Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -

VALUE The Fi­esta gets more smiles than the box-like Panda and has more fea­tures, in­clud­ing cruise con­trol, eight-speaker au­dio, rear elec­tric win­dows. part-leather trim and capped­price ser­vic­ing ( $765 for three years). Ser­vic­ing is an­nual, war­ranty is three years/100,000km. Re­sale is a very high 68 per cent. DE­SIGN Looks sharp thanks to a bold new grille. Clearly more “car­like’’ than the Panda, the 4m long Fi­esta has more lug­gage room (290L-974L) but Panda has bet­ter boot ac­cess. Dash de­sign is con­tem­po­rary but a bit con­fused and switches are small. Vi­sion is rea­son­able — the price for a low-slung car with edgy styling. Big 16-inch al­loys and body kit look great. TECH­NOL­OGY As with the Fiat, the en­gine is the stand­out. Ford’s tur­bocharged and in­ter­cooled 1.0-litre three-pot­ter (92kW/170Nm) with five-speed man­ual is good for for 4.9L/100km. The fuel tank is 42L (stan­dard 91 RON). Like the Panda, the Fi­esta has front discs and rear drum brakes. Sport gets firmer sus­pen­sion. SAFETY Also a five-star car with all the manda­tory elec­tronic aids. Fi­esta adds seven airbags but skips on day­time run­ning lights, park sen­sors and even a spare wheel (a space-saver is op­tional). DRIV­ING The Fi­esta is sim­ply a fun drive. The han­dling is close to spot-on for a city-bred hatch (go to ST for more dy­nam­ics) and ride isn’t too bad. En­gine per­for­mance is great but is so much fun that the claimed fuel econ­omy will rarely be seen. But it’s a busy car to drive, with lots of switches and but­tons, poor vi­sion and — in com­par­i­son to the Panda — a quite cramped cabin. Needs sen­sors to fit neatly into park­ing bays.

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