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Chicago Auto Show Blog

Fiesta, a party on wheels.

Posted by: Paul Brian

Around the world, the new Ford Fiesta is a global success. In Europe, the Fiesta is the No. 2 best-selling car. In China, it has earned more than 50 awards. And the excitement is building in the United States where the Fiesta goes on sale this summer.

This past week I was among the first American journalists to get behind the wheel of the Fiesta five-door hatch or four-door sedan. Both models come equipped with either a manual transmission or Ford's North American industry-exclusive PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission that will help Fiesta achieve an expected 40 mpg. We also had the chance to experience Fiesta's 15 class-exclusive technologies as well as the safety, connectivity, and performance typically reserved for more expensive vehicles.

I really try to not break embargoed information. It's not fair to the company that's requested it, yet at the same time when you've got good news it's just SO hard to keep a lid on what you're thinking. So, I tend to find alternative ways to convey the message.

This uncomfortable position presented itself again Saturday morning during my WLS Drive Chicago show. I had spent some time during the week with the Ford Folks in San Francisco driving their snappy new Fiestas--sedan and five-door--that are getting close to appearing in dealership showrooms.  The embargo was at midnight last night and I was reminded by my compadre-in-arms, Dave Sloan, that people would be up at that hour, salivating to read what I thought about the newest offering in the Blue Oval stable. So in full disclosure, I wasn't ready to pop this online until 1 pm Sunday, but then went back to double-check the time for release. Glad I did. The folks who invite us to do such things would like the lid on it until midnight TONIGHT, not last night. More teasing of the Fiesta, but an honest mistake, not a come-on!

 

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta
No idea who this guy is, but somewhere he's got a TV show.

 

So I suggested on the radio that while I couldn't break the embargo on my impressions, I was highly recommending that Ford dealers consider adding a few new desks in their dealership showrooms for what might be a strong surge in business. Did I say I loved the Fiesta? You be the judge.

The fact is--now that it's free game time for impressions--Ford is going to have yet another reason why they're doing great with their entire lineup these days. Fiesta is addressing a small car (B-car as it's known in the industry) need let them fully compete in a highly competitive segment.

First off, it's a really sharp design. Angular, great colors (12 from which to choose) that'll tickle anyone's color palette, a base 1.6L 4-cyl engine that's going to deliver up to 40 mpg (with the manual tranny) and still give the owner room for 4 adults. The interiors are well-designed and I particularly liked that they've taken the Synch System for music, multi-media, satellite and iPod inputs into the next step. It's worth stopping by your local Ford store to see everything Synch does, as fully describing it here would take up more room than I have and more time than you have. The highlight for me, though, were the apps that now will allow real-time streaming of Pandora (for music) and Stitcher (for talk radio content). In connectivity terms, Ford's Synch system lead

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