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.
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.
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.’’
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