Well, that was the longest week ever, wasn’t it? Actually I’m just delayed, and to the one…two…three…four people who are officially waiting for my Ford Fiesta blog conclusion (based on the previous blog entry’s comments), here it is. Thank you for your patience, and I apologize for keeping you waiting. The Fiesta is now back in Ford’s garage, and I’m back with my reliable daily driver. Since the time I returned the Fiesta, I’ve driven some of its competitors and this has given me added perspective on what makes Ford’s subcompact so special--and where it needs improvement. So here are noteworthy things that you should know about the Ford Fiesta. 1. Design/looks – Does your head turn when you see a Ford Fiesta drive by? This is simple and solid proof that Ford’s Kinetic Design is effective. I’m eager to see if this implementation on the coming Ford Focus is as good. Another barometer of the Fiesta’s good looks is that it looks handsome in any body color. Have you encountered cars that you feel would look good only in certain colors? I thought the Fiesta’s visual impact would only be maximized when sporting its signature chili-orange color. But as I see more and more Fiestas on the road, I realize it also looks good in black, white, red and blue. Actually after some time the visual novelty of the bright orange hue wears off. You might want to look at the other colors if you’re considering getting a Fiesta hatch. Not all cars can pull of looking good in almost any paint. I take that as a testament of good design. 2. Driving feel – No Fiesta review is complete without saying how fun it is to drive. Several components combine to create a sporty driving experience. There’s the thick steering wheel, the grippy seats, the eager engine, and the taut suspension that keeps the Fiesta planted on the road but also isolates the road imperfections from the cabin--to a certain degree. 3. Features – Except for the automatic climate control on the new Hyundai Accent, there isn’t any feature in the subcompact segment I can think of that the Fiesta can’t match--or exceed. It has rear bumper sensors, iPod interface, keyless alarm and entry, an onboard computer (with menu-based access to the car’s systems), speakerphone and the newfangled voice control system. Like I said in my previous entry, the latter doesn’t always work, and it will get frustrating at times. But if it can understand your voice it adds a useful novelty to operating the car’s phone functions and audio system. 4. Price – At P816,00, this top-of-the-line Fiesta is at a good price point. Its chief rival would be the Honda Jazz, and that hatchback is asking for P40,000 more. Yes, it’s pricier than the other hatchbacks in the market like the Toyota Yaris and the Suzuki Swift--also good cars. But the Fiesta S is better specced. The match in features for the aforementioned Japanese hatchbacks would be the 1.6 Trend, and that matches the Toyota and undercuts the Suzuki by a few thousand. The Fiesta is definitely a value for money proposition. 5. Fuel economy – Here we go: Based mostly on city driving with some hard acceleration thrown in, the Fiesta S did 8.22km/L. That was measured by dividing the 308 kilometers I traveled from a near empty tank to refueling, by the 37.467 liters of fuel I topped up the car with. Yes, the Fiesta isn’t the most fuel-efficient subcompact out there. I admit there was some flooring of the gas pedal involved for, er, evaluative purposes. The fuel economy will almost surely improve with more care stepping on the accelerator. 6. Space – There’s a European feel to the cockpit that makes the Fiesta snug to ride and drive in. Depending on your idea of car comfort, this is either limiting or comfortable. It certainly helps when cornering or during acceleration. But if you’re the type who likes gobs of space to lounge in, this might not be the car for you. I managed to load the Fiesta with four people, me included. There were two other men who were at least 5’8” and a small woman. We fit comfortably puttering around the city. 7. Transmission – Hello waterloo. I’ve already written about the Fiesta’s transmission dilemma in detail, so there’s no need to regurgitate the experience. But a chat with our style guru Brian Afuang led to a tip. He told me to try the manual variant. With the Fiesta’s chassis, it gives a more satisfying driving experience. That might be a good counterpoint to this series of blog entries. Stay tuned. Don’t worry, if Ford lets me try out a manual Fiesta hatchback, I won’t make you wait too long for a review. She doesn’t have anything to do with these blog entries except that she arranged the Ford Fiesta loan for me. I just thought her photo would make my blog look prettier.
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