Wow, Ford did a really nice job with the new Fiesta. I knew that after driving a Euro-spec car more than a year ago, but now that the Fiesta is officially on sale in the States, I'm even more impressed, since Dearborn has given us a truly good, feature-laden, relatively affordable small car.
It's fun to drive, too, with sharp handling, tight steering, and an accurate gearbox. I'd prefer shorter stick-shift throws and a quicker-revving engine, but those things aren't deal-breakers in my mind.
The vertical LED light bars in the front end are very cool, and the car is very stylish overall, particularly in this dark red color. The Mazda 2 and the Fiesta share very similar bones, but the Ford's looks easily make it my favorite of the two.
The Fiesta has lots of little nooks and crannies to store your ancillaries, but interior packaging isn't as clever and efficient as that in the Honda Fit. The Fit's slick manual gearbox is better, too, but I think I prefer the Ford overall. Still, the Fiesta's ergonomics are poor in many ways (window switches are way too far back; small radio buttons are quite far away; glare on radio display in bright sunlight), but it's nice that it offers premium features such as Bluetooth and keyless start.
If ever there's a car to convert Americans to subcompacts, it just might be the Fiesta. As Phil said, check back with in a year for the sales results.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor