Ford Fiesta Ses 5door

The North American Ford Fiesta, which is built in Cuautitlan Izcalli. Mexico, actually has stiffer suspension settings than its European counterpart. But before you get all cxcitcd that we're finally getting a better car than the Euros, realize the minimal changcs arc simply to compensate for our car's extra 120 lb. or so of heft/safety equipment, and the taller, softer sidewalls of our 16-in. all-season tires (Euro models come with summer tires).

The result is a car that feels just a tick less nimble than the European Fiesta. It's still fun to throw into turns, mind you,

2011 Ford Fiesta SES 5-Door 1

List price

$17,120

Price as tested

$19,305

Curb weight

2580 lb

Engine, transmission

1.6-liter inline-4,5-sp manual

Horsepower, bhp a) rpm

120(0)6350

Torque, lb-It (B rpm

112 (§> 5000

O-eOmph

9.7 sec

O-lOOmph

33.2 sec

0-1320 ft('/*mlle]

17.2 sec (5) 80.6 mph

Top speed

118 mph*

Braking, GO-Omph

138 ft

Braking, 80-0 mpb

241ft

Lateral accel (200-ftslridpad) 0.82g

Speed thru 700-ft slalom

62.2 mph

Our mileage, EM city/highway est 30.0,28/37 mpg * Electronically limited.

Our mileage, EM city/highway est 30.0,28/37 mpg * Electronically limited.

Kissin' Cousins

Efficient fun, these new rides deliver more smiles per gallon

»The Fiesta, above, has a larger engine, and it's also a heavier car than the Mazda2, below.

but a bit of precision is lost in the translation—a good part of that undoubtedly related to the tires.

While Ford is marketing the Fiesta as a sporting compact, it might not dominate the competition as much as Ford thinks. For instance, the 5-speed manual-equipped Fiesta could only muster a 0-60 time of 9.7 seconds—considerably slower than the Honda Fit (9.0 see.), Nissan Versa (9.1 sec.) and Toyota Yaris (8.5 sec.) from our April 2007 test. That's also inexplicably off the pace of the Euro Fiesta used in our propulsion shootout in March; that one did 9.2. On the plus side, the Fiesta feels more substantial than its competitors, and offers a surprisingly supple ride.

Ford projects 85 percent of U.S. buyers will opt for the new 6-speed Power-Shift transmission, which performs like an automatic despite its dual clutch setup. Despite quick shifts, it's actually slower than the manual (0-60 in 9.9 sec. and the quarter in 17.5) and doesn't offer any

» 2011 Mazda2 Touring.

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