Ford Fiesta Poised for USA Launch in 2010
- March 27, 2009
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- Posted by George Peterson
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We got the opportunity to briefly drive the new Ford Fiesta in Port Hueneme in anticipation of Ford’s “Fiesta Movement” program where they will place 100 5-door Fiestas with influential Millennium drivers. Millennium means they were born between 1979 and 1985 and influential means that they have over 500 Facebook friends and thousands of followers on Twitter. To get qualified participants – or “agents” as Ford is referring to them – Ford held a contest on their website. There were about 3,300 applicants. Since all 100 of these European Fiestas will have manual transmissions we hope Ford screened for ability to shift and clutch.
The Fiesta has been on sale in Europe since August 2008 and about 117,000 have been sold to date. With the assistance of the EPA, Ford has been able to bring in 145 into the states for testing and evaluation purposes. The 45 not in the Fiesta Movement program will be used for other drive duties. Those have automatic transmissions.
During the short drive we were able to form some conclusions…
• Fast A-Pillars: The styling of the Fiesta is great – using Ford’s European “kinetic” design language. But, the styling comes with a price. Getting into the front seats is tough because the A-Pillar is so fast. The Fiesta is another car that you have to think about how to get in without injuring yourself.
• Shin Warmer: The left side of the console gets so hot that it is objectionable. “Shin Burner” may be a better term than “Shin Warmer”. This is an issue that needs to be addressed prior to launch in the USA.
• Lacks Peposity: A small high image B-Car… certainly personified by the Fiesta… needs to be “peppy”. The 1.6L 4-cylinder engine has 118 horsepower and, frankly, it feels like less. AutoPacific happens to be evaluating a Scion xD now as well. It is a 1.8L 4-cylinder with 128 horsepower with an automatic transmission. The Scion auto feels much better than the Fiesta with a manual. Very surprising.
Ford’s powertrain plan includes an EcoBoost version of the Fiesta, but, hopefully, Fiesta’s performance can be enhanced prior to its launch in the USA so you won’t have to spring for EcoBoost to get sparkling performance.