Good things come in small packages. Our kids are proof positive of that, with their wondrous eyes and unrestrained, infectious enthusiasm for life. It’s that same pep and bubble that Ford has injected into their baby of the range, the Fiesta. Under its pert, sloping, bonnet is a tiny engine that delivers more than you think. A Wheel Thing delights in the company of the Fiesta Sport EcoBoost.
Your standard bottle of soft drink is bigger than the engine in this. It’s just one litre in capacity, a three cylinder turbocharged unit, with a peaky 92 kW at 6000 revs but it’s the incredible torque that’s on tap between 1400 to 4500 rpm, 170 metres of Mr Newton’s best, which keeps the six speed auto on the boil. It’ll see 100 km/h in around eight seconds, emitting a not unpleasant buzzy, rasping snort along the way. Fuel economy is quoted, by Ford, at 4.9L per 100 km (five speed transmission on 95RON or 5.3L/100 km for the auto) from a 42 litre tank. The six speed auto fitted to the supplied car was mostly ok, plagued by indecisiveness; holding gear when not required, hunting for gears although throttle pressure hadn’t varied, or not shifting gear when perhaps it should have.
From all angles except the front, it looks like a Fiesta. A curvaceous rear with high set tail lights, an integrated rear roof lid spoiler, wide opening doors and then, at the front……is it a Ford? Is it an Aston Martin? Ford’s design philosophy has moved the the formerly bumper inserted “mouth” upwards and given the nose a blunt and vertical look. It’s a surprisingly integrated and classy look, with headlights framing the grille and laid back along the top of the guards. There’s a small touchpad for the tailgate, which is light enough to lift with just a couple of fingers. Each flank has a pair of deep creases, the lower starting at the front wheel’s centre cap and the top running from the more visible wheel arch, up through the door handles to disappear quietly just before the tail lights. At the rear, it’s a triple treat of curves, with the window, tail light and crease line in the bumper one after the other.
On The Inside.
Mixed feelings here; the seats have a combination of cloth and leather, with comfort and support built in. There’s a simple yet effective set of buttons on the steering wheel and a basic set of dials for the driver. There’s a clean set of dials for the aircon, a small but clear info screen in the centre section of the dash and the whole look is let down by an unbelieveably fussy, overdone and not entirely easy to use radio head unit, based in fingerprint friendly piano black plastic. A jog dial breaks down menus into sub menus into sub menus; the actual audio quality was appalling, no matter what adjustments were put in place; too many buttons and four with no markings to indicate their usage. Fail, in every measure. What also isn’t fun is the high level of reflectivity of the dash into the windcsreen. There were times when the lack of vision was plain dangerous. At least there’s a push button start and the delightfully simple air vents to use plus a decent amount of cargo space under the hatch for a family shop. The Continental 195/50 tyres wrap unusual, but stylish, 15 spoke alloys, in a 16 inch diameter. There’s some tech to play with as well, details can be found here: http://www.ford.com.au/cars/fiesta/features/technology?sitetype=web&site=FOA#f=1
On The Road.
It’s more fun and more usable than the 1.0L engine would have had you think. There’s that raspy, metallic snort from the three cylinders up front, nothing from the rear, a touch of road noise….there’s noticeable understeer and squeal from the tyres but the chassis is controllable, dynamic, easily controlled and intuitive. The Fiesta Sport is responsive thanks to the torque figure, quick enough to react when asked but hamstrung, in part, by that not always right gearbox. Ride quality is superb, with only some occasional rear end discombobulation from bigger bumps and ruts (more noticeable in off camber curves), sitting pretty flat for the most part otherwise. Otherwise the suspension soaks up and says goodbye to most normal road imperfections whilst the driver grins like a loon. Steering is light but not so light you’re out of contact with the road and the wheel itself felt, initially, a touch small but ended up feeling just right. The transmission, as mentioned, seemed to be the only part of the package that dulled the sheen. However, using the manual option (toggle switch on the gear lever, plus “normal or Sports” modes) seemed to be a more controllable option.
Size doesn’t matter. It’s that simple. A one litre engine can be fun, it can successfully move two adults and two children and shopping with no sense of struggling. There’s room enough on the inside, with the current Fiesta around the size of the first Focus Australia saw. Apart from the terrible radio design and audio quality, it’s a clean and ergonomically functional interior with great seating. On road it’s an entertaining drive and at around $21K it’s a screamingly good bargain. It’s certainly economical enough, coming in at around 6.0L per 100 ks covered overall. It’s a boost for technology, with the same engine smarts to be found in the forthcoming Mustang….for details, head across to www.ford.com.au and look for the Fiesta links. The Fiesta Sport Ecoboost is proof of phrase, in that it’s cheap to drive and a boost to the fun factor.