Posted by: David Kiley on February 27, 2008
Ford is showing the Ford Fiesta world car at the Geneva Motor Show. That’s because it will go on sale in Europe for the 2009 model year, while U.S. buyers will have to wait another year.
We don’t know for sure what body styles the U.S. will get. But I’d bank on the four-door sedan and the three door coupe. That’s a pity. I still believe this segment is defined by the five-door hatch, but Ford’s research says different. When the Fiesta, known as the Verve in auto shows up to know, arrives in the U.S. it will have features including all the usual airbags—driver knee airbag, electric power steering, a MacPherson front strut/twist beam rear suspension, cool ambient lighting, and, we hope, taut driving dynamics a’la the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa, the class of the segment these days.
For all global markets, the Fiesta engine lineup will include five powerplants: two gas engines, a 1.3-liter and a 1.4-liter four, and three diesels, topped by a 1.6-liter diesel four with 85 hp. A five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic are the transmission choices for European customers. Those tranny choices should also be available in the U.S.
The Fiesta’s internal styling theme is based on the look and feel of mobile phones—a styling cue often talked about by North American design chief Peter Horbury. The audio system is integrated into the whole center stack, with separate areas for volume, display and the electronics. Other features on the Euro Fiesta include Bluetooth connectivity; a capless fuel refiller and a telescoping steering wheel. We hope the U.S. version has all that stuff too, but we aren’t holding our breath for the diesel.
Some people in the U.S. don’t like the choice of the Fiesta name, which has been a mainstay of Ford’s European lineup. Ford marketing and PR says it plans to use the next two years to grease the skids for Fiesta’s arrival in America, playing up Ford’s prowess in high-performance fuel-efficient small cars in Europe being deployed in the U.S. as gas prices surge.