While the folks across town have been experiencing drama worthy of Dynasty lately, Ford has been plugging away at creating the next wave of Ford. There are financial controls and staff reductions, but there has also been an incredible focus on building cars that are not only relevant to buyers, but also match the quality offered by the imports. This quest to sell vehicles that consumers actually want is what landed the Euro spec 2010 Ford Fiesta in our driveway a couple of weekends ago.
No sooner had it arrived home than we affectionately nicknamed it The Raspberry.
North American enthusiasts have been feeling neglected for years by Ford’s reluctance to bring Euro models to our shores, practically begging the blue oval to bring their small cars here. While it isn’t wearing a Cosworth badge, the Ford Fiesta is undeniably a step in the right direction.
Ford’s first global car, the Fiesta accomplishes many things their other North American small car offerings haven’t been able to. The most obvious must be the fact that the Fiesta is beyond cute. Cute can be a tough sell sometimes, but the only person we came across that didn’t absolutely love the shape was our 15 year old daughter. If you have a teenage daughter you have some idea how much weight that opinion carries. Perhaps not so obvious is the use of space. The Fiesta is a really little car, yet the front seats are as spacious as many larger cars and the back seat held all 3 of our kids without any space complaints.
More than one observer commented that the interior looks and feels European and modern. Fit and finish were outstanding for an entry level car. Special attention seems to have been paid to the touchy feely side of the interior, as all surfaces are pleasing to the fingers. The nicely textured dash has a funky squishy feel and looks great.
As one might expect on a vehicle this fresh and new, there is a full complement of media possibilities including a USB port for your iPod. One can expect that the car will have the full Sync package when it is released here some time in 2010.
Our tester came equipped with a 5 speed transmission, allowing us to have a little bit of fun. The drivetrain is quiet and capable with more than enough power for normal daily driving. When the opportunity arises to hit the twisty rural roads, the Fiesta is composed and handles fairly neutral for a front wheel drive car. The lovely and talented Mrs. Grant commented that the shifter was one of the smoothest she’s used in a while.
Of all the cars we’ve driven lately, the 2010 Fiesta feels most like the 2010 Mazda3. The interior design and fit & finish are on a par with Mazda’s little 5 door, meaning that this interior is world class. I think the back seat in the Fiesta actually has more legroom than the substantially larger 3, which says the interior people have been hard at work at their space management strategies.
With the introduction of the Fiesta here in North America, Ford is re-entering the small car battles with a weapon that is well up to the task. Visually it blows the Fit, Yaris and Versa out of the water and has the added cool factor of being a truly Euro model. If price points and marketing hit their targets, Ford will definitely have a winner on their hands.