Ford seems quite committed to the hot hatch in the United States, as the Dearborn-based manufacturer has just announced another speedy five-door for the North American market. Slotting below the 252-horsepower Focus ST is this, the 197-horsepower Fiesta ST.
Europeans got an early look at the new Ford Fiesta today, with a few styling and technology changes to boost appeal, convenience, safety, and fuel economy.
The turbocharged Sonic addressed our biggest complaints from our original review, namely the lack of power. Despite weighing almost 200 pounds more than the competition, the Chevy would be our choice in a drag race. What’s truly remarkable, though, is the transformative effect it had on the car’s overall character. With the 1.8, there’s a noticeable economy feel in the way the car accelerates, sounds, and drives. The addition of the 1.4-liter turbo has made this an engaging, not-quite-hot hatchback, that asks for you to drive it and have fun in it.
Throw it into a bend, and it just seems to go. It’s not the most graceful cornering experience you’ll ever have, tending to roll a bit too much, but this thing’s ability to carry speed around corners will put at least a small smile on your face. Where it’s different from the previous model is that it actually is tolerable to ride in when you aren’t going around turns. The suspension does a good job of soaking up road imperfections, although it’s hardly Ford Fiesta-like in its execution. There’s still too much vertical motion over the real rough patches.
If you asked us what the main difference between the 2011 Chevrolet Aveo and the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic was, we wouldn’t tell you about the new 1.8-liter four-pot or the new 1.4-liter turbo. We also wouldn’t mention the optional six-speed automatic transmission. Likewise, we wouldn’t be talking about the revised looks either. No, if asked what the biggest difference between these cars was, we’d be telling you that while the Aveo’s biggest selling point was its bargain-basement pricing, the Sonic sells it self thanks to its fun-to-drive and well-mannered driving character. You should only need one guess to figure out which approach we prefer.
The last generation of the Hyundai Accent was one of the cheapest new cars money could buy. You could pick up a three-door hatch for under $10,000. A fully loaded model rang in well below this new generation’s starting price of $14,195. So while this new Accent has lost the affordability of the old car, it has made some serious gains in the realms of comfort, style, equipment, refinement, and quality, without giving up too much of the slow-car-fast driving fun of the third-generation Accent.
Yes, it is a concept, but come on, it looks pretty much production ready. There is none of the concept car bling. Wheels are seventeen-inch alloys, not twenty-inch forged magnesium pieces that cost a small fortune. It has mirrors, not cameras. Even the body kit looks decidedly subdued. No, if there was a definition for “thinly veiled production car, ” this would be it.
Ford seems quite intent on making the most of social media, as it has launched yet another venture into the world of online marketing, with the Ford Octane Academy. The Academy combines a few lucky fans with Ford’s rally and drifting stars for a weekend of on- and off-road challenges.
Ford’s Fiesta and Mazda’s 2 have both done a great job getting the motoring community amped up about small cars, continuing a trend that the Honda Fit really jumpstarted a few years ago. These small cars are anything but simple, basic transportation, offering quite a lot of style, comfort, and driving involvement to go along with their reasonable price tags.
Today, as we wandered around the auto show in Detroit, we happened across Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta that he pilots in his latest unbelievable gymkhana video. We’re pretty sure the rubber (at the very least) has been replaced since then.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced its list of Top Safety Picks for the 2011 model year, which includes a record number of 66 vehicles this year despite increased safety standards.
If you are unfamiliar with Ken Block and his “Gymkhana” series, go to YouTube and watch parts 1 and 2 immediately. If you are familiar with Mr. Block’s antics, you will be pleased to learn that Gymkhana 3 is out.
Our spy photographer sent over these interesting shots of a Ford Fiesta-based crossover in testing.
There exists a tendency, without having driven the car, to try to compare the new Mazda2 to cars one is already familiar with. After all, it shares DNA with the Mazda3, and even the Ford Fiesta. Beware these comparisons, as they will mislead you. The 2 is its own entity, occupying a new space in the company’s North American market, a segment which seems to be ballooning as drivers seek value and practicality. And this economy car is coming from a manufacturer that understands that the best cars are also fun cars. In a Venn diagram, picture the Mazda2 in the shaded area where pragmatism and enthusiasm intersect, and you’re off to a good start.
Since the introduction of the roof strength test (an important addition indeed), it has been more difficult to earn a Top Safety Pick from the International Institute for Highway Safety. Small cars, especially, have been criticized for their perceived vulnerability in crashes. The 2011 Ford Fiesta, however, has overcome that to become the eighth vehicle from the automaker to win the award.
A quick-eyed, connection-making anonymous Winding Road reader sent us this interesting photo mash the other day, highlighting an undeniable similarity between the Ford Fiesta’s console interface and the stoic symbol of the mighty Autobots.
In this issue of Winding Road, we get behind the wheel of newest iteration of Subaru’s performance flagship, the 2011 WRX STI.
We have just taken delivery of the highly-anticipated Ford Fiesta. Our Tuxedo-Black tester is powered by a 1.6-liter I-4, which produces 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque, which is transmitted to the front wheels through Ford’s new PowerShift six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Our Fiesta SES is very nicely equipped, and ticks all the option boxes exept for leather seats and a sunroof. We will have the Fiesta for a week. This is an extremely important car for Ford, so lets hear your questions.
The upcoming Ford Fiesta has been a long time coming. In fact, aside from perhaps the PT Cruiser craze back in 2000, we can’t think of another compact in recent memory that’s received more pre-launch glitz, but then again, we can’t think of another compact in recent memory that’s been so closely associated with a superstar rally driver—at least for the last couple months anyway.
Just a few hours north of the Winding Road garage, a somewhat unorthodox racing event has been occurring since 1973. Unorthodox, that is, for racing enthusiast in the United States. Rally racing is a huge deal in just about every other part of the world, though it never really caught on in the States until a YouTube Gymkhana hero and a former motocrosser with a penchant for backflipping just about everything got involved. Going into 2010, more than a few eyes are now watching the Rally America series with keen interest, and Winding Road will be there for the kickoff event of the season—Sno-Drift 2010.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen many automakers add the three-blink turn signal function onto their cars, and Ford will finally be jumping on the bandwagon next year. Tapping the left stalk off of the steering column up or down allows the blinkers to flash only three times, which is perfect for lane changes, and alleviates the annoyance of driving behind cars whose blinkers have stayed on for no good reason.