The Ford Fiesta has returned to the United States.
Conceived in 1973 under the project name “Bobcat” as a front wheel drive subcompact, the car was built and marketed just about everywhere in the world but here, selling more than 12 million units after its debut in 1976.
This latest version of the Fiesta was developed under the ONE Ford plan to “design and develop vehicles that meet the differing needs, wants and expectations of consumers around the world.” More than 500,000 copies of the new Fiesta already have been sold in Europe and Asia.
The sixth-generation 2011 Fiesta is a stylish four-door sedan or five-door hatchback with a 120 hp, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission (estimated highway 40 mpg). Optional on all but the base sedan model is a six-speed, twin clutch, electrically shifted, automated manual for an extra $1,070. Available models are:
Fiesta S — Goes for $13,320 and comes standard with air conditioning; cloth upholstery; 60/40 split fold down rear seatback; four speaker, 40-watt AM/FM stereo with audio input jack; power door locks and outside mirrors; carpeted front floor mats; rear seat heat ducts; cloth door panel trim.
Fiesta SE — Lists for $14,320 and comes with upgraded upholstery; metallic painted interior trim accents; power windows; trip computer; and 195/60R15 tires on aluminum alloy wheels, cruise control and a deck lid spoiler.
Fiesta SEL — Priced at $16,320, it has everything that was standard and optional on the S and the SE, plus rear seat floor mats; seven-color ambient lighting; a second, rear seat auxiliary power point; auto dim rearview mirror; SIRIUS satellite radio, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Fiesta Hatchback — Has two trim levels, SE ($15,120) and SES ($17,120). Standard equipment is the same as the SE sedan; spoiler is standard equipment. SES is equipped similarly to SEL.
The Fiesta has the global Ford face with the Blue Oval badge centered on the grille over the signature inverted trapezoid lower grille opening. Elongated headlights frame and connect the hood to sculpted front fenders. To the rear, the low roofline merges into the spoiler and the taillights are situated high in the hatchback’s corners and the quarter panels are tightly wrapped.
On the inside, the focus is the instrument panel center stack that resembles and functions much like the keypad on a mobile phone. Bucket seats are up front and the second-row seat splits 60/40. Cloth or leather seating surfaces vary by trim level.
Fiesta offers several unique features, including keyless entry and push button start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, adjustable cup holders and the Ford SYNC system that integrates a mobile phone with the voice-activated communications and entertainment system.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.