So today while visiting the 23rd Annual Connoisseurs’ Marketplace in Menlo Park Ford had a small booth setup showing off their new 2011 Ford Fiesta. And what was really cool was they were offering test drives to anyone who wanted to, including the manual version. So I handed over my drivers license and off I went! More after the jump
The cars they had where in two trims, one the smaller engine with 90hp or so and the more higher spec version with 120hp. The one they had for test drive was the 120hp version, mated with a 5sp manual. It was fully loaded minus for Navigation and was in Euro spec as the Ford people kept reminding me that US version is still in development. Well I hope they dont mess with how it drives. First impression the car is well built, and the interior looked very sharp, almost VW like (as a VW owner myself). The seats looked meh, but they fit the American butt very well (which is mine The way the car drives is very smooth, steering very direct and not anything like the crap I have seen on my dads 01 Mustang which makes you think they use sponges. I did not push it very hard, but it handled nice and the pickup for 120hp felt really good. Brakes where a tad bit over sensitive, maybe I had just adjusted to it, but I had way too many head jerking stops. It has front disk and rear drums, which I thought was a bit cheeping out but I guess they will save that for the ST versions. It was more then enough power to drive around city, and on the twisty but could leave you lacking for revs in highway passing. But the real kicker is the price, they claim in the spec I drove it will be around $15k… That is very good! The car I drive everyday is my 2007 VW GTI and in the short time I spent this car, driving around the city, it felt like a $15k GTI. I am more the confident if the two went head to head the GTI would smoke it, even the ST version, but for the price and what market it targets it does a damn good job.
Overall, I would say this is not a Ford I would expect and if they can do this with the US Focus and a hot version of this Fiesta I think VW will have a hard time on its hand as the real king in the Hot Hatch market in the US and worldwide.