Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The sedan body style Ford Fiesta arrived in Australia in December 2009 around the same time as the Hatch, which in this generation arrived Down Under almost two year earlier, received a cosmetic facelift.

The design is one of our favourite of all the Supermini sedans on sale. It’s no easy feat with a Sedan’s rear overhang, but somehow Ford has managed to make the Fiesta appear more Naomi Campbell-like than Serena Williams from the back.

Under the metal, the Fiesta shares much of its underpinnings with the Mazda 2 which is no longer sold as a sedan in Australia. The Fiesta is now sourced from Thailand and with this change of origin comes a number of engineering improvements including a stiffer body, more soundproofing, improved door seals, quieter tyres, upgraded rear suspension and a reduction in road noise.
Not so good As with every other Supermini sedan on sale, the Fiesta just doesn’t look as cohesive as a sedan as it does with the hatchback body style. This is an especially tough ask though, as the Fiesta hatch is a class leading design in so many ways. Also keep in mind that design is subjective and as we said above we think it looks better than almost all of the competing Supermini sedans.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good As with the hatch the sedan features mobile-phone inspired audio and connectivity controls with an easy to read central information screen. This styling works well – all of the controls are arranged logically, and bluetooth connectivity with voice control is standard on all grades as is an auxiliary in-jack connection for your iPod. Another very cool and standard feature here is that you can change the radio station by voice control, however the steering wheel mounted audio controls are more likely to be used. The six-speaker sound system is above average and the front seats are comfortable and supportive.

The rear luggage space is very impressive. The boot holds 430 litres which is approaching that of a Holden Commodore, and with the rear bench split folded down an even larger space is available.
Not so good The shift of production to Thailand at the end of 2010 resulted in more old school hard plastics appearing in the Fiesta’s interior. Whilst functionally this is no problem, visually it creates a cheaper feel and there is a more than pleasant variation in the colours of plastic around the doors. The steering wheel no longer adjusts for reach (in and out) but rake (up and down) adjustment does. There is no cruise control however this is far more common than not in the supermini segment.

In the second row, head room is only average (but only tall teens need beware).
Performance

Performance

Good The 1.6-litre petrol produces a healthy 89kW of power and 151Nm of torque when linked to either a five-speed manual gearbox or the new six-speed dual-clutch sequential (fancy automatic) transmission. With the manual box the Fiesta is one of the perkiest players in the Supermini segment. Whilst happy to cruise in traffic at low revs it’s at higher revs (even above 6000 revs) where it comes to life – offering real zest and bringing a smile to every one of our testers. It also stays relatively quiet and smooth over a range of terrain, and notably at highway speeds it’s still relaxed in manner. The six-speed ‘auto’ is quick to shift gears and significantly more economical than the traditional 4-speed automatic transmission still offered in many competing superminis.

A 1.6-litre turbo diesel offers 66kW of power and a very healthy 200Nm of torque. This is an excellent engine and will happily pull up hills with four adults aboard.
Not so good The 1.6-litre petrol and automatic transmission combination isn't quite best in class, however it’s definitely above average. In traffic driving, the transmission can be a touch jerky and the engine suffers a little from lack of torque, most evident from below 2000 revs. The impressive turbo diesel is only available with the manual transmission – we'd love to see it matched to the six speed 'auto' gearbox.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Ford Fiesta’s ride and handling are very refined and it easily soaks up all but the very biggest of potholes. For the price, the handling is outstanding and the steering is very impressive with excellent weighting. If there is any difference between the hatch and sedan in this area, the sedan may even come out on top thanks to the extra weight over the rear suspension.
Not so good Not much counts against the Fiesta’s ride and handling. The ride is a touch firmer than some Superminis, but apart from the rare thump over sharp corrugations and the occasional steering kickback on rough roads, the Fiesta holds its head very high.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good With Electronic Stability Control standard across the range, the Fiesta confidently ticks the safety box and all grades are generously equipped. Even the entry level CL grade comes standard with air-conditioning, remote central locking, a CD player, six speakers and Bluetooth connectivity with voice control.
Not so good Head, chest and knee airbags are unfortunately a $600 cost option on the entry level CL grade, however most competitors can’t offer this at all and the number of airbags goes up from two to seven and the ANCAP safety rating from 4 to 5 stars. A spare wheel is an option – standard is a ‘mobility kit’ which does not quite enough to keep some drivers as mobile as they’d like, and the three diesel grades are only available with a manual transmission, so if you’re after super-frugal motoring but don’t wish to change gears yourself…