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Originally posted on Fiestavus.com
I am part of the "if America ever built a decent car for me, I would buy it" crowd. Straight line speed without cornering ability is worthless to me. I like to drive, to shift, and most importantly to turn. I have put the Fiesta through the paces now and it performs exceedingly well in all these aspects. Honestly, I really wanted to find some serious faults to establish my objectivity out of the gates. And while there are things I would change and aspects that don't fully work with my driving style (more on this), overall this car lands on the bull's eye.
A few days ago, I thrashed it over Middlebury Gap in VT, going east to west with no other cars in sight and Dead Unicorn on the speakers. This is one of my favorite drives to check a car out in a variety of conditions. The Fiesta really shines in corners, feeling more stable the higher the speed. One of my core gripes with American cars has been soft suspensions and loose steering. Neither is evident in this car, it is such a tight package in the twists. Despite being a smaller vehicle, the 1.6L 119 HP engine provides plenty of pop to pull out of corners and set you back in your seat.

Last night, I let a few auto fanatics give the ole Fiesta a spin. FerrariSteve and AudioDave (I made the second nickname up) are both REAL car guys and know their stuff (click Ferrari Steve's name to find out more). The Fiesta received universal thumbs up from both, reiterating what I stated earlier. FerrariSteve's only complaint was around the color of the control panel section of the dash. AudioDave shared my shock that there are drums on the rear and that the E Brake seems a bit, um, lacking. We both understand the reasoning but would really like to see discs. Seriously that was it.
I have discussed the field of competition that the Fiesta plays in with a few folks and all agree that it is a shame to consider the Fit or Yaris a real competitor. The only peer in the pack has to be the Mini Cooper due to the attention to detail and the level of performance.
When you sit in the car, you are really struck by the quality and intelligence of the interior. From the material and stitching of the seats to the soft touch of the dash, this does NOT feel like a low cost car. You add in all the bells and whistles and end up with an amazing package that meets your needs without compromising your wants.
After 1000 miles of driving, I am pleased by how functional the amenities are. I do not like "extra" stuff that really has no useful purpose, I guess that is the engineer in me. The Fiesta has some of this but for the most part it is spot on. I love the fact that the outside temperature (albeit in Celsius in mine) is prominently and permanently shown. The lights are really really solid and the ability to adjust the height through a wide sweep is absolutely awesome. While rallying up hills, I love to be able to slightly tilt my lights down.
There is a rear foglight, which is essentially a brighter taillight to warn any followers of your presence in soupy conditions. I have found this particularly useful for getting people to stop tailgating me. I just erratically turn it on and off until the person backs off. An added benefit is that I laugh every EVERY time.
The last 6 months have been hard on everyone. There was a time when it seemed like a new person called me every week looking for a job, having been laid off. This brings me to what may be my favorite thing about this car. I have always had a lingering feeling of guilt for driving foreign cars. My family is from Michigan and it was considered sin to stray from the locals. When I am behind the wheel of the Fiesta and I look down at the emblem, I feel a certain amount of pride and pleasure knowing that I won't have to compromise my driving style to buy American. A bit silly and cliche, I know, but I feel it nonetheless and it feels good.

Now this is not a perfect car and in fact there may not exist such a thing. Most of my issues are based on personal preferences but for the sake of objectivity here they are.

1. Drum brakes in the rear, seems like a car of this quality should get discs. That said, no issue with stopping. I had to hammer them on the highway to avoid hitting a gray wolf and yes I am sticking to that story.

2. Adjustment of the seat. The special lady friend submits this one because it took her forever to crank the seat back to catch some snores. I like the dialed in feel and think that both worlds could be appease with a release mechanism on the current set-up.
3. Fuel gauge location. The fuel gauge is located at the very bottom of the dash. When I am laid back with my mind on my money, my view is obscured by the steering wheel. I defend nearly running out of gas on this fact.

4. Engine temperature gauge MIA. I know 95% of the driving public doesn't realize they even have a temperature gauge but I like it. It helps me stay on top of engine performance and dial in my MPG and I miss it in the Fiesta.
5. Center console design. Now to be fair the area around the e-brake is infinitely better than most cars. However, given the efforts to integrate MP3/iphones/gameboys into the car in this location, it would nice to have a better place to place them. I am still searching for the ideal place to put my iphone while it is charging. This may seem a bit silly, but it sucks to have the phone go flying on a corner or clunk around in a ill sized recession. It would be awesome to have a place where the phone is held and protected and the cords are hidden.

6. MPG. We are being completely transparent with our MPG and you will see that it is currently 28.6. I was expecting to get much better and have been a bit perplexed by this low of an average. Truth be told, I have been driving the car about as poorly as you can for optimizing MPG. I will be slowly changing to hypermiling over the next 6 months to see the full spectrum of MPG. However, I had hoped to see closer to 32 MPG under hard driving. More to come.
 

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Fiestavus, thanks for sharing your great first thoughts on the Fiesta Movement Fiesta. I hope you continue to add more updates on here when you update your website as well.

:)
 

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Excellent review. I'm a little bit curious on the gas mileage, hopefully it'll improve as you put some more miles on it. Look forward to more updates!
 

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Fiestavus, this is great! Thanks for the detailed review. It'll be interesting to see how the MPG numbers come out after they fully Americanize the car - I'm hoping for EPA #s of at least 28/36 with the manual to keep it at the top of the class, but you never know how those things are going to come out.

How's the interior versatility? I was saddened to see that the Fiesta doesn't have a fold-flat rear seat, let alone anything to really compete with the Fit's "magic seat." When this thing finally hits our shores (why why why does it take so long?) I think it's really going to be a Fit vs. Fiesta choice for most buyers. When it comes time for me to buy next year, I'm looking forward to putting both of them through their paces. Man-o, if the Fiesta can pull a better EPA than the Fit, it'll reap rewards. I thought it was a BIG mistake when Honda let the MPGs drop with the '09 model, this is a great chance for Ford to steal some customers!
 

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Good review.
Well other than the MPG part.

I've been very interested in this car sence I saw the Top Gear segment on it. When I first heard it was going to the states after seeing TG I got stoked.

I have a 93 prizm (other than my Focus and other ford vehicles) now I use for work and packing on the miles. Thought the Fiesta would be a good replacement. Geo gets 35-37 mpg with over 200K on the clock. I was hoping to see the Fiesta at that or above.

I also wanted to say I live in NH and would love to see that thing in person if possible.
 

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FWIW, so far to 1,000 miles I have averaged about 33-34 MPG combined. I do about 60/40 driving, and my AC has been on for probably have the time.

Not too shabby if you ask me...

As for the 28, I honestly don't know how you are so low. What RPM do you generally shift at? 4,000? lol
 

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Great review! The majority of what you said, matches exactly what I am concluding. The mileage suprises me, as I have been getting 34-36 on the dash readout. That is mostly city, with one highway trip a week that is around 60 miles. I don't drive the Fiesta for mileage, so the car should be getting less than other agents. Your numbers seem very low.

I also agree about the fuel gauge, but I am starting to get used to its location. Having no temp gauge is odd. Having a digital readout option for engine temp would be a nice addition. My SVT Focus has oil temp, oil pressure, and water temp. I am starting to use the "distance to empty" instead of looking at the analog gauge.

The rear mounted fog lamp was very nice when we had a monsoon for a few days. Driving on the highway, I like having the extra light in the back when visability is limited. Kind of like having my own personal F1 rainlight.

Cornering grip and steering feel is perfect! The car handles great for a stock factory car, and like nothing it competes against. I hope the suspension on our Movement cars is an option for the US versions. To have a sloppy, soft, typical American suspension would really take the fun out of driving the Fiesta. Since it doesn't have gobs of power, it has a wonderful suspension that works great for street use. I use the suspension everyday, I rarely use gobs of power at all.
 

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Great review!

As for the seats, the US market will get different front seats than Europe. This video shows the US seat and it looks alittle beefier with the bolstering, although you can't see how adjustments are made. (Thanks [FJ] for finding this video!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mxnUCLsI7o&feature=channel_page

How is the interior volume (mainly rear) compared to the Fit? That car really is cavernous and I am curious how the Fiesta compares, I would expect it to be slightly smaller...
 

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I know somebody with a Fit, and when I get time I will get both cars together for photographs and a review.

thanks for the vid! I forgot about that one on [FJ]
 
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