Safety

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol that’s linked with trac­tion con­trol and elec­tronic brake as­sist. The base CL has two airbags but the other mod­els have seven.

Ford says the op­tional safety pack that re­stores seven bags in the CL costs $600 and lifts its ANCAP crash rat­ing to five stars from four.

Ford has taken away the spare wheel. All Fi­es­tas – now built in Thai­land af­ter the change from Ger­many – have an aerosol ‘‘mo­bil­ity kit’’ in the boot’s va­cant wheel well. A spare wheel is an op­tion. ‘‘We’ve cho­sen delet­ing that ahead of adding fea­tures – such as ESC and Blue­tooth, for ex­am­ple – which buy­ers want ahead of a spare wheel,’’ says Ford Aus­tralia’s gen­eral mar­ket­ing man­ager David Katic.

Technology

The small car has had a big in­crease in noise re­duc­tion – a fac­tor of con­cern in the pre­vi­ous model.

It gets sub­stan­tial un­der­body sound damp­en­ing that, com­bined with im­prove­ments to the sus­pen­sion, give the Fi­esta a level of ride and com­fort above its class.

The en­gines are an 88kW/ 151Nm 1.6-litre petrol and 66kW/200Nm 1.6-litre tur­bod­iesel rated at 6.1 litres/100km and 4.4 l/100km re­spec­tively. The six-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic is only avail­able in the petrol mod­els.

Sales

Ford won’t talk sales num­bers but ex­pects a healthy rise in in­ter­est.

The sales split is ex­pected to be 20 per cent sedan and 80 per cent hatch, with an over­all 15 per cent swing to diesel.

‘‘This is a car that will change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of Ford,’’ Katic says. ‘‘We are seen as a big-car com­pany. This Fi­esta will bring a lot of peo­ple into Ford show­rooms.’’

Driv­ing

Re­fine­ment is a word used to de­scribe gentle­men’s eti­quette, not usu­ally light-car han­dling and ride com­fort. Yet the Ford Fi­esta man­ages to add the word to its vo­cab­u­lary.

And it did it on a day that would pos­si­bly be Ade­laide’s worst in 2010.

Storms pum­melled the hills of the city, the rain blinded the driver’s view and made the lit­tle Fi­esta fight for trac­tion. But what a lit­tle hero.

Over de­bris and flood­ing on the twist­ing hills roads, the lat­est Fi­esta han­dled it­self bril­liantly and rose above the ranks of many of its ri­vals.

But it isn’t all high­lights for the Fi­esta.

There is a big gap be­tween the diesel and petrol. Though smooth and quiet, the 1.6-litre petrol is gasp­ing on the hills. It is very re­ward­ing in the midrange of the tachome­ter but

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