If you have ever wanted to party in Mexico, Ford is importing a taste of the celebration. The Ford Fiesta is the new hot hatchback taking over, and it’s well worth a look. Manufactured at Cuautitlán Assemblynear Mexico City, this skilled workforce has produced many other favorites from Ford, such as the LTD, Granada, Tempo, Mercury Topaz and the Mystique.
Fiesta’s sixth generation launched for the 2008 model year. As Ford’s global subcompact, production began in Venezuela, Vietnam, Germany, India, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Spain and Brazil. The car was a smash hit, competing in every local market except the USA. The last Fiesta sold in the US was the 1980 model.
After appearing on BBC’s Top Gear and American Idol, the Fiesta was reintroduced to US dealers as a 2010 model. The Fiesta gains a revised exterior for 2014 with a DB9 style chrome grille. At first glance, the styling is aggressive. From the rear hatch, the beltline drops steeply towards the headlights and provides a sharp contrast to the raked windshield. A tall greenhouse and vertical rear glass make for great visibility and few blind spots. Being a global car, the Fiesta sits a few inches higher than most cars we test, but for a daily driver this shouldn’t be a concern. Overall the styling and visibility are better than most cars in this class.
Our Fiesta SE had the optional EcoBoost turbocharged engine. The name sounds great on TV and Radio ads, but one liter of three-cylinder fury is hard pressed during sporty driving. We were glad to see a five speed manual, and the clutch action was light and easy to modulate. With an engine this small, the mpg rating is a pleasing 45 mpg highway and 32 mpg in the city.
Once we changed our driving techniques to keep the turbo spinning, the Fiesta transformed into a potent pocket rocket. The drawback to keeping the engine in its power band is that achieving the advertised fuel economy is not possible with any type of spirited driving. The other driving dynamics were superb. Electric power steering was effortless, and the telescopic column put the wheel in just the right spot. Among the best Fiesta features are the insulated glass and soft suspension. Ford has raised the bar for build quality in the entry level market.
The Fiesta’s additional content goes a long way. Ambient lighting, normally reserved for higher end cars, provides a subtle elegance at night. Passengers are surrounded by airbags, and stability control holds the road in wet conditions. Audio is handled by six speakers and the sync system. Heated mirrors and a heated driver’s seat are welcomed touches on cool mornings. The only option we wished our test car had were the 16” aluminum wheels, rather than the 15” steel wheels ours was outfitted with.
In conclusion, the Ford Fiesta SE has all the features of a full size car for only $18,190. Our week with the Fiesta was rewarding in that we don’t normally find happiness in hatchbacks. If you are in the market for a fully loaded and efficient hatch, and you like making wise purchases, the Fiesta is your next car.