Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta opens up the highways to all mankind

Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta SE

Henry Ford’s original vision was to open up the highways to all mankind. With a starting price tag of $13,320, the 2011 Ford Fiesta is doing just that with best-in-class fuel-economy figures, technology features that you’d expect from a car priced above $25,000 and outstanding engineering and design in one subcompact package.

Ford had originally developed the Fiesta in the early 70″s to fill the need in the European market for small and efficient vehicles. Such was not the need in America at the time, and the Fiesta was not well received on this side of the Atlantic. The party was short-lived as the Ford Fiesta”s first trip to the states lasted from 1978 to 1980. Fortunately, there is life outside of America for many automobiles, and the Fiesta continued to develop and evolve over in Europe.

The situation has changed, and 40 years later, it is the Americans who seek efficiency and space savings. It is in that vein that Ford decided to bring the Fiesta back, but this time with 40 years of development behind it. Since the Fiesta was last in the American market however, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have all introduced competing models such as the Yaris, Fit, and Versa. That leaves us asking; can the Fiesta re-enter a market of competitors and dominate?

Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta SE:

2011 Ford Fiesta Specifications:

  • Base Price: $13,320.
  • Price as Tested: $16,390.
  • Engine: 1.6L inline 4-cylinder ““ 120-hp and 112 lb-ft of torque.
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual; 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission.
  • Curb Weight: 2,537 lbs.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 10 seconds.
  • Top Speed: 118 mph.
  • Fuel-Economy (city/highway): 28/37 mpg (manual), 29/40 (automatic).

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

2011 Ford Fiesta - Exterior


The 2011 Fiesta is definitely an attractive looking car; much better looking than Toyota”s Yaris, Honda”s Fit, and Nissan”s Versa. “Kinetic design imparts a sense of movement ““ even while standing still ““ harmonizing character elements to reflect global Ford identity,” says Ford of their subcompact offering, and it is ever so visibly present on this incarnation of the Fiesta with its sleek, aggressive, and elegant design elements.

The design of the Fiesta is very detail-centric with Ford”s signature grille reminiscent of an inverted trapezoid, elongated sweeping headlamps that frame and connect the hood to the muscular front fenders, low roofline that opens up beautifully into the rear-spoiler, rear quarter panels equally muscular as the front panels, dramatic honeycomb tail-lamps.

These design cues make the Fiesta the best-looking car in class in terms of both the hatchback and sedan variants.

2011 Ford Fiesta - Interior


As should be expected of any vehicle in this segment, the Fiesta is not exactly roomy. In fact, the lack of interior space is where we feel this car falls short of the competition; the rivals offer roomier back seats and more cargo space in the boot.

The interior design elements however, sing a different tune completely. Your eye is drawn immediately to the center-stack instrument panel, with its ergonomic design, which includes a dial-pad for ease of mobile phone use. In terms of packaging, the front-row features bucket seating, and the second row has standard 60/40 split folding seats. Depending on the trim-level, either leather or cloth upholstery is offered, with the higher-end model featuring a sporty contrast accent color piping.

There are a number of standard and optional interior features available on the Fiesta including Ford”s SYNC connectivity system, which integrates the driver”s mobile device with an onboard phone system that features voice-activated communication push-button start, adjustable cup-holders that equally hold a Red Bull can or Big Gulp, power moonroof and even heated seats.

In general, Ford put a lot of soft-touch materials that seem to be well-assembled. That is not to say however, that you should expect to find an interior akin to a Volkswagen Golf – you won”t.

What were the little things that pleased us or annoyed us about the inside? One of our favorite little pluses on the inside of the Fiesta is the three-click indicator courtesy lane change feature – not a deal maker, but convenient nonetheless. Our least favorite is the placement of the USB/AUX input – right in front of the cup holder, without the ability to tuck it away in the armrest.

2011 Ford Fiesta - Powertrain


The 2011 Ford Fiesta draws its power from a 1.6-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine that puts out 120 horses at 6,350 rpm and 112 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. That puts the Fiesta right in the middle of the class when compared to the 106-hp Yaris, 117-hp Fit, and 122-hp Versa.

While Ford uses wordage like “˜spirited performance”, the Fiesta is by no means a performance vehicle. It”s a subcompact vehicle that is all about fuel-efficiency, and as such, should not be expected to offer high-performance. However, because the vehicle is a product of engineering by Ford of Europe, one can expect some zip, nimble handling, and European driving dynamics courtesy of specially tuned front-struts, bushings, dampers, stabilizer bars, and a rear twist-beam axle.

But if you really must know the performance numbers on the Fiesta, it takes about 10-seconds to attain to 60 mph, so give yourself plenty of acceleration time for those impromptu street races. Speed tops out at 118 mph.

While on the topic of speed; we feel compelled to mention how well the Fiesta handles on the highway while traveling at high-speeds. Obviously, no one expects a car of this size to give for a solid feeling ride on the highway, but the Fiesta does.

Another area where the Fiesta stands out is fuel-economy and saving money. Mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission, the Fiesta returns a respective EPA estimated 28/37 mpg and 29/40 mpg, a clear-cut best-in-class. Throughout the course of our five-week test, we managed a spectacularly efficient average of 31 mpg. And no, we were not aiming for efficiency.

2010 Ford Fiesta - Rear View


So back to our original inquiry as to whether the Fiesta can dominate. We think it can, and we do think it is the “˜big deal” that Ford says it is.

Ford custom tailored the Fiesta to meet the needs and demands of the modern consumer; a decidedly different consumer than would have been in the era the first compacts fell states side.

“Customers are savvy. They want expressive cars that deliver not just great fuel economy, but also high quality, new technologies and a fun driving experience,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We plan to answer the call with Fiesta ““ an all-new vehicle in North America we hope will set a new standard for small cars.”

Let us also not forget the fact that the 2011 Fiesta was the best-selling car in Europe for March and the entire first-quarter in 2011.

MSRP in the United States starts at $13,320 for the Fiesta S Sedan with a 5-speed manual and $15,120 for the Fiesta SE Hatch. The top of the line Ford Fiesta SEL sedan starts at $16,320, while the Fiesta SES Hatch starts at $17,120.

Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta SE:

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

– By: Stephen Calogera