2009 Ford Fiesta

No Navigation Here

Ford at present is not offering a built-in navigation system in the Fiesta; the company says that B-segment customers in Europe are simply too price-conscious to spring for such an expensive option. This assertion flies in the face of the company's stated view that customers will increasingly migrate to the B-segment from larger cars and will expect their new B-cars to be as well equipped. Will the U.S.-spec Fiesta be offered with a navigation system? Time will tell. You can bet that Ford's U.S. product planners will watch the take rate on the newly available navigation system on the all-new 2009 Honda Fit: if a sizable number of U.S. Fit buyers purchase navigation, Ford likely will deem it worthwhile for the U.S. Fiesta, too. It's also possible that Ford will offer a feature wherein navigation devices in cell phones and PDAs could be tapped into via Bluetooth or similar technology.

Little Engines, Big Fun

Four-cylinder gasoline engines in 1.3-, 1.4-, and 1.6-liter displacement are offered in Europe, as well as turbodiesel four-cylinder engines in 1.4- and 1.6-liter displacements. We sampled two Fiesta models: a base, four-door car with the 1.6-liter diesel and a two-door Sport model with the 1.6-liter Duratec Ti-VCT. Both cars were equipped with the five-speed manual transmission.

The diesel-engined car was equipped with keyless, push-button start. The diesel is not super-quiet on start-up, but it quickly settles into a virtually unnoticeable thrum. You have to work the gearbox pretty hard to extract the available 89 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, but once you learn to keep the revs between about 2500 and 4500 rpm, you've got more than sufficient oomph for passing and dashing in and out of traffic. Most notably, Ford estimates that the diesel will deliver 76 mpg in the European combined cycle, but the company has not yet decided whether to offer that engine here.

We also drove a 2-door Sport model equipped with the most powerful of the gasoline engines, the 1.6-liter Ti-VCT, which is what we'll definitely get in our 2011 Fiesta in America. With 118 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque, it also requires an active hand on the shifter, but your reward is surprisingly sprightly acceleration. This engine is rated at 48 mpg in the European combined cycle, which is still an impressive figure.

By the time the Fiesta arrives in America, it will likely be offered with a five-speed automatic rather than its current four-speed. Time will tell whether the five-speed manual gets upgraded to a six-speed.

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