Posts Tagged ford fiesta

North American Fiesta vs European Fiesta

  

             Well, the US Fiesta is not the EU Fiesta, and some of that is for the better. So much of the US Fiesta has been improved on over the version from across the pond. The biggest improvements are on the inside, where my expectations where exceeded in just about every square inch of the interior. Where the US car falls short is that the fun to drive factor has been halved.

            When I took delivery of the EU Fiesta over a year ago, I noticed how quick the car responded to the slightest blip of the throttle. The car felt very quick to accelerate around town, and it was a blast to go bombing down highway on ramps. The EU Fiesta had a close ratio gearbox, and an engine that was tuned more for fun than MPG. That was exactly how I like my cars! The Fiesta had wonderful mid-range power, and the gear ratio’s were close enough to make 3rd usable on twisty roads. This is where the US Fiesta suffers the most. The power band has moved to places only F1 cars and Honda’s live. The gear spacing is far enough apart that it feels like you went from 2nd to 4th and forgot there was a 3rd gear. The US Fiesta lacks the punchy acceleration around town, and also lacks a powerband that makes the car fun in the twisty bits. The suspension is still amazing on the US car, but the engine tuning and gearbox hinder the car to the point where the suspension can’t get a good work out. I am hoping some engine remapping and some slight modifications will increase the mid range power so that the gear ratio gaps don’t feel as big. In order to get anything usable out of 3rd gear, you need to rev 2nd to near redline, or else the shift into 3rd feels like you just deployed a parachute.

            Now that the biggest fault of the new Fiesta has been discussed, its time to move to what they got right. The interior is awesome! I thought the EU one was good, and I felt it needed very little improvement. I was shocked at how many things were improved on the US car. The seats feel like they were stolen from a Mercedes. The gaps on all the plastic trim is tight with practically zero overhangs. Even the silver paint used on the trim is very upscale looking. So far, the only faults with the interior are the lack of “Oh sh*t” handles, loss of volume control on the steering wheel, and no hooks to hang a suit coat. Yeah, that is about it for faults. The steering wheel design is not as good, and the thumb rests are not as pronounced as they were on the EU design. After driving for a few weeks, I am used to the redesigned steering wheel and find it to be ok. The lack of volume control on the wheel is very annoying since I am always hitting the “phone” button thinking it’s the volume up button. Sync is working well, but there is a steep learning curve to figure it all out. The seats are well supportive and very comfortable, and are not too soft to mask what the car is doing underneath you. The team that worked on the interior did a great job.

            The exterior is beginning to grow on me and some people actually like the US bumpers better than the EU ones. I prefer the shorter overhang, larger air intakes, and the fog lamps. Adding the body kit has really helped, and so did wrapping the chrome LED bezels with black. I am slowly getting used to the US nose, and its growing on me. I used to really dislike it, but it’s not that bad. The quality of the exterior is outstanding and all the gaps look to be very equal. A nice addition is the clear bra that is added to a few spots that were chipped on the EU Fiesta. Sadly, I covered up the entire clear bra with the body kit, so I will need to order some bulk clear to add some chip protection.

            Overall, the US Fiesta is a great car. The average consumer probably will never notice the gear ratio gaps or the lack of punch since they never drove the EU version. The US Fiesta is very refined, quiet, and good mannered for a daily commute. I miss raw punch of the EU Fiesta that made the car feel like a go kart with a roof, but I do enjoy the refinements in the cabin. If Ford could have blended the gearbox and engine from the EU car into the US version, they would have the absolute perfect car. The obsession with MPG numbers chased away the fun cogs and replaced them with a set of boring ones. I am sure I can find a way to make a few changes to the car to bring some of the fun back. Thankfully, the rest of the car is wonderful and needs no improvement. The car has a good balance that should make many consumers happy on our side of the pond.

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Fiesta #707 Update 6/15/10

Fiesta #707 passed thru Laredo Texas over the weekend, and is heading north via train to the mixing station. ETA is set for anytime between 6/28 and 6/30. Modifications will start as soon as the car arrives, and will include a 3D Carbon body kit, Axis Touring Cup wheels, Ford of Europe rear spoiler, Ford alloy pedal pads, and removal of all the chrome bits. Should be a great looking car by July 4th!

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Getting Ready to say Goodbye

               How quickly a year goes by! It is hard to fathom that a year ago I was arriving in Chicago to take delivery of a 2010 Ford Fiesta. The amount of work, tears, and joy that lead to that event was something most people will never experience. Some know the struggle that took place behind the scenes, and others may not. In the end, a team came together, and I ended up in Chicago to help introduce a car I have been dreaming about since the Verve concept was shown in Geneva.

            The first night in Chicago was spent meeting the other agents, many of which I have become friends with online and we continue to talk about cars and life. The next morning was the technical briefing, which had me jotting down notes and asking questions at every opportunity. After all, I had been planning on buying one before the program was ever dreamed of. We were loaded onto buses and driven to Shed’s Aquarium and the planetarium. Rows upon rows of European spec Ford Fiesta’s sat glowing in the dark overcast day. Each of us had our key fobs, and were dispatched to find our Fiesta. After a few tries, I found a Hot Magenta 5 door Fiesta with leather sitting with two other cars. Instantly I fell in love, and after going for the sign-off drive, I was ready to head home. I now understand what it must be like to be a father.

            It is strange to think that day was a year ago, and now I must prepare to say goodbye to a car I have loved so much. Being a part of the Fiesta Movement has been a wonderful experience that took me many places and introduced me to some great people. There was stress involved trying to balance family, work, and school. In the end, it was all worth it. I can’t thank Ford Motor Company enough for the opportunity they gave me. I am forever in the debt of those who worked hard to get me my Fiesta. I am thankful for the great people at Mission Control who where there to help me along the way. I am honored to have such great friends that I have met thru this program.

            Some people may have signed up for the Fiesta Movement in search of fame, some just wanted a free car, others looked at it as a door opener for future endeavors, but for me, it was for the Fiesta. There was no interest in gaining fame or exposure for myself. The reason I wanted to be part of the Fiesta Movement was to accomplish a life time goal. I wanted to drive a pure European Ford. After realizing how great the car was, my mission changed to doing whatever it took to preserve the dynamics and feel of the European model for our market. I may have stepped on some toes and turned people off, but I was always honest and direct with my thoughts. I decided to make sure I would have a say in my next car, and for every other Ford enthusiast who has begged for a model from Europe. As reports start flowing in for the US model, I can start to relax and think I may have helped preserve the soul of the European model for the US Fiesta.

            As I celebrate my one year anniversary with my Fiesta, I know that it is with great sadness since I need to return her in the very near future. I had worried that I was saying goodbye to the car I always wanted, but now it seems that Ford is making one for me. My attention now shifts to the future, where soon a white 5-door hatch will roll off the production line. My new baby will be built soon, and she is coming home. I will never forget the time I spent with the Hot Magenta Fiesta, and I hope she finds a safe place to live. She was the star of my videos, the center of my blogs, the subject of many of my tweets, and the focus of so many of my pictures. She has been driven hard on tarmac, gravel, and on ice. She raced thru narrow snow covered paths in the woods on the way to catch a glimpse of rally cars. She dodged cones (and hit a few) on autocross circuits. She lapped GingerMan Raceway and seemed to beg for more. The Fiesta did everything I asked of her, and she will be greatly missed.

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MONSTER WORLD RALLY TEAM

CONTACT: Brian Scotto Marketing Director Monster World Rally Team brian@monsterworldrallyteam.com

KEN BLOCK AND ALEX GELSOMINO IMPRESS ON THEIR WRC DEBUT AT RALLY MEXICO

March 24th, 2010, Brooklyn, NY- When Ken Block threw his flat-brimmed hat into the World Rally Championship ring earlier this year, expectations were mixed. But three weeks ago, at Rally Mexico-Monster World Rally Teamʼs inaugural WRC race-Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino proved that they have what it takes to become a competitive force on the world stage.

“We even surprised ourselves, when, after the first few stages, we were not only not dead last, but we were keeping pace with a few veteran WRC drivers, and even ahead of F1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen,” says Ken Block.

By the end of the first leg, on Friday, Block and Gelsomino had secured a position on the leaderboard for the American flag to fly. Unfortunately, an off on the first stage of Day 2, left the Monster Energy Ford Focus RS WRC unable to continue. “It was a rookie mistake,” says Block. “We should have noted the change in surface, the section went from a grippy dirt road to very loose gravel and there was just no traction at all, especially for the speed we were trying to carry into the next turn.”

Thanks to SuperRally rules, which allow competitors to return to the stages the following day along with some heavy time penalties, Block and Gelsomino were at it again on Sunday morning. The two put on a repeat performance of Day 1, finishing stage 19, eighth fastest, with a 13.7 second gap between them and ninth place. Then, on stage 21, the Monster World Rally Team shocked naysayers once more, being second fastest on the road after the first split. But, a puncture caused by an unfortunate meeting of rim and rock later on this stage, robbed Block and Gelsomino of over a minute.

“In the WRC, we had heard of Ken Block, but more for his stunts than his driving, but after his performance in Mexico, I think it is very clear to everyone that he has the potential to become a competitive WRC driver,” says M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson. “For his first WRC event, he did extremely well.”

“Ken is shining a bright light on what we at Ford have always known…that Ford makes the best fun-to-drive small cars in the world,” says Ford Racing Director Jamie Allison. “Ken’s rally efforts globally with Fiesta and Focus help us to tell that story to a new generation of car enthusiasts and it’s great to see Ken, as the lone American, competing at the highest level in WRC and showcasing his great rally talent. All of which will help expand the appeal of the sport in the U.S.”

The next WRC round for MWRT will be Rally Turkey, on April 16-18. Until then, follow the team at monsterworldrallyteam.com

For official television coverage of the 2010 World Rally Championship in the U.S. tune into HD Theater (Check local listings for repeat broadcasts of the Rally Mexico Event Highlights this week).

About Ken Block

Ken Blockʼs rally career began in 2005. His skill and car control became quickly apparent and Block aptly nabbed Rookie of the Year in the Rally America Championship. Since then, Block has continued to race in the series, boasting a healthy number of podium appearances, as well as X Games medals. In addition to his performance in the car, Block has been a driving force in shedding light on the sport within the United States. Block co-founded DC Shoes, a worldwide leader in performance skateboarding shoes and a renowned action sports brand. His keen branding and marketing acumen not only elevated DC to their current eminent status, but has allowed Block to achieve global fame as a national rally driver through his wildly successful viral video campaigns. Ad Age named his “Gymkhana TWO” the No. 4 Viral Video of 2009. In January 2010, Block signed with Ford Motor Company to campaign both the Rally America series and the World Rally Championship, being the first American to do so.

About Monster World Rally Team: Created and assembled by Ken Block, the object of the Monster World Rally Team is to redefine the race-team archetype. The team is driven not only to win, but to also market motorsport through innovative, creative and interactive ways. The goal: To become the best- known team in the WRC and bring rally to the masses along the way. The team is supported by Monster Energy, Ford Motor Company, DC Shoes, Castrol Edge, Pirelli Tires and the Dirt2 videogame. monsterworldrallyteam.com

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Analysis of the US spec Ford Fiesta

             Going to the North American International Auto Show gave me the opportunity to really study the 2011 US Spec Ford Fiesta. I was kept very busy during the LA Auto Show, and never really had a chance to analyze the US version. The NAIAS would give me the time to look over items that you just can’t see in photographs and ask questions that I have been thinking about since the LA Auto Show a month ago.

            For the exterior of the US Fiesta, I have really noticed that the chrome LED housings look better on the sedan than the hatchback. The chrome housings match very well with the chrome upper grille. Where they don’t fit is on the hatchback. There is no chrome on the bumper to tie into, and they look misplaced. This is the most apparent on the white “tuner” Fiesta that includes the black LED housings instead of the chrome. Instantly the car looks more sporty, aggressive, and younger. The chrome housings on the other hatches on display look less sporty and don’t fit the image of the hatchback model. On the sedan with its more grown-up demeanor and chrome upper grille, the LED housings look fine. Removing the chrome LED housings on the upper trim level Fiesta hatchback is what I recommend be done. In fact, regardless of what the factory does, I am planning on removing them on my car. The front bumper looks more aggressive with them black rather than chrome.

 

            Climbing into the interior, I noticed something else about the US Fiesta, something that really shocked me. The doors on the US spec car close with a much more solid feel than those on the EU version. I tried multiple doors on both US and EU models at the show, and the US car sounded more solid every time. I am not sure what was changed, but I am happy they changed it! Compared to my SVT Focus, the Fiesta’s doors seems to sound cheaper when I close them. The US Fiesta has that same solid sound that my Focus has, and it really makes you feel like you are climbing into a premium car.

 

            I spent more time in the interior, going over the feel of the controls and materials. The seats are surely more comfortable with more kidney support than the EU seats. The leather is also softer and feels richer than the EU version. I also tried the seat back adjustment lever, which was something I was against from day one. I was happy to find that the seat lever works well, and it is easy to fine tune the driver position. I was very impressed! The steering wheel suffers in the looks department, but makes up for it in feel. The thicker rim is nice and the material feels more upscale. The thumb rests don’t appear to be as well defined on the US steering wheel, which is too bad. The redesigned center console includes extra power points, which is nice since the EU version only has one. The USB inlet also looks to be in a better position on the US console than the European version. The lighted cup holders are just ok, and I would have preferred the overhead lights from the European model.

 

            There are some things that did suffer on the US interior. The EU glove box has a very well designed clip that holds parking permits and other credit card sized documents. That feature is sadly missing from the US glove box. I do have to say that the US version looks much bigger, but gives up some of the organizing features of the EU version. The knobs for the HVAC on the show cars did not seem to have the same feel as the EU version when they were cycled. In some regards, they did not feel as tight and precise to move. Chances are good that these early models have test parts and are not fully representative of the production version. By no means are the knobs bad, just not as precise as I would expect. The large center knob is also annoying to use compared to the buttons on the Fiesta Movement cars. The knob is the same that is used in Europe for cars not equipped with automatic HVAC. The temp display is also missing from the HVAC controller, which is really too bad. The buttons and temp display were part of the automatic HVAC, and that is why they are gone. Both will be missed.

           

            Another really nice feature of the European Fiesta is the rear seat belt buckle receptacle located in the C-Pillar. This allowed for the male end of the buckle to rest in a slot just below the rear window. I loved this feature since it kept the belts from banging into the plastic trim while driving. Since we are discussing the back seat area, it is worth noting that the rear head rests don’t slide up and down like the EU version. When the back seats are not used, the EU headrests push down to be almost flat along the top of the rear seat. This is not the case with the US version, and there is some restricted viewing out the rear view mirror. Surprisingly, the view is not as restricted as I would have thought on the US version. Leaving the EU head rests in their up position gives really poor visibility out the back. Not so with the US version, proving the designers worked hard to find a good balance of visibility and rear headrest comfort.

 

            The door panels are another area that was improved on the US Fiesta and they feature well padded arm rests built into the sides. The material where your elbows would rest on a long trip is very soft and is either leather or cloth depending on your seating surfaces. Both felt great, and are a welcomed change. The dash material is still the soft touch dash of the EU version, which I am sure is blowing the minds of all the nay-sayers on the Fiesta forums. Yes Virginia, the dash is soft and not hard plastic. I also noticed that the plastic trim around the radio controls, dash, and center display fit better than the EU car. The gaps are smaller and the pieces fit together much better. Another job well done!

            Overall, the US Fiesta received some very nice improvements. The European Fiesta is an outstanding car, and some of the improvements for the US market just make it that much better. The lack of an on/off switch for traction and ESC is still a huge drawback on both versions. I am hoping a solution can be found for the US version by the time the car goes into production. Everything I saw at the NAIAS concerning the Fiesta just serves to get me even more excited to take delivery of mine this spring. I will be even more excited if the chrome is gone and I can turn off the ESC! (hint, hint)

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Driving the Fiesta at night.

 

            Sorry I have been absent from writing reviews of the Fiesta, but school and work have been keeping me very busy! One topic that I have not really touched on concerning the Fiesta is what it is like to drive it at night. I am enrolled in night classes at Ferris State, so twice a week I have the opportunity to spend about an hour driving the car at night. The interior accent lighting of the Fiesta really makes for a fun night driving experience. Above the center console, located on the ceiling are two small red lights that illuminate the shifter area. Under the passenger side air bag sits a row of red lights that make the passenger foot well glow. The entire center stack and HVAC is illuminated in the soft glow of red light. All of this red is sharply contrasted by the brilliant white light of the instrument cluster. The numbers on the gauges is reflected onto the silver gauge pods. The needles are a bright red and easy to see with a quick glance down at the gauges. The cockpit of the Fiesta is more like a fighter plane than a car with all of the red light glowing around you.

            Another nice feature on the Fiesta is the projector headlamps, which I hope will be available on the US version of the car. The headlights have a sharp cut-off, much like the E-Code headlamps I imported from Europe that I installed on my Mustang. The high-beams are also outstanding! A quick pull back on the multi-function stalk activates the high beams, which seems to make the night turn into day. The fog lamps mounted low on the front bumper also do a great job of illuminating the area in front of the car that is normally missed from the headlights. They also provide a wider angle of illumination than the headlights, making them ideal for dense fog and rain driving. If things get really bad, the rear mounted fog lamp can be activated to let cars behind you know where you are. I have used this feature a number of times in dense fog and heavy rain, where visibility is compromised. This is truly an outstanding safety feature that is missed on all American cars. Apparently, Americans prefer to not be seen so they can be crashed into. Great for insurance companies, but that is about it. We truly have the worst laws when it comes to driving safety, but what do you expect from a bunch of elected officials that argue and point fingers all day. Ok, I will get off of my soap box.  

            One item that will most likely be removed from the US Fiesta is the side mounted turn signals on the mirrors. I find these to be very useful for letting people know your intentions when they are along the side of you. The signals are mounted high enough for people to see them when they are along side of you. They are another great safety feature that improves visibility, but will be left in Europe. I never understood why all European cars have side marking turn signals on the front fenders, but it never caught on here in the states. We live in a strange place. The next feature of the Fiesta that really aids night driving is the auto-dimming rear view mirror. This is something I doubt will make US production since it is expensive and is usually reserved for people who spend the big bucks for a car, truck, or SUV. As light is picked up by the mirror, it automatically dims to remove glare from the driver’s eyes. As the light increases in intensity, the mirror dims some more. Once the light source is gone, the mirror returns to its non-dimmed state. It amazes me how fast the mirror reacts to light.

            Overall, driving the Fiesta at night is kind of exciting! Everything is included to make for a safe driving experience as well as one that is fun. The interaction of the red accent lighting with the brilliant white gauges looks very exotic and high tech. The large red LED display on the center stack is something that looks like it is from a fighter plane. Safety features such as the auto dimming rear view mirror, projector headlamps, mirror mounted turn signals, and low mounted fog lamps increase visibility and assist the driver. Everything works together and shows how well engineered the Fiesta is. Nothing was overlooked or forgotten when the Fiesta was designed. We can only hope they don’t forget some of these things on the US version.

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Elegance of Design

 

            The other night I was stopped in the parking lot at the golf course by some gentlemen asking about the Fiesta. They were very impressed with the well appointed interior and the styling. Wherever I go with the Fiesta, people are always shocked to see such how nice the car is. Many of them remember small cars of the past, and a few current ones, that looked like the automakers were forced to make something small and fuel efficient. Car companies spent very little time designing and engineering the cars, and just focused on making them as cheap as possible with little regard for anything else. Not so with the Fiesta.

            What strikes people first is how elegant and eye catching the body is. The large front lower air intake centered between swept back headlamp housings. A sharp body character line that starts at the sides of the front bumper and extends thru the belt line. Body colored door handles with chrome accents around the base of the greenhouse really add sophistication to the body. The lower grille really makes the Fiesta look aggressive, without being arrogant like many other car designs. The outside is like 007 when wearing his tuxedo, rather than a WWE wrestler. Sophisticated, elegant, high-class, and balanced is the best way to describe the Fiesta.

            Once you open the doors, and stun them with the keyless entry, their eyes grow bigger at the sight of the interior. Gone is the hard glossy plastic of other small cars. Leather wraps the seats and sides of the steering wheel. The shift knob is a nice mix of leather, chrome trim, and silver. The gauge cluster is very futuristic, but still maintains sophistication with its long red needles and well-proportioned fonts. Questions always come up when people see the center stack and 4″ LCD display. They want to know what the buttons do and what the screen is for. Everyone is pleasantly surprised at the news that the Fiesta has Bluetooth connectivity and an iPod interface. All of this in a small car? Yes, this is what the Fiesta is all about.

            People don’t even have to drive the Fiesta to see what a huge departure it is from other small cars. No longer does the interior look like it was made from the cheapest materials on earth. The body doesn’t look bubbly or out of proportion. The Fiesta doesn’t look “cute”, it looks elegant and purposeful. The car is in perfect balance with a strong visual presence, modern technology, and materials. If you love the way it looks, wait to you drive it!

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“Please Feed the Animals” Donation Day with the 2011 Ford Fiesta

“Please Feed the Animals” Donation Day with the 2011 Ford Fiesta

Come see the 2011 Ford Fiesta, and help area animal shelters for Fiesta Mission #4

 

Saturday August 15th 12pm-2pm

Tri Cities Credit Union

905 Pennoyer Ave

Grand Haven, MI

 

Description 

Here is your chance to check out the new 2011 Ford Fiesta and help a great cause at the same time. For the August Mission, I have teamed up with local animal shelters and the Tri Cities Credit Union to host a donation event. Our goal is to receive enough donations to fill the entire Ford Fiesta with pet supplies! I need your help to reach this goal, so please mark your calendars and bring some supplies to help sheltered pets.

Here are some items the shelters are looking for;
Cat Litter
Canned wet dog/cat food
Paper towels
Cloth towels (beach, hand, ect)
Bleach
Antibacterial Hand Soap
20-lb white copy paper
Blankets
Dog/Cat treats
Garbage bags
Stainless steel cat/dog dishes
Rabbit Food
Hand sanitizer
Dog Toys
New/Used Cat carriers
Litter boxes
Band-aids
Stamps
Cotton Balls
Gas Cards

Cash donations

The event will be featured as a Fiesta Movement Mission Video on YouTube. For more information about the Fiesta Movement, please see www.fiestamovement.com/agent22

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1404346668&ref=name#/event.php?eid=155467441144&ref=mf

 

Hope to see everyone on Saturday, and please bring some supplies to donate. This is a great opportunity to see the new Ford Fiesta and help animals in need. If you can’t make the event, but still would like to donate, please email me at Bryan@racetech0722.com and we can work out the details. Donations can also be dropped off at the Tri Cities Credit Union during business hours.

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Tom Helner Test Drive

 

One of the nice things about the Fiesta Movement is that I get to meet and interact with all sorts of different people who are interested in the Fiesta. For the most part, many of them are just like me. Some I have met in person and some live outside the United States and rely on Facebook for communication. Then are those that I have met on Facebook, but live close enough to meet in person. One of which is Tom Helner. Tom contacted me on Facebook many months ago by sending me an article about the Fiesta Sport model being introduced in Europe. As a huge fan of the Fiesta with the aero package, not to mention I am a fan of anything Ford that is in Europe, I enjoyed the article he sent.

Yesterday, Tom was in town visiting family and had a few minutes to check out the Fiesta. His comments mimicked what most people say about the Fiesta; “any chance for a 3-door?” “How much of the car will change for the US version?” “An EcoBoost version sure would be great!” and “The Fiesta is stunning in person!” Tom and I talked about what possible changes the US car would get, and tried to figure out why anyone would want to make any changes to the Fiesta. As most car guys do, we studied the back of the engine compartment to see how much room there would be for a turbo. Tom sat in the seats and noted how good they are, and how the lower seat could use more bolstering and not less. Being a European car fan, he wanted to see the rear mounted fog lamp, which will sadly be missing from our version. Tom has had a few VW’s over the years, including a Gti, so he is wondering how the new Ford will compare. This morning I got a message from Tom on my Facebook page, and I thought it was worth sharing.

 

“Thanks again Bryan! It dawned on me on the way home that the drive up there, the Fiesta drive and the drive back was the first “fun” drives that I have had in a long time. That old 30 mile Detroit commute really kills the fun in driving, and the roads here are just SO much more fun!

Let me know if you make it to Dearborn again….I owe you a beer!”

 

            What really struck me is that Tom said it was the “first fun drive” he has had in a long time. That is the essence of the new Fiesta. It is a fun car to drive, it brings joy back to being in a car. Many people have no passion for driving, no passion for the car. People buy a car to get from point A to B with the least amount of interaction as possible. I don’t understand people like that. I want to be part of the driving experience! I want to feel what the car is doing, feel each mechanical devise as it functions, feel the tires as they interact with the road surface. The Fiesta provides that type of driving enjoyment! It is a car designed for people who like to drive. Very few automakers manufacture cars for people who actually enjoy driving. Too many cars isolate the driver from what the car is doing, and turns the driver into a passenger. I will never own a car like that, and there are many more who think like I do. If you have not driven a new Fiesta yet, please find a way to do so. You will be reminded of the fun that a pure driver’s car delivers!

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Post-Test Drive Thoughts

 

The other day, a user by the name of RT posted this excellent review of a Fiesta he test drove during a Ride/Drive event. Besides the thoughts about the arm rest, I agree with his comments about the Fiesta. I am not sure if all Fiesta’s have the telescoping wheel, but my Fiesta Movement car does have it. There is also tons of adjustment with the telescoping wheel, more so than other cars I have driven. His tester may have not had this option. Below is his review, with my comments added.

 

Bryan,
Thanks for the detailed thoughts on your loaner Fiesta. They are very worthwhile.

I went to the Fiesta Movement Ride & Drive at Venice Beach this morning, and test drove the automatic Fiesta with ~98 hp (the manual ones had the 1.6Ti-VCT. Here are my thoughts.

Power: I was very surprised at how quickly a car with so little power and a 4 speed autobox could get up to speed. It’s slow, sure, but not as slow as I was prepared for it to be. The autobox is decidedly mediocre, but Ford has already announced that 6 speed Powershift is coming, so that isn’t a worry. I think the ~118 hp 1.6 engine ought to be adequate, but who wouldn’t want more power (see below)?

Ride/Handling: What I was impressed with was the steering and handling. The directness and transparency of the steering was a surprise. It is step or two better than the Fit, and I thought the Fit was really good. If the steering has a demerit, it’s that it feels a bit artificial, but I guess that is unavoidable with electric steering. Nonetheless, most hydraulic steering cars that I’ve driven do not have this amount of precision, so this is a minor complaint. The car cornered quite flatly (the only lean clearly came from the 15″ tires’ sidewalls, which is an easy fix: get 16’s), and the car changed direction rapidly with zero drama. The ride was surprisingly comfortable without being floaty, which was really nice. I didn’t have a chance to take it on the freeway, but it was plenty stable at 50 mph and from my conversation with the FM representative, it’s pretty stable at freeway speeds, which is good, since I found the Fit a little skittish at freeway speeds.
One of my friends has a Mini Cooper S that I had the opportunity to drive a good bit, and while the Fiesta obviously doesn’t handle as good as the Cooper S, I prefer the way it drives and handles. While the Mini is stellar, is a very nervous car, and its nervousness, combined with the flintiness of the ride, was off-putting to me. I doubt that I could live with the Mini every day, while even in just a 20 minute spin around the streets of Venice, I became confident that I could live with the Fiesta every day from a ride/handling perspective.

RT, I have to agree with your assessment about the precision of the steering. Only my Mustang with its race spec suspension and needle bearing steering shaft has steering that is as good as the Fiesta has from the factory. The tires also give outstanding road feel, which translates into a car that is very confident when pushed. While autocrossing or on the track, the Fiesta feels like it is an extension of my arms and responds instantly to my commands. This car is truly meant for people who like to drive! I have driven a Mini Cooper S, and found the ride to be harsh compared to my SVT Focus and the Fiesta. I thought I would like the Cooper S more after driving one, but felt it wasn’t as good as my SVT Focus. I did not get a chance to really push the Cooper, so I am not sure how it compares.

Interior: I like the Fiesta’s interior. It seems plenty intuitive to me. The controls had a good feel to them, the instruments were intuitive and legible, and both and are logically located. Exterior visibility is also excellent. The front seat was very easy to get into position and quite comfortable. It could do with a longer thigh cushion, though, and a bit more bolstering. Otherwise, I really liked the front seats, and am pretty sure that I could settle in for a long haul in them. The only two demerits I have for the front seats are that the material along the window sill, which is where I like put my elbow when cruising, is plasticky and rough and that the car does not have an armrest between the seats. The former is unlikely to get fixed, but the aftermarket can fix the latter is Ford won’t.
From the driver’s seat perspective, the Fiesta outclasses the Fit and Cooper in my opinion. The Fit has good seats and instruments, and stellar visibility. The stereo is fiddly, however, and the steering wheel doesn’t telescope, making it a bit harder to get a seating position that is completely comfortable. The Mini has awesome seats (especially the sports seats), but visibility isn’t as good, and the controls are awkwardly placed and the instrument placement is terrible.
Moving to the back, the rear bench is comfortable enough, but it isn’t as good as the Fit in comfort: the Fit’s higher roof and slight increase in leg room makes a big difference in such small cars (I’m not going to even bother discussing the Mini here). The cargo space is also excellent (it can fit as much with the seats up as my e46 323i), but again the Fit outclasses it in this respect. The Fit has ungodly amounts of cargo space for such a small car, and the trick fold flat seats and foldable rear bench are really nice.

I also wish for more bolstering, as the seats allow me to slide around too much during “spirited” driving. I have heard the seats will have less bolstering and will be more flat than the EU cars. That is sad because I will slide all over in them. I am not a fan of center arm rests as they always get in the way. Perhaps I have not driven a car with a good one, so I am very much against having an obstruction behind the gear lever. I do have to agree about the Cooper’s interior. I really liked the Mini, until I drove one and realized how cheap the interior felt. I did not care for the layout of the dash, but loved the toggle switches. The first gen Focus has a much better interior, and the EU spec Fiesta is outstanding compared to the Cooper. For me, the Fiesta is fine for rear cargo room since it passed the test of hauling 4 race slicks and all of the equipment needed for a day at the track.

Here was the interesting bit: I went on my drive with the site manager, and he said that the Fiesta WILL be available with an Ecoboost engine, possibly at launch. I’m hoping he has good information, because ~150 hp in the Fiesta would be incredible. If not, then aftermarket companies are going to have a field day with this car: it has plenty of under hood space, so Saleen, Roush, Mountune, etc. have plenty of space to play with.

The subject about the EcoBoost engines is still an unknown as I hear the Focus will launch with the EcoBoost, but the Fiesta will not. I have also heard the exact opposite, so nobody is really saying what is going on. There is no doubt than an EcoBoost Fiesta will be a blast. I just hope the US version isn’t so stripped down that nobody will want it, regardless of the engine. I would rather lose the turbo and keep the leather, keyless starting, and the options from Europe. The worst will be to lose the nice options, get a stripped down car, and not have a performance option. At that point, Ford just made an Aveo with an oval on the bumper.

My preliminary assessment comparing the Fiesta and Fit is that the Fiesta has (for the price and class) an excellent driving experience combined with adequate passenger accommodations and cargo space, while the Fit has a solid driving experience combined with very good passenger accommodations and cargo space.

Thanks RT for your detailed description! Before I give the Fiesta back, I need to go out and drive a Fit to compare. For me, the Fit is too pedestrian looking and I am not attracted to it. The style of the Fiesta draws me in, and then driving it solidifies how much I like the car. I just hope the US car isn’t stripped down; otherwise it will just be another failed attempt at a world car.

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