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2010 Ford Fiesta Review

Economy Euro Style

A three-quarter front view of a 2010 Ford Fiesta

In short: A finely finished small hatchback from the European catalog.

Visions of narrow pavé through canyons of ancient stone structures and the rhythmic cadence of Latin creep into mind as Ford’s world-car Fiesta makes its way through the narrow streets of a coastal California village. For the price of a subcompact, you can settle into a leather-clad chair and transport yourself to civility. For generations, the Asian and European cultures have lived in closer quarters than have Americans, filling those spaces with fine quality things. Their automobile choices have been affected by gas prices multiples of those paid in the United States, and they have demanded smaller, more economical family transportation while expecting superior features. Finally, North America has caught up and Ford will offer its beautifully designed and carefully finished fuel-efficient automobile for our 21st century tastes. While its U.S. price is yet to be established, the Fiesta will be competitive with the Pacific-rim subcompact vehicles rapidly gaining popularity and market share.

We drove the five-door hatchback sedan with a 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission. Unfortunately, the current plan is for the automatic to be delivered only with a 1.4-liter engine, producing 96 horsepower. There are few Americans willing, or able, to operate a manual transmission these days. The only other design choice is another four-door sedan with a notchback trunk. Both share an excellent safety structure and surrounding airbag set with all the audio sophistication and digital wireless communication capability now demanded by young buyers. Well-appointed automobiles with small engines don’t often reach into the 40-plus mpg range because the engine has to work so hard, but mileage nearing that number can be expected at steady highway speeds under 70 mph. Ford has developed a clean aerodynamic form to assist here, and in that refined shape are out-of-category details of drama and character wrapped in a range of striking new colors. The art of the car and the rapidly expanding web-based Fiesta movement will prepare the way for the vehicle’s expected millennial generation audience. This is Ford’s response to, “I want to drive an American car, but…” The target audience may even be willing to learn to operate a stick just for the fundamentalist-greeny caché it carries. What Ford may discover, however, is a more mature, well-traveled buyer who simply longs for those fond memories of an enriching experience once shared abroad.

Read a review of the 2011 Ford Fiesta Sedan

Read a review of the 1.0-liter, 45-mpg 2014 Ford Fiesta SFE Hatchback

Join the Ford Fiesta Movement to help spread the word about all-new Fiesta. For more information, visit

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty;
5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance; and 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty.

Base Price: $15,795

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 5-door hatchback sedan

Engine: 1.6-liter, 16-valve DOHC inline 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 120 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 112 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual

Curb weight: 2,208 lbs
Wheelbase: 97.9 in
Length/Width/Height: 157.5/70.8/58.3 in
Turning circle: 33.5 ft

Brakes: disc in front; drum in rear; ABS
independent struts in front; semi-independent twist beam in rear
AdvanceTrack with electronic stability control and traction control

0-60 mph: 9.9 seconds
Top Speed: 119 mph

EPA City: 29 mpg
EPA Highway: 40 mpg

Safety: front, shoulder and curtain airbags; child safety locks

Likes: sporting character with a luxuriously finished leather interior; priced competitively with the successful Asian subcompacts
Dislikes: while the car’s driving character is sharply tuned, the engine is not quite enough in the power-hungry world of North America

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Text and photography: Larry Crane

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