Ford Fiesta Performance
In SE and SES trims, the 2011 Fiesta Hatch (starting MSRP $15,120), hits dealerships with a strikingly sporty design, spirited performance specs and a carefully crafted, high-quality interior that many of its competitors seem to be lacking. The all-new Fiesta comes in three four-door sedan versions, in addition to the flexible and athletic five-door hatchback trims.
The Fiesta Hatch’s body style strikes a particularly pleasing balance between rowdy and refined. Its three-bar, body-colored grille and dragon’s-eye headlamps, optional premium wheels, decklid spoiler and bold color choices grab attention and immediately separate the Fiesta from a sea of compact competitors, but it’s the Hatch’s subtle exterior enhancements that make it so appealing. A low front end, upswept tail, wide stance and razor-slash side character line give the Fiesta an athletic presence while available chrome moldings and LED parking lamps add a hint of sophistication.
Under the hood, both trims sport Ford’s advanced 1.6-liter Duratec® inline four-cylinder engine with Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT), which makes 120 hp and 112 lb/ft of torque (more than competing models from Honda and Toyota) through a standard five-speed manual or optional, North American industry-exclusive six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission. In addition to smooth, precise gear transitions, the quick-shifting twin-clutch six-speed also helps deliver what’s expected to be best-in-class fuel economy of 40 highway mpg (on SE trims equipped with an available Super Fuel Economy Package, which offers enhanced aerodynamics through the use of items like underbody shields).
One of the Fiesta’s most impressive features is its remarkably stiff and painstakingly tuned chassis, which complements the Hatch’s balanced stance and corner-mounted wheels with fun, nimble handling. Adopting a dynamic MacPherson strut front suspension (with sway bar) and twist beam rear suspension setup, the Ford implements standard Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) with what’s known as active nibble control, a software-based addition designed to help lessen road vibration and provide a smoother, more confident ride. EPAS’ Pull-Drift Compensation helps the Fiesta combat uneven roads and crosswinds; both nibble control and Pull-Drift Compensation are class-exclusives. The performance-savvy Fiesta comes standard with Ford’s AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control (ESC), which helps limit wheel slip and skidding around tight corners, and offers available class-exclusive Hill Start Assist feature as well. Ford’s Easy Fuel™ capless fuel-filler system is yet another North American industry-exclusive feature, and it’s standard on the 2011 Fiesta.
Inside, the 2011 Fiesta’s surprisingly spacious cabin is refined, carefully crafted with premium materials and specially designed to mitigate harsh engine and road noise (you can thank the double-layered door seals, laminated windshield, foam-filled beams and aerodynamically designed exterior features for that). There is a noticeable sense of quality within the compact’s nicely-appointed and thoughtful interior with soft-touch materials, available, class-exclusive, leather-trimmed heated front seats, attractive ambient lighting and a modern, metallic-trimmed cockpit design (cleanly and succinctly modeled after a cell phone). In addition to innovative storage options throughout the cabin (for everything from beverages and cell phones to concert tickets and MP3 players), the Fiesta’s folding rear seats unlock 26 cubic feet of versatile cargo space.
There’s no shortage of innovation options within the Fiesta either. Atop the center stack, you’ll find Ford’s class-exclusive LCD message center with easy-to-see and control audio, phone and data readouts. An available 80-watt audio system (standard on the SES) integrates SIRIUS Satellite Radio, as well as Ford’s optional SYNC® system, an intuitive, voice-activated communication and information system that allows for everything from hands-free phone calls and audio system control to real-time traffic, weather and news. For enhanced safety, SYNC also provides audible text messages, vehicle health reports and 911 Assist™, should airbags deploy.
In fact, the only thing Ford’s flexible Fiesta is inflexible on is its approach to safety. The Fiesta employs a remarkably rigid and unyielding safety cage made from high-strength boron steel, and backs its space-age frame with a Safety Canopy® System that includes seven standard airbags (more than any other vehicle in its class). Blind Spot Mirrors, integrated unobtrusively into the corners of the Fiesta’s rearview mirrors, enhance visibility, and the hatch also comes standard with a tire-pressure monitor, three-point safety belts and reinforced side door beams.