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Car Tech Video: 2011 Ford Fiesta

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Car Tech Video: 2011 Ford Fiesta

5:36 /

The car everyone said Ford should bring to the U.S. Do we still feel that way?

[ Music ] >> Ford eventually got sick of people telling them to just bring their European cars to the U.S. and kill off direct like the 500, the fourth and fifth generation Taurus, and the old U.S. version of the Focus. So here's the answer. About to hit showrooms soon. The new Ford Fiesta. Let's check the tech. ^M00:00:21 [ Music ] [ Car Running ] ^M00:00:26 >> Everyone I talk to says the new Fiesta reminds them of a smaller, more European Focus. That's mostly a good thing. They're responding to its cut above styling cues and genuine Euro looks because this is basically the same Fiesta the rest of the world already likes and buys quite a few of. Now, inside this new Ford Fiesta, they're really pushing a cheap car that doesn't feel cheap message. They don't put it in those words. I do. They hate the word "cheap" in the car business, but it's an inexpensive ride, but here's some of the cues they're using to make you feel like it's not. The painted surface here on this console dash [inaudible]. You've got soft padding here. A lot of other cheaper cars will have hard plastic. Chrome bright work may seem like a small piece of filigree, but it says nicer car. And as you can see, we've got a lot of nice sculpting, and, again, different sorts of trim that have alternate colors and textures. Those are all subtle cues. This car is available with leather seats. Some of its competitors don't even offer that. And all of this is part of a strategy by Ford, and other car makers to be honest. They want to take advantage of what marketing research is showing that people in America are getting small cars even as fuel prices have come and stayed down. [music] Now, the Fiesta's got a unique head unit and never is it a color LCD. So realize that that's your screen, which is more limited that you'll find on more expensive cars. Because it's Sync, you've got the aux jack down here, USB for either USB thumb drives, or in my case, I've got an iPod Touch. Of course, you can connect the Zune; it's Microsoft stuff after all. Single-slot CD up here. AM/FM, no HD. Sirius is your satellite radio; we're in a Ford after all, and then here under the aux, you get to the interesting stuff. My Blackberry's connected for hands-free calling, my Bluetooth media streaming, that's my A2DP stereo. So a far amount of the latest audio sources are supported here, and this is a standard technology on the high-trim level Fiesta, available on the lower-trim, not available on the base car, which is called the S. Couple of things going on with the physical interface here that are kind of unique. You've got this four-way controller here with the up, down, left, right, and the OK button in the middle. We've seen that before, but not in this kind of shape. It's a little clunky to get around. Your finger kind of runs aground on the bezel there a little bit. I'm not totally crazy about it. The OK button works fine. Now, whatever you're listening to comes out of six speakers and an additional 80 watts of power on this car, which is an SEL, or the SES hatchback. Those are the high-trim cars. The lower-trim cars, you give up two speakers down to four, and you give up 80 watts. I suspect they don't sound great. So get the better trim if you can. Aside from the audio side of Sync, this car has Sync with TDI, traffic, directions, and information, which is kind of a rudimentary way of getting those three functions through a limited interface, and Ford just announced they're also going to support in that interface mobile apps. Pandora, Open Beak, Stitcher, which we've talked about before, but didn't know they could do in this simpler interface. That'll be coming shortly after the car launches. One of the biggest headlines on the new Fiesta is that it offers a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual for just over $1,000. It's the first car from any of the Detroit three makers to use a DCT, and the first car in this price range in the U.S. to do so. So what powers a 2011 Fiesta? Different stuff than powers the European car. Diesels, for example, are not in the line up, at least not yet. One point six liter naturally aspirated in-line four. Sixteen valve motor. The eight valves on the intake and the eight valves on the exhaust are running on highly independent cams. Not only is it dual cam, but they're completely independent in their timing, which is relatively exotic, certainly for a car in this price class. And that allows them to get a lot out of this little motor. You're going to have a 120 horsepower, 112 foot pounds of torque. Not big numbers but pretty good for a small engine on a small car. Forty MPG highway's their goal. No EPA numbers are out just yet. Performance, better sampled than written. Let's hit the track. [music] On an autocross course that Ford set up, the Fiesta does handle well, at least as far as cars in this category go. I took the car with the automated manual on purpose and did not regret it. It's a whiley little gearbox as long as you leave the lever in L, which is kind of a mislabeled sport position. And the power shift gearbox nets two better MPG as well. So I just would not get the manual. OK. Let's price out one of these Fiestas. Starting out in the mid to high 13's for the base car, the S car. To do it up to CNET style, you're looking at more of an SEL or an SES trim, which will get you into Sync standard as well as some other niceties you can add. Again, there's not a ton of tech options on this car. You kind of saw it all. If you want to get the Sync with the mobile apps, you might have to wait a little bit longer after introduction, after its Summer 2010. Then they'll start flowing out the car with a new Sync head unit. I'd wait for that for sure if you're one of our crowd. [ Music ]

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