2011 Ford Fiesta Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Subcompact, 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan designed by Ford of Europe
  • 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 40-mpg highway fuel economy rating
  • Emissions technology includes new capless fuel filler
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Electric power steering
  • Available AdvanceTrac stability and traction control
  • Available Sync technology with Bluetooth phone connectivity and 911 Assist
  • Available premium audio system with Sirius satellite radio
  • Available keyless locking and ignition with push-button starting
  • Available automatic climate control
  • Available leather seating
  • Available power sunroof
  • Ford dealers offering numerous customization options

Introduction

2011 Ford FiestaBack in the 1970s, American automakers were struggling to cope with a sudden demand for small cars brought on by back-to-back oil crises. One of Ford's responses was the 1978 Fiesta, a subcompact hatchback designed by Ford's European division and introduced in Europe two years earlier. The Fiesta disappeared from American showrooms after 1980, but it has been a strong seller in Europe ever since.

Thirty years later, history is about to repeat itself. Responding to higher gas prices and increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, Ford is once again planning to bring a Fiesta across the Atlantic to North America as a 2011 model. This time, in addition to a 5-door hatchback, Ford plans to create a 4-door sedan version with unique styling specifically for the U.S. market.

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2011 Ford Fiesta

Design

Ford previewed the styling of the new 2011 Fiesta sedan in the , which was shown at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The production Fiesta sedan looks a lot like the Verve, and the 5-door hatchback is almost identical to the Fiesta sold globally. Ford calls this look "kinetic design," saying that it imparts a sense of movement, even when standing still. Nine colors are available on the new Fiesta, and Ford dealers are offering numerous ways to personalize the Fiesta, from custom graphics to special interior trim.

Inside, the 2011 Ford Fiesta's futuristic looking center stack anchors a modern interior. Ford says the layout, which features a display screen at the top of the stack and control buttons below, was inspired by contemporary cell phone design. The Fiesta SES Sport and SEL feature redundant stereo and phone controls on the steering wheel, while the climate controls use a variation of the classic three-dial layout with buttons to control airflow direction. Automatic climate control is an option on higher trim levels.

Model Lineup

Ford plans to sell the new Fiesta in four trim levels: Base, SE, SES Sport and SEL. Base models include a long list of standard safety features plus air conditioning, stereo with four speakers, auxiliary audio input jack, and floor mats. A Convenience package adds remote keyless entry, CD/MP3 player, and automatic locking doors to the base model.

Fiesta SE models include features of the base car's Convenience package plus a message center, upgraded cloth upholstery and interior d_cor, power windows, visor mirrors, and a handful of other items. To access a wider variety of options and special exterior colors, purchase of the SE trim level is mandatory. SES Sport and SEL models add premium audio, unique interior trim, ambient interior lighting, LED driving lights, cruise control, heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators on the outer housings, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The new Fiesta comes standard with a 4-way adjustable driver's seat and cloth upholstery. A 60/40 split-folding rear seatback is standard, as well as a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and Ford says the cupholders are designed specifically to hold everything from a can of Red Bull to a 7-Eleven Big Gulp. Notable options include heated seats, leather seats, power sunroof, and an ambient lighting system that offers seven colors to choose from.

2011 Ford Fiesta

Hardware

The 2011 Ford Fiesta is equipped with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine making 119 horsepower and 109 lb.-ft. of torque, connected to a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. Ford says the Fiesta will get as much as 40 mpg on the highway, and once the tank is dry the owner can fill up without needing to remove a gas cap thanks to Ford's capless fuel filler system.

The optional 6-speed automatic is dubbed PowerShift. Ford says it provides the lively response and fuel economy of a manual transmission combined with the convenience of an automatic, meaning that buyers who can't operate a clutch pedal won't be penalized at the pump, or in stoplight drag races.

To help preserve momentum, Ford says the Fiesta's front strut, twist beam rear suspension is tuned for sporty, European driving dynamics. Standard wheel size is 15 inches, with a 16-inch wheel offered on higher trim levels and a 17-inch Ford Racing wheel available through dealers. Front disc, rear drum brakes with ABS scrub whatever speed the Fiesta achieves.

To help save fuel, an electric power steering system is used, and it includes Pull Drift Compensation technology to correct for crosswinds and pavement crowning as well as Active Nibble Control to quell vibration from an out-of-balance wheel or warped brake rotor.

Safety and Technology

Ford offers an impressive list of standard safety features on the new 2011 Fiesta. Included in the base price are dual frontal impact air bags, dual side-impact air bags for front-seat occupants, side-impact head air bags for both rows of seats, and a knee air bag for the driver. The Fiesta can also be outfitted with Ford's AdvanceTrac stability and traction control system, and the company touts the Fiesta's use of strategically placed high-strength steel in and around the car's safety cage. For buyers in wintry climes, heated side mirrors are available on the SES Sport and SEL models.

In terms of technology, the 2011 Ford Fiesta debuts with several features that will appeal to tech-savvy buyers, including the Ford Sync wireless communications and entertainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and turn-by-turn navigation. Sync also includes 911 Assist, which automatically contacts emergency personnel in the event of an air bag deployment and directs rescuers to the car's location even if occupants are unable to communicate.

Also available on the 2011 Ford Fiesta, depending on trim level: premium audio with Sirius satellite radio, automatic climate control system, and an Intelligent Access keyless locking and ignition system with push-button starting.