Years ago, my sister had a Ford Fiesta, and my brother had a Ford Festiva. The Fiesta (which was only made for three years, from 1979 to 1981) was pretty sweet, but the Fesitva was something else. It was underpowered, cheap, and the exact opposite of aerodynamic. So when we heard Ford was resurrecting the nameplate for another small car, my sister and I groaned. We were confused. We couldn’t imagine that the new Ford would have any reason to bring back such a dog, but boy, were we wrong. The Fiesta was the awesome car, with lots of pick-up, speed, and amenities. The Festiva was the dog. Suddenly it made sense for Ford to bring back the nameplate. I took delivery of a 2011 Ford Fiesta for one week, and I’m impressed. It’s just as fantastic as the original.
My first impression? Sporty. Sparky. Fun. It’s a small car, about the size of a Chevrolet Aveo hatchback, but more stylish, and with a lot more get-up-and-go. The hatch area is small, but definitely big enough for groceries, overnight bags, recycling, that sort of thing. And those super-hip TV commercials with the city streets full of MPG-boasting umbrellas? They’re right on. Those commercials, the website, and the window sticker all say the Fiesta gets 40 MPG on the highway, which is marvelous, and completely true. I got about 41 MPG on the freeway, and about 26 during my city driving. And I have to say, the styling is downright sleek, streamlined, and sporty. The styling appeals to more than just me, the mom and grocery-getter. My 20-year old college student daughter wants one (fuel efficiency and design). My 6-year-old daughter wants one (styling and iPod hook-up). My 40-year-old cardiac nurse boyfriend wants one (handling, pep, and fuel economy). We’re a cross-secti on of the population in one household, and we all love the car. My boyfriend and daughter both test-drove one from a dealership, since I had mine from a journalist-only press fleet, but we’re unanimous — it’s a fantastic car, one of the many Ford has made in its long journey to the top of the automotive industry.
The interior is roomier than it appears from the outside, and the small touches, like the side view mirrors and ambient lighting, are thoughtful and intuitive. I didn’t have to look for the windshield wiper switch, it was right where I thought it ought to be. With the exception of slightly awkward radio controls, everything on the instrument panel, all of the switches and gauges, are right where you expect them to be.
In short, the sporty exterior styling, peppy handling, interior comfort, thoughtful IP, and impressive fuel economy make this a great little car. It appears the only thing the old Fiesta and this new one share is the name. And now I want one. I just hope no-one else gets the two cars confused, the old Festiva and the super-cool new Fiesta.
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