that looks like a failed art project. This was most apparent when showing the Fiesta to the Product Design Engineering students at Ferris State University. While walking out to see the car, everyone was sharing stories of other small cars they owned, and how bad they were. The group of 30 students turned a corner in the parking garage and was greeted by the Fiesta sitting in front of them. Instantly, jaws dropped, and then everyone was saying how good the Fiesta looks. Over and over again, the students mentioned how it looks considerably better than they imagined, and compared to the competition, the Fiesta is hands-down the best looking B-Segment car. When you tell people it competes against the Yaris and Aveo, they look at you funny. All of the students thought the Fiesta was going against the Mini Cooper, Honda Civic, and larger C-Segment cars. The reaction was the same at the event held for friends and family. The initial shock of seeing the Kinetic-Designed  Fiesta in person, leaves everyone saying how incredible the car looks. For anyone who is into cars, and has seen what American bumpers can do to ruin a good design, they are first to ask what the NA bumper will look like. We all hope the US car will look as good as the EU version. Redesigning the front bumper of the Fiesta is almost as scary as asking a few lawmakers in Washington to give Heidi Klum a nose job. Yikes.

 2. Features and gadgets. Once you can get people to stop drooling over the body, they begin to climb into the interior. People ask about what kind of features the Fiesta has, and when I say things like; “Voice activated radio, HVAC, and phone commands”, “rain sensing wipers”, “heated leather seats”, “anti-submarining air bag”, “Bluetooth connectivity”, “key-less entry and starting”, and “capless fuel tank” people begin to smile and get excited. Most people then say “But the US car won’t have any of this, right?” I respond that the US version should have many of the same features, including Sync. People then ask why anyone would consider the Yaris or Aveo. The amount of content in the Fiesta is helping reverse years of damage caused by poorly engineered small cars. Gone are the days of the small car being something that people buy because they can’t afford anything else. The Fiesta is a car that people actually want. The one thing that could ruin this shift in thought would be if the US version comes with nothing more than an AM/FM radio with optional CD player. Wow, welcome back the mid 90’s. Fail.

3. Interior. People like to touch things, and when you say “small car” everyone expects to be touching cheap plastic. Anyone has driven a GM car in the 90’s knows what cheap plastic looks and feels like. It is that shiny kind of black, almost grey, maybe textured polymer that was hard as a rock. The type of plastic that creaks and moans as you drive and you have to stare at in disgust while you sit in traffic. When showing off the Fiesta, people knock on the door panels and press on the dash. To their amazement, the dash is soft to the touch, and the door panels don’t sound hollow. Amazed by the discovery, they start to touch all of the controls. Hmm, nothing feels cheap. No nasty glossy black plastic. Sat in a 2005-09 Mustang? Then you know what cheap plastic controls feel like. Thankfully, none of that plastic was used in the Fiesta. Instead you get soft-touch controls, mat-black textured parts mixed in with very shiny, high quality silver trim, accented by just enough chrome to be tasteful. Everything is balanced. Once again, Ford has a winner, and we all hope they don’t find some left over GM regrind plastic to use for our version of the car. Don’t skimp on the quality of the interior!

4. Size. As people walk up to the Fiesta, and when they sit inside, they realize the car is not the same size as a Geo Metro. Years of producing poor small cars that only had a purpose of making the CAFÉ standards look good have really damaged the American consumer. The Fiesta seems to fit a wide range of people, which helps undo the stigma of a small car. People sit in the front seat, and then climb into the back seats. “Wow, there is more room than I thought” seems to be the repeating answer when the leg room experiment is tested. Ample head room, good leg room, and a driver seat that almost has unlimited adjustment. Steering wheel is tilting and telescoping, so just about anyone can find a comfortable seating position. When they open the hatch (which is great because you don’t have to search around the interior for the release) the first thing noted is that it a little small back there. Once they see the folding seats, they feel better. The rear cargo area is fairly deep, and can hold my wife’s massive suitcase, which is a great test of cargo room. Sadly, it won’t hold a set of golf clubs with the back seats up. Not that big of a deal, my SVT Focus can’t either. At least the Fiesta will come in a hatchback, so you can actually use the cargo area. Try to fit stuff in Brandon’s Focus sedan. Nothing fits thru the trunk opening, so it ends up riding on the back seat. Funny, the same object fits in the Focus hatchback with no problems. I really hope some bean counter at Ford doesn’t axe the hatchback Fiesta like they did with the Focus. I have a feeling I am not the only one with that fear.

5. Mileage and Price. Now that people have looked over the Fiesta, gave it their stamp of approval, they always ask two questions; “What kind of mileage does it get?” and “How much will it cost?”  Since neither answer is exact for the US version, I answer with the standard response “upper 30’s-low 40’s, and it will be priced competitively to the Fit and Yaris”. Once again, people are amazed. So, lets get this straight, Ford is coming out with a very sexy compact car, its loaded with technology, has a beautifully sculpted interior made from high quality materials, it is roomier than many small cars, it gets good gas mileage, and it will cost around the same as the Fit? Yep. “When is it going to be out?” is the next thing I get asked. Clearly, the Fiesta is going to be a winner, as long as it stays close to what the Fiesta Movement cars are. This car is really changing the minds of people who see it.

 

Fiestamovement  #fiestamovement

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  1. #1 by Tom - May 9th, 2009 at 16:47

    I hope you’re RIGHT about the hatch. The car you’re driving looks great.
    I think you’re WRONG about the price. I’m thinking the MOST they can get for this car is $22,000.
    Now I’m not talking about what you think it’s WORTH. It may have enough content that it compares with the low 30s cars.
    I hope it does better than the Aveo. We were out crusin’ the lots this past weekend and the dealership up in Mooresville, NC had at least 40 Aveos on the lot. All description and color, and every stinking one an auto tranny.
    While I’ve got your attention, take a close look at the Scion website. Check out the colors heading and then check out the custom jobs they’ve got on there.
    They are SO far ahead of Ford when it comes to COOL.

  2. #2 by Freez - May 10th, 2009 at 08:34

    Hello Brian,

    As a dutch car enthousiast it’s very interesting to see how the US receives a small Eurocompact. Specifically the notion that the European versions seem to be that much better equipped strikes me as a logical. There is a general feeling in fiestamovement that, when Ford will convert it to the US market they will screw it up, by using a automatic gearbox, softer suspension and cheap materials, as seem to be common.

    There is a simple explanation why manual transmissions are “popular” in Europe; and it’s called economy. A torque convertor in a convertional automatic transmission seeps around 15% in both power and economy, so in general they take more fuell. For decades the average fuell prices in Europa have been around 3 times as high as in the US, so the need for fuell efficiency has allways been higher. (Current price of unleaded is over 6 $ per US gallon in the Netherlands; 1.41 Euro per litre). The preference for smaller cars has therefor also been a lot bigger, but we prefer to have these smaller cars feel more luxurious. The difference between the running costs of a sub-compact and a real compact in the US was not that big. In the end US carmakers tried to make the compact therefor as cheap as possible, to make some kind of a difference with the C-segments. Us car owners therefor tended to skip the compacts and choose the bigger ones.

    There’s another thing that i cannot compute however in the stories, regarding fuell consumption figures. Are you sure you are calculating the amount of fuell used? I have a slight suspicion the boardcomputer uses Imperial gallons as a base instead of US gallons. 40 Mpg for US gallons (3.79 litre), and mile being 1,61 kilometers ) would be very good for a small 1.6 hatchback, compared to the more normal value when using 4.56 liters as a base.

    These were my first thoughts, i’m particularly interested in the opinions of car enthousiasts so i tend to follow their blogs closests. Keep up the good work!

    Freez

  3. #3 by Rick - May 11th, 2009 at 14:17

    Great write-up and summary! Questions: (1) Does the front seat have a height adjustment? How does the adjuster work? (2) You’ve compared the Fiesta to the Yaris. Have you driven a Honda Fit and can you compare them? and (3) When is Ford planning on putting the Fiesta on sale?
    Keep up the intelligent and detailed reviews — they’re just what a “car nut” like myself likes.

  4. #4 by Bryan - May 12th, 2009 at 08:50

    I will try to answer some of the questions:
    Fuel economy: The Fiesta has mpg displayed on the dash, but it needs to be converted for actual US gallons. I calculate my mileage out by the amount miles driven and fuel consumed. Some agents may be reading the display in the car, causing the numbers to read high. However, it really depends on driving. A few years ago I was able to get my SVT Focus to run 39.8 mpg on the highway on a trip, but only got 24mpg going home from the same trip. Difference, one trip was me having run with the skinny pedal, and the other was me trying to keep the revs down and accelerate very slowly. I would bet that with smooth enough driving, the Fiesta will do very well. I enjoy the car too much to drive it that way. :)

    Price: In training, we were told it would be priced to compete with the Yaris and Fit. I am not sure what that will really mean. I would easily pay into the low to mid 20’s for this car. Having HID’s would get my closer to mid-20’s. My SVT Focus was priced in the mid 20’s and was fully loaded up.

    Seat adjustment: Yes, the seat adjusts up and down. It has a huge range of vertical travel. I should measure it for you. There is a ratcheting lever on the side of the seat that raises and lowers it. My first Focus had a crank, and my SVT has a power switch.

    Yaris vs Fit vs Fiesta: I have not done that yet, but it is planned for this summer. Expect a full video summery when we get that done.

    Release date: Early 2010 or summer 2010 is what I have heard. I expect anytime from March to July for release.

    I will keep trying to do my best to keep you guys well informed on the Fiesta. Thanks for the nice comments and questions!

    Check out http://www.fiestamovement.com/agent22 for more.

  5. #5 by Erik - May 12th, 2009 at 11:16

    Excellent write up Bryan!

    The process you discuss could have been based off of my reactions when I saw your Fiesta.
    Wow on the outside – wow on the inside (touching things) – wow it’s big in here, I’ve got more space than I need (I’m 6’1″ and a big guy) – I want one!

    I’m really interested in seeing where the price points are going to be.
    The Fit ranges from about $15,500 to a little under $20,000.
    Ranging from a Base model with a Manual, to the Sport w/Nav and an Automatic.
    However, the Fiesta actually has options to add, and not just accessories.
    SYNC, rain-sensing wipers, capless fuel fill, leather interior, keyless entry and start, etc…

    Here is my hope:
    I think the Fiesta to should start about $15,500, but extend to just about $22k.
    I just don’t think they could get more for it, unless there are some performance options, or a SVT/RS trim level at some point.
    I’m thinking the FiestaMovement cars are in the 19-19.5 range. Add in $800-$1000 for an automatic, and maybe another $1000 -$1500 for the few options these cars don’t have (sunroof, appearance package, sound system, etc) and you’re at the top of the range I’m thinking.

    I’ll gladly pay about $20,500 for a Fiesta with a manual, SYNC, leather, sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, sport suspension, appearance package, and keyless entry and start.

    If I’m looking above $22,000, I’d hope to be looking at a mid-level 2011 Focus…

    Thanks for the great write up, and I’m looking forward to a Fit/Yaris/Fiesta comparison.
    The next year should be fun watching the progress of this car’s trip to the US. Hopefully it makes it intact, and is able to change the way most American’s view small cars.

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