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trinacriabob

Ford Fiesta sedan - smaller version of a Focus: yes or no? Via one day rental

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Posted (edited)

Bingo.  This is one of the few times I've rented an economy car and got the exact car shown on the icon.  I rented a car for one day and was given a Ford Fiesta.  I have rented quite a few slightly larger Ford Focuses in the past but never a Fiesta.

Also, the only times you get the "icon" from what you rented is if you rent a really high priced luxury car where the car is specifically named.  And it's a large enough airport location.  I've never done that.  The other extreme is when you want an econobox mini with 2-seats and an automatic trans overseas to keep costs way, way down.  I have done that. In that case, you'll usually be handed the keys to a Smart for two.

I have always been a little curious about the Ford Fiesta, given that it looks like a slightly shrunken Ford Focus and is a popular nameplate overseas.  But, at the end of the day, is it?  While this might keep you from reading on, the verdict is mostly NO.

The Fiesta I had was a basic sedan with the 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine and the (6 speed) dual clutch automatic gearbox that Ford likes to use in their small cars.  In the less than 100 miles I drove this car, I did not notice any quirks with its automatic transmission.  Perhaps they've refined it "a little" as time has passed.  I did have a Ford Focus with this automatic transmission that I once drove around Vancouver, Canada that in fact had the shudder between gear 1 and gear 2 in automatic D mode.

The level of confidence driving the Fiesta inspires is much like the Focus.  They are both nimble.  The Focus seemed to be better planted, owing its longer wheelbase, wider stance, and bigger tires.  In this regard, it was similar to the Hyundai Accent, which I surprisingly liked.  However, in the Fiesta, the ride was slightly less settled than that of the Focus and it was also not as quiet, either in isolating the engine growl or in isolating the road.

The interior environment of the Fiesta had more demerits than I thought it would have.  First, when I've see them at dealers (locked, after hours), I'd see that cool little pod rising up above the dashboard and aligned with the center stack and thought it looked, well, "cool."  When you get inside and sit down, it looked less so.  It pops up too high from the driver's vantage point and, in adjusting the seat upward for my average height and frame, I couldn't find a seating position that gave me a vantage point over that little pod that I liked.  For that matter, I didn't find any seating position I liked, while I was able to do so in Focuses.  Then, the materials are on the cheap side, and touching them (pre-COVID 19) tells the driver this.  The seat fabric, similar to that in the Focus, is also not soft-touch but, then, so many other models in the subcompact/compact sizes have gone to cloth seating surfaces that are a far cry from what they are in larger cars.  Others, such as the last Chevy Cruze and the Japanese brands, have followed suit.  In other reviews I read, people sounded off that they didn't like the Fiesta's seats.  I would agree with them.  (This makes me lament my long gone Cutlass Supreme Brougham coupe!)  

With the car being narrower than the Focus, the space between the front seats makes for a smaller console and they sneak in a little bit of storage here and there.  Control stalks operate much like they do in the Focus except that the Fiesta doesn't have the nifty information center where the driver can select 4 main items of information to be displayed in a small tidy graphic box between the 2 instrument panel bezels.  I liked that about the Focus.  Instead, with the Fiesta's tighter 2 instrument panel bezels, they didn't have room for this.  However, kudos to Ford for still including a temperature gauge.

The Ford Fiesta is basic transportation.  If in the market for a low priced Ford and they were still offered, I'd opt upward for the Focus in a heartbeat.  I liked the Ford Fiesta a little bit better than the Nissan Versa, which was way too baseline of a subcompact, but did not like the Fiesta as much as the Hyundai Accent, which made sense all the way around and was very easy to live with.  The latter has been changed in that they've done away with a 6-speed automatic transmission and are featuring a CVT unit for those who don't want to shift gears.  I drove the 6-speed automatic.

In closing, there are a couple of other things to note about the Ford Fiesta.  I don't know if it's standard or optional, but the illumination of the console's cup holders and other cubbies can be blue, purple, and possibly one other color when it's night time.  My rental car had the purple option.  It made for a chuckle.  Also, the car was easy on gas, just as the rented Ford Focuses have been.

I guess the Fiesta was the entry-level way to get into both a Ford and a conventional passenger car.  The current Ford website does not display the Fiesta anymore.

Edited by trinacriabob
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Photos - rented Fiesta - smack in the middle of the winter season

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I was wrong!  It was a hatchback ... and not a sedan.

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The bezels are oddly shaped and information in the middle is sparse, with temperature shown by vertical bars.

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Not so nice:  the upper lid, the amount of storage space ... somewhat nice:  easy audio controls, easier A/C controls, and central locking control located in the middle on the dashboard and not on the driver's door.
 

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Its shared heritage and design with the Ford Focus is apparent.  The shifter was more nicely detailed and finished than much of the car's interior.

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Here's another wintry view of the Fiesta.

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The illuminated console at night with the purple option!

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You will have no problem figuring out where to put your drink cups.

- - - - -

End of photos

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33 minutes ago, regfootball said:

TINY CAR.  

Yes, not exactly how I thought it would drive and ride, meaning more like the bigger Focus.  The price points aren't even that different.

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Posted (edited)

Too small for me, but a Fiesta ST might be fun...I've read they handle really well.  About the only recent small Ford I've driven was an Escape rental about 3 years ago.  Lots of hard gray plastic inside.

Edited by Robert Hall
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On 6/20/2020 at 3:09 PM, trinacriabob said:

I guess the Fiesta was the entry-level way to get into both a Ford and a conventional passenger car.  The current Ford website does not display the Fiesta anymore.

There is a reason for that: The Ford Escape probably crushes the Fiesta by a lot in the sales column.  Small cars in general have been steamrolled out of the market by subcompact and compact CUVs.

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On 6/20/2020 at 3:09 PM, trinacriabob said:

 

I guess the Fiesta was the entry-level way to get into both a Ford and a conventional passenger car.  The current Ford website does not display the Fiesta anymore.

Remember, Ford is getting out of the car business in NA...the Mustang is their only car left. (Fusion is gone after 2020, though the name may return on a CUV).

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Posted (edited)

Meh- conventional cars & CUVs are basically the same thing and used the same way. You can say 'crossover' just as legitimately as you can say 'car-based'. It's almost not worth making the distinction.

Edited by balthazar

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10 minutes ago, balthazar said:

Meh- conventional cars & CUVs are basically the same thing and used the same way. You can say 'crossover' just as legitimately as you can say 'car-based'. It's almost not worth making the distinction.

Ok, they are getting out of the normal sedan and hatchback business..they are still building tall vehicles.

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5 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

Too small for me, but a Fiesta ST might be fun...I've read they handle really well.  About the only recent small Ford I've driven was an Escape rental about 3 years ago.  Lots of hard gray plastic inside.

I surprisingly liked the Focus.  Much more so as a sedan than a hatchback.  I like the regular trunk for 2 suitcases and that's about it.  If I've rented a car in the compact category, I've asked for them.  And then crossed my fingers that I didn't get a unit with the transmission shudder found in some models/years.

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now that i think about it, I got to drive a Fiesta ST at a ford ride and drive a few years ago,... and a Focus ST also.  Both were a hoot but the Fiesta for its size was really fun.  May not be a bad used car find for someone wanting a small urban car they can go to the track with if they want.  

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Nice review, of a disposable (rare for me to ever say that) pile of...yeah.

These were a rolling disaster thanks to the guts, and good riddance.

If in ST manual form, they could be fun. Any other, "like 98% of the ones anyone actually bought" need to just fade into history, that junk transmission, etc. included:

https://hackaday.com/2020/06/03/fords-powershift-debacle/

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30 minutes ago, caddycruiser said:

Nice review, of a disposable (rare for me to ever say that) pile of...yeah.

These were a rolling disaster thanks to the guts, and good riddance.

If in ST manual form, they could be fun. Any other, "like 98% of the ones anyone actually bought" need to just fade into history, that junk transmission, etc. included:

https://hackaday.com/2020/06/03/fords-powershift-debacle/

that is a great article.  that dual clutch destroyed all market equity that the Focus brand had, it threw it all in the toilet.  the 2011 Focus was hailed as a great new small car except the trans issues ruined any reason for those that knew to consider one, even with the rock bottom prices of the vehicle used.

all for a trans that might gain the almighty 1 or 2 mpg on the CAFE.  that is why CAFE is so sick.  CAFE HAS TOO MUCH INFLUENCE in the design and engineering.

Really though, Ford should have gotten a traditional automatic ready for the 2013 or 14 or 15 model year to replace the dual clutch.

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25 minutes ago, regfootball said:

that is a great article.  that dual clutch destroyed all market equity that the Focus brand had, it threw it all in the toilet.  the 2011 Focus was hailed as a great new small car except the trans issues ruined any reason for those that knew to consider one, even with the rock bottom prices of the vehicle used.

all for a trans that might gain the almighty 1 or 2 mpg on the CAFE.  that is why CAFE is so sick.  CAFE HAS TOO MUCH INFLUENCE in the design and engineering.

Really though, Ford should have gotten a traditional automatic ready for the 2013 or 14 or 15 model year to replace the dual clutch.

The real problem is that CAFE and newer safety standards completely are at cross-purposes.  CAFE rewards lighter cars while newer safety standards require (generally) heavier cars to have people survive accidents.  CAFE is sick in this case because Ford refused to put in a regular automatic transmission.  Few people buy manuals period.

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3 hours ago, regfootball said:

that is a great article.  that dual clutch destroyed all market equity that the Focus brand had, it threw it all in the toilet.  the 2011 Focus was hailed as a great new small car except the trans issues ruined any reason for those that knew to consider one, even with the rock bottom prices of the vehicle used.

all for a trans that might gain the almighty 1 or 2 mpg on the CAFE.  that is why CAFE is so sick.  CAFE HAS TOO MUCH INFLUENCE in the design and engineering.

Really though, Ford should have gotten a traditional automatic ready for the 2013 or 14 or 15 model year to replace the dual clutch.

Bad ideas from Ford, that never should have come to fruition. Waste of time, effort and resources "I have an idea!" in a crazy meeting once that should have been stopped.

They could have spent more time developing and refining the car, had they simply used an existing traditional automatic. So much extra time and effort into "it's awful. It broke again. We CAN'T sell these...ever" only to be a mess.

Oh well. At least if you go ST, etc. you'll be fine, or you can have 3 days in an Enterprise rental version before they wholesale it off, and fling it around bang bang bang lights.

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Posted (edited)

I liked my '11 Fiesta SE hatch with stick... for the short time I had it.  Purchased new in March 2011... totaled in an accident in August of 2011.  At that time I swore myself off of vehicles that small, yet I am still drawn to them for the fun factor... so easy to handle.

Chevy Spark, a little smaller than the Fiesta but with a good rep for fun and general niceness seems to be the last tyke standing, and it is on borrowed time.  I just don't see a CUV or an EV, at double the price, taking the place of these.

Edited by ocnblu

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Best thing about the Chevy Spark was the funny twins in Transformers, otherwise a totally forgettable appliance.

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3 hours ago, David said:

was

???

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