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2010 Ford Fiesta Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 5 reviews
The all-new Ford Fiesta makes its U.S. debut in mid-2010 as a 2011 model, and continues the legacy of the original fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive subcompact car, which first appeared on highways in 1976. Although the Fiesta has not been available in the U.S. for three decades, it has continued to sell well worldwide, particularly in Europe and the United Kingdom. The latest-generation Fiesta has been available in Europe since 2008, and has proved a popular seller, thanks to its stylish looks, comfortable interior, and excellent fuel efficiency, with mileage numbers up to 40 mpg.
In bringing the car stateside, Ford made only a few tweaks to the European version. The U.S. Fiesta has a slightly longer front end, necessary to meet federal U.S. safety regulations, and features a different headlight design. It also weighs more than its European cousin, and comes equipped with a revamped interior. Finally, Ford offers the Fiesta in both a sedan and hatchback, as opposed to Europe's hatchback-only configuration.
Outside, the Fiesta displays an aerodynamic bullet shape, with a dramatic sloping roofline, stretched-out headlights, trapezoidal three-bar chrome grille, prominent wheel arches, and rounded rear window. Although the Fiesta stands rather tall for a subcompact, Ford has managed to make the car look low and sleek.
Ford offers the new Fiesta in five trims, including the S Sedan, SE Sedan, SE Hatch, SEL Sedan, and SES Hatch. A 1.6-liter Duratec four-cylinder engine with twin-independent variable cam timing drives all Fiesta trims. The engine produces 120 hp, and mates to either a five-speed manual transmission, which comes standard, or an optional PowerShift six-speed automatic designed for quick shifts, which helps improve fuel efficiency while ensuring fast-paced acceleration. The maintenance-free transmission has no dipstick, and comes equipped with enough transmission fluid to last the life of the vehicle.
The new Fiesta rides on the same small-car platform introduced recently for the MAZDA2 and planned primarily for use in the European and Japanese markets. The Fiesta's platform and structure emphasize light weight and strength, with an eye toward safety in crashes as well as fuel economy and sporty handling.
Despite its subcompact size, the Fiesta offers a roomy cabin with an upscale feel, bucking a trend among affordable compacts. The automaker used high-quality materials and offers a number of optional features usually reserved for higher-end cars, such as leather upholstery and heated front seats. All trims come equipped with cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, a front center console, a four-speaker AM/FM stereo system, and a 60/40-split rear seat with rear heating ducts. The SE trims add power door locks and windows, an LED message center, seat-back map pockets, upgraded cloth upholstery, and a CD player, while the SEL/SES trims also get ambient lighting, an electrochromatic auto-dimming rearview mirror, Ford's SYNC in-car communications system, and a six-speaker, 80-watt premium audio system with Sirius satellite radio. Options include a power moonroof and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.
The interior highlight, according to Ford, is the Fiesta's re-envisioned center stack, which the automaker says was inspired by a mobile phone. The futuristic design separates the three key elements of the audio system, including the control buttons, display, and underlying electronics, to create a more functional and visual-appealing arrangement.
Helping to ensure the safety of occupants are such features as a knee airbag, as well as six other standard airbags, all part of the vehicle's Intelligent Protection System. Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system also comes standard.
The Fiesta gets good marks from drivers and reviewers for its nimble handling, peppy powerplant, and long list of standard and available features. The Fiesta handles well in corners and delivers a sporty driving experience. Owners and reviewers also like its smooth ride and responsive steering. Adults can ride comfortably in both the front and rear seats, which provide plenty of legroom and headroom, unique in a subcompact. Cargo space checks in at 12.8 cubic feet, so owners can also haul around a fair amount of luggage or groceries.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.