Ford Motor Company has just officially introduced North America to the Fiesta sub-compact, bringing the popular European hatchback model to the United States and Canada. In addition, Ford has built and introduced a sedan version of the car – designed and built specifically for the North American marketplace. The Fiesta marks Ford's return to the sub-compact segment for the first time in over a decade, since the Aspire was phased out in the late '90s.
We can't say the style of the car is as pleasing as the Euro-spec model (which we love), but it is close and retains most of that car's sporty and youthful character. The front end (sadly the Euro-sec's nicest attribute), has been modified to accept a design that fits more closely with the rest of Ford's domestic products. The interior is also quite nice, and we're happy to report Ford has decided to keep the Motorola Razor-inspired dash.
Having already driven a Euro-spec hatchback, this was out first chance to get in the Fiesta sedan and we're happy to report that despite its diminutive size, it still has adequate rear seat leg room.
Under the hood of the Fiesta, we're also glad to see the peppy 119-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine has been carried over from the European model. It makes 109 ft-lbs of torque and in our test of the Euro-spec model provided plenty of fun.
This engine also delivers impressive fuel-economy with a best-in-class rating of 40 mpg on the highway. This is in part due to a new six-speed automatic transmission, while a five-speed manual will also be offered.
Ford also promises that the car's European driving dynamics have been retained thanks to an electronic power steering system that is not only responsive but helps to reduce fuel consumption. The suspension setup is a MacPherson Strut front design with a 22mm sway bar and a rear twist-beam setup. A set of 15-inch wheels will be standard with 16s optional. There will even be a set of 17-inchers made available through Ford Racing.
More: LA 2009: U.S.-Spec Ford Fiesta Officially Debuts in Los Angeles With Most of its Euro-Spec Goodies Intact
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