Even though the 2013 Ford Fiesta is not as strong in overall sales as Ford first thought it would be when it arrived on our shores a few years ago, the tiny subcompact is succeeding in bringing in new customers for the company which should please the company as it fights for a sizable slice of the subcompact car market.
When the Focus ST was first unveiled, many wondered whether the pint-sized Fiesta hatchback would also have a high performance ST sibling. In a statement released earlier this week, Ford officially confirmed that the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST will be available for buyers here in the United States and will officially debut at the 2012 Los Angles Motor Show later this week alongside its redesigned mainstream siblings.
By Roger Boylan
I’ve always liked small cars, and indeed owe whatever abilities I have behind the wheel to the tough apprenticeship I served with the quirky minicars of my European youth: the Mini itself, as well as sundry Simcas, Fiats, Peugeots, and Renaults. But that was longer ago than I care to remember, and it’s a measure of how much small cars have changed since then that the Yaris, Toyota’s base econocar model, boasts—at least in its “S” iteration–more luxuries than were once available on Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, never mind on your average Simca or Renault. Not that we think of such features as luxuries these days; they’re just the safety and comfort devices we’ve come to expect, spoiled brats that we are. But the 1966 Simca 1000 I learned to drive on was, essentially, nothing but a chassis, an engine (rear-mounted), and a passenger cabin with elementary accommodations. No airbags, no seat belts, no ABS, no stability control, no traction control, no headrests, no crumple zones, no GPS, no radio–although later on I taped a tiny Sony transistor to the dashboard–and no glove compartment, just a shelf for maps, cigarettes, and bandages. But it did have a rigid (non-telescoping) steering column to efficiently impale the driver in the event of a collision, a sharp-edged dashboard that could slice you in two if you hit it at the right angle, coat hooks above the passenger windows ideally placed for gouging eyes from heads flung sideways in crosswinds, and hideous gray-and-red vinyl seats that always smelled of cod liver oil, especially on hot summer days when the only air conditioning came through the half-open passenger window. God, I loved that car. Because what it had most of all was Personality.
By Carl Malek
Ford customers in Europe will soon have the opportunity to purchase a special edition version of the Ford Fiesta for their garage. Officially known as the 2012 Fiesta Sport Special Edition, This model is designed to not only add even more excitement to the Fiesta lineup, but to also maintain interest in the current generation Fiesta which has been available in Europe since 2008.
Available exclusively as a three door hatchback, the new model will feature an extensive array of exterior tweaks and additions to help enhance the car’s sporty styling. Some of these changes include aggressive side skirts, a chrome accented grille, twin polished exhausts, special Black Panther colored wheels, and front and rear spoiler treatments. Customers will have a choice of seven different colors for their Fiesta Sport Special Edition, including the same Black Panther paint that is used on the wheels . The interior of the 2012 Fiesta Sport Edition has also been reworked, and includes items such as custom floor mats, stainless steel pedals, and heated black leather front seats with silver contrast stitching as well as other goodies.
By Charles Krome
Getting into a new Ford Fiesta had been pretty high on my list, so I was plenty happy when the Blue Oval obliged me by sending over a Blue Flame model with a five-speed manual transmission, along with a full tank of gas. And more importantly, I was plenty happy driving it, too. Well, maybe not “driving” it, but certainly being transported in it.
By Charles Krome
The EPA fuel efficiency ratings for the 2012 Fiat 500 have now been announced, with the Chrysler Group’s much-hyped hatchback achieving 30 mpg city/38 mpg highway/33 mpg combined when kitted out with a five-speed manual and a line of 27/34/30 with a six-speed automatic. But as high as those numbers are, they represent somewhat of a disappointment given the competition.
Now, the natural choice of rivals here is the MINI hardtop, since both vehicles are small niche products that will claim a lot of their sales based on style, so here is how they match up against each other in some of the more relevant measures.
By Charles Krome
There was a lot of hub-bub when Chevrolet originally announced it was changing the name of its Aveo subcompact to the Sonic, but after seeing the latter introduced at the North American International Auto Show, it’s starting to make a bit more sense.
The 2012 Sonic takes a notably more aggressive approach to the subcompact segment, with a relatively dynamic powertrain/suspension setup and, in the hatch, a notable nod to the look of the VW Golf/GTI. I’ll get to the design details in a moment, but first, here are some of the Sonic features that Chevy is counting on to help make people forget about the Aveo.
By Charles Krome
Our head savant did a nice job detailing the General’s name game with the Chevrolet Aveo, but I wanted to get my pair of pennies in, too. (Also, I had already written this over the weekend, before I saw his article.)
My starting point is Chris’ comment about how the current Aveo is “not a horrible car”—because that certainly applies to where it sits in the sales standings.
Let’s do a bit of a blind test on some key players in the subcompact segment, shall we? First, here are the year-to-date numbers from three mainstream entries:
By Charles Krome
In addition to my writing here at Autosavant, yours truly also has a number of other auto-related gigs, including a semi-regular spot on a weekly web-based “talk show” called Open Line (check it out on Mondays at http://bit.ly/OpenLine). And in this past episode, we chatted briefly about a new approach to fuel efficiency that I’m eager to try out on my fellow Savants.
Here’s my thinking: It’s always struck me as odd when vehicles in two different segments somehow ended up with very similar EPA numbers. For example, both the Ford Fiesta and the new Ford Focus are going to post marks of 40 mpg highway. Now, one way of looking at this is “wow, Ford was able to build a compact car that gets the same great fuel economy as its subcompact.” But I can’t help approaching this from the other side, wondering how, if the Blue Oval can get that kind of performance from the Focus, it can’t do better with the smaller, lighter Fiesta.
By Kevin Miller
After months of hype including the Fiesta Movement, product placement on American Idol, and the auto show previews, the Ford Fiesta is finally here. Being a fan of small European cars that are efficient because of smart engineering choices, I’ve been eager to get behind the wheel of the Fiesta. Having recently spent two weeks driving two-ton, 300 HP luxury cars I finally got my chance, and climbing into the Fiesta SES hatchback was like a breath of fresh air. Far from bare-bones, the SES trim level of Ford’s smallest entry in the US car market has upscale features like keyless entry and pushbutton starting, and Ford’s SYNC system, the mainstream market’s best implementation of telephone and media integration.
As soon as I got the Fiesta, I installed my two kids’ car seats, loaded up our luggage, and headed from Seattle toward Washington State’s San Juan Islands. I had a ferry to catch, and two anxious kids in the back seat. Not having a lot of time to acquaint myself with the Fiesta’s features, I found myself driving above 75 MPH without significant effort. At those speeds, the Fiesta was settled on the road, not particularly noisy, and essentially right at home. We arrived at the ferry terminal about 90 minutes later, to learn that the sailing we had hoped to take was already full, and the next boat was four-and-a-half hours later. After a quick stop for groceries, we pulled in to the lot and waited… and waited longer as the sailing experienced a 75 minute delay. My daughters and I made the best of the delay, using the Fiesta as our base for snacks, naps, and activities.
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