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2011 ford fiesta interior lights
COPY CHIEF WENDY WARREN KEEBLER: I just reread Mark Vaughn's Drives story on the Fiesta and it confirmed what I suspected: This is not the Fiesta we've been wanting. As Mark says, "the first version of the Fiesta is not for enthusiast buyers. It doesn't take advantage of that sporting suspension with a matching sporty powertrain, especially when it comes to the promising six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. And the 120 hp from its transverse-four limits whatever passing maneuvers you might want to try on the freeway." I totally agree.
This Fiesta looks cool (even in black--I'd prefer a bold color and Ford does offer those), and the interior is classy-looking and feeling and nicely laid out. But it feels quite cramped in there, especially at the knees. And the whole package seems like a nice, smooth veneer on top of something that's actually rather rough and crude. I hereby register my willingness to wait for the sportier version Ford has said is coming.
MANAGING EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: I think the car looks great in black, but I have to agree that the word "sporty" and this transmission don't belong in the same sentence. I tried everything--punching the downshift button, physically downshifting into "L"--to get more out of the powertrain, but it was an exercise in frustration. It's sad, because the engine wants to rev, and the dual-clutch tranny ought to be fun, but skimping on some way to shift via steering-wheel paddles or a slapshift stick seems like a huge oversight. I think any buyer with a left leg still able to push a clutch would be well-served by skipping the $1,070 tranny upgrade and sticking with the manual gearbox.
All that said, the car looks great and the interior and extras are really exceptional--excellent audio system with multiple input options (but oddly, no steering wheel controls--everything runs through Sync voice commands instead, but is that really easier than pushing a steering wheel button?), nice center stack layout, ample cubbies and cupholders, good driving position, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, subtle interior lighting accents, and that's just to name a few of the niceties.
In addition, the car feels well built and rides and handles well, once you get past the revving and engine roar to get it moving in the first place. I was surprised several times that I was whizzing along at a good clip and thought I was actually running at a much lower speed. That's an attribute we usually note in high-end luxury cruisers, not entry-level hatchbacks.
I look forward to the next Fiesta in our fleet, provided it comes with a stick.
MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: I need some more time in the Fiesta, but like its sibling the Mazda 2, I'm impressed after my brief spin. This is what a relatively small, cheap car should be: Sharp, efficient and, more than anything else, fun.
The exterior is nice, with an aggressive look. I prefer the Ford's design to the Mazda's, as it looks more high-end to me. Inside, lots of cool trim and switchgear, though for some reason my iPod (iPhone) did not work through the Sync system, even though the car has an iPod-style connector. It appeared that the system could not transfer my device's data, but I'm guessing that I need to "sync" up in some way that's not as simple as just plugging in. Or perhaps something was just wrong with this particular car's system. Anyone else try to plug an iPod into this Fiesta?
Like the Mazda, the handling felt sharp and the suspension is indeed sporty, especially for a car in this segment. The Fiesta is fun to drive, and it does make you wish for more power. And like others before me, I was left baffled by the lack of a manual-shift mode for this dual clutch gearbox. I assume this is simply a cost-saving measure on Ford's part, and the company very well might figure that it can sell and market this transmission as the "automatic" model, since it shifts smooth like just about every other dual-clutch design. Outside of the enthusiast community, there are almost certainly a huge percentage of buyers who not only don't even know the difference between a conventional automatic and a double clutch, but don't care. And if they don't care about that, do you think they care about having shift paddles? No, probably not. But to those of us who do know, the lack of a manual mode irritates us.
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR/DESIGNER TARA KLEIN: I have been driving an SUV since my grubby little hands got ahold of my license. So when I was handed the keys to the Fiesta, I was curious to see how this would go.
Small? Check. Really small? Check. Tiny? Check. I was intimidated by its small stature at the sight of it. But as I slid into the Fiesta and took it for a weekend, my eyes were open to a whole new world that didn't include 2 huge things: a million dollars in gas and fuel economy that brings tears to your eyes (the bad kind of tears that is). This should have been enough to permanently convert me to "the other side", but not yet. There were still other characteristics where I felt my dented up, trusty old Explorer Sport would be deemed victorious. I was wrong. Proof to follow.
No. 1: Storage. I love the amount I can shove into my SUV, and while the Fiesta can't quite haul an entire couch, it has beyond the suitable amount of storage for everyday life. A decent trip to the grocery store and even a long vacation for two would be no problem for this car to handle.
The only problem I had was when I was leaving for a wedding and was loading my stuff. To my horror, there were no hooks! And I paid quite a bit for dry cleaning! So I proceeded to finagle a way to have the dress stay put for my less than two mile trip down the road, but still, I was left miffed on that one. Other than that, my storage needs were satisfied enough for the Fiesta to get the "W". Who needs to transport a couch anyways?
No. 2: Looks. I need to be honest with myself here. I admit I like how my two-door Explorer looks. But my big confession is that no matter how much I've said, "Ick, that tiny little thing is hideous," about a slew of the new, sporty, freakishly small vehicles out today, the Fiesta won me over. The sleek design is eye-catching and looks classy, yet still sporty. Even small details such as the honeycomb pattern in the lights were charming. The interior was fun; the only negative I would say is the "Transformer-esque" center console cluster. It didn't quite read as consistent for me. The dash cluster was slick and I found the lights around the cup holders to be useful at night.
No. 3: Comfort and ride experience. Here's a hint: the Fiesta gets the win on this category hands down. Despite its small size, it somehow has an incredible amount of leg room in both the front and back. I was expecting to feel as if I was sitting on the ground, but the ride height was comfortable, along with the seats themselves. The large side mirrors with the second inset mirror as well as the small window in the A-pillar were extremely helpful with blind spots, something the SUV lacks. The Soundscreen windshield blocked a lot of traffic noise and allowed me to enjoy my tunes more, even though the power of the sound system alone could practically make my ears bleed. I did find my right elbow looking for its armrest home quite often, so that is something I would have loved to have seen in this car. The ride overall was smooth, there was a lot of revving before it got going, but I always felt like I was moving a lot faster than I actually was.
So here I am. Converted. I can save money on my transit without trading off the things I love about an SUV like roominess, comfort and control.
Drivetrain: 1.6-liter I4; FWD, six-speed dual-clutch sequential manual
Options: Powershift six-speed transmission ($1,070); rapid spec 301A package including comfort/upgraded package, heated front seats, chrome belt line molding, passive keyless entry/start system, chrome decklid molding, perimeter alarm ($795)