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The UK’s Diesel Car magazine has named the Ford Fiesta as its Best Small Car of the Year 2010.

Given its ultra cool styling, performance and economy, we think that’s hardly a surprise, especially when you take into account the UK sales charts, which list sales of no less than 43,611 Fiesta’s already sold this year.

Ian Robertson, editor of Diesel Car magazine said: “The Fiesta is great to drive with terrific handling, precise steering and a supple well-judged ride. The blend of good looks, frugal diesel engine and funky interior design makes it a real winner in our eyes.”

In Australia, Ford sell the Fiesta ECOnetic 5 door, powered by a 1.6-litre turbo diesel 4 cylinder with a 5-speed manual, which sips diesel at the rate of just 3.7 litres/100kms and comes loaded with 5 airbags, including driver’s knee airbag, ABS, DSC and Traction Control, USB port, Bluetooth and Voice Control.

It’s spectacularly green too emitting just 98 g/km of CO2.

  • vid_ghost

    The only thing holding it back is the fact its a manual, more then 70% of the market is cut out right there! and thats a big number of buyers!

    • JP

      While i agree with you there, alot of people should just learn how to drive a car properly! (aka, learn to drive manaul! But i know that will never happen, and its understandable that its not always suited for bumper to bumper traffic etc)

      Also that would drastically change the fuel consumption figures, therefore the auto model being less efficient than the ever popular Prius. Unless the fitted the DSG like auto transmission (Powershift i think its called) like can be found in the Mondeo, which would also increase the cost to purchase by a fair bit (albeit ridiculously cheaper than the Prius)

      • Damian

        Why learn to drive manual when manufacturers are gradually phasing them out in favour of twin clutch transmissions? These transmissions offer shift speeds that no other human (yes, including F1 drivers) can replicate, and are usually more efficient than a manual tranny.

        • JP

          Main reason, there is no involvement in the actual driving with an automatic. No excitement in driving, which quite alot of people enjoy.

          While things like DSG interesting, fast shifts means didly squat in anything but drags or tracks.

          DSG should definitely replace the normal horrific automatics, but should they ever replace a proper manual? No.

          And further to what Devil’s Advocate said, have you tried driving a low powered automatic? Eg, a 1.4L ? Automatic doesnt belong in a car like that, unless it is DSG, at least then you can change down a gear and hold your speed with ease….try that in a normal auto, you just slow down!

          • Jimmy

            That’s a pretty subjective definition of “an involving drive”.

            Some of the most “involving” cars I’ve driven were automatic. I do agree however that older, lower-powered cars are much better/more fun in manual mode.

            I guess that’s the only choice they had back then though. The cars were built for that kind of transmission.

    • Devil’s Advocate

      Don’t forget vid_ghost that this is a European designed/developed car and over there, manual is king by quite a margin. Australia and the US on the other hand have a love for automatics. Must be because we are so lazy! 😉 LOL.

      • Radbloke

        Spot on. I couldn’t think of anything worse than a front wheel drive 4 cylinder automatic. The ultimate lazymobile.

        • ManualAuto

          I love seeing the arguements you get on here about manuals vs autos.. the manual lovers starting calling people lazy, then they suggest people should ‘learn how to drive’ a manual etc etc. Did anybody ever stop to consider just how good double clutch six speed autos are these days? Having driven the previous focus TDCi Manual and the current focus TDCi powershift double clutch 6 speed auto, I see absolutely no reason to think a traditional manual is superior. And the fuel economy fares no worse with the double clutch unit also. The fact is, people dont always buy autos cause theyre lazy and cant drive, its simply a matter of the latest generation autos being a no compromises alternative to what car enthusiasts used to think of as the best choice of transmissions. Also being a current owner of an FG F6 with the brilliant ZF 6 speed auto, I can tell you that it is definately superior to the Tr6060 manual (and yes I test drove both and even checked out the launch control feature etc). Fact is, if they offered the Fiesta Deisel with the powershift double clutch transmission, they would sell a hell of a lot more of these cars in Australia, even if it costs $2000 more to buy!

          • Andrew M

            If I had my time again now, I would probably go for the ZF6 in my FG.
            Ive always had manuals. I went for the Tr6060 manual because at the time Ford didnt offer the ZF6 in the XR ute. Unless the Auto is a ripper, Ill take the manual thanks.
            The main reason I would probably go a ZF now it that I do a lot of towing. Compared to previous Falcon manual boxes, I dont think the current 6sp is as suited for towing.

            With the current 6sp, it is much harder to launch thanks to them cramming the ratios toward the top end to favour fuel economy.
            I do however enjoy driving a manual more, just that the practical side says I should probably be on the auto train.

            My other halves Mazda is an Auto. Its got a cracker 5sp auto with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Certainly nothing unenjoyable about driving that.

            On the Fiesta,
            Ford should definately offer an Auto.
            Saying people should learn to drive a manual is just blind siding customers. Its like not offering a low fat milk. Sure some might suggest we should all drink “real” milk, but if its not offered, customers will go else where

          • JP

            I agree its not because people are lazy etc, however i think learning manual on your L’s etc does give you better road awareness etc.

            And i totally agree on the ZF auto trans being a fantastic one, and a vast improvement over other autos.

            My issue is the lack of involvement with an auto in general, even a DSG, but i just love driving and snap gear changes etc.

            I do agree they should offer powershift with the fiesta though, it would increase sales dramatically! I’d still op for the manual one though 😛

          • Clueless

            The Thailand source Fiesta from Q3 2010, will have 6 speed Powershift. But it will only be on petrol engine. Also the sedan is coming as well.

    • filippo

      Vid_ghost, where do you get the 70% figure from? Did you just make it up? Are you aware that in Australia manual Fiestas have outsold automatics at a rate of almost 2 to 1?

      • nick

        That’s because the engine in the auto isn’t as good as the manual one. If you look at something like a Corolla, which is just bought by people who don’t care and fleets, you’ll find that at least 70% are automatics. I heard it was nearly 90% a couple of years ago.

      • HS-Pee

        Yeah but you DO realise the only reason people are buying the manual is because it runs a 1.6 litre engine wheres the auto gets a dog of an engine in the 1.4 litre, come to think about it the ancient 4 speed auto they mate it to is also a dog. You really think they would have trouble selling the fiesta auto with a 1.6 litre engine and the 6 speed double clutch powershift tranny? I dont think so.

        • filippo

          But you DO realise that I am basing this information on all Fiestas sold in Australia, not just the current model with the 1.4/auto?

          Although this combo is not going to set any roads on fire, it’s no less capable than an auto Mazda 2 or Toyota Yaris, and certainly handles a lot better.

          But then, what person looking at a small automatic car really cares about performance? I think that most people would be happier that the auto option only cost them $1500 extra rather than having the most wizz-bang transmission at a significantly higher premium.


    In early 1980’s I told to my friends I never buy an automatic car. Today …I am driving and auto car and is much better than manual. If I really want I just change back to 2 or lower. I can still change gears. In F1 there is no manual or I should say is half manual. We should not have any clutch it looks cheap to me.

  • Frank

    I have had both manual and automatic cars. The one thing I never found myself cursing because I was driving an automatic in traffic nor did I ever find myself really wishing I had a manual car in any particular situation.

    I think people buy manuals because they are generally less expensive. However over time I can attest clutch replacement costs will outweigh costs of automatics.

    I would say DSG type transmissions will ultimately take over the market, but for now manuals still allow makers to offer cars at a certain price point.

    • riceboy

      not sure if i agree about clutch costs… my GTI Golf has done 45,000km, and it’s getting “mechatronic” part replaced in DSG under warranty. Hate to imagine how much parts/labour costs out of warranty!

  • si1982

    I appreciate that Double clutch, CVT, traditional Autos etc have something or the other to offer, however I find it very uninvolving to drive an Automatic. Thts just me.

    Also, the price of a car goes ridiculously up when you buy an automatic! not so much of an issue in a big car, but in the small hatchback segment this is an issue. If the majority of cars being sold in Australia are automatics then the manufacturers should try and close the gap if not remove it completely between an auto and manual pricing.

  • http://carAdvice The Salesman

    I enjoy bashing through cogs in a manual. But lets be honest. Automatic transitions are far more intelligent, will drive the car better, get better economy and shift smoother than any experienced old school stick shifter would ever be able to achieve.

    • Andrew M

      Not always true T/S.

      it has to be a bloody good auto to out-economise a manual.

      If you look at comparisons, there arent many autos that are actually more economical, and winding back the clock 10 years I doubt there was any.

    • JML

      Entirely subjective opinion there, and one I personally don’t share.

      “far more intelligent”
      If your transmission knows when to change gears better than you do, you need to get your brain replaced under warranty. Even the all-conquering ZF gets caught in the wrong gear.

      “will drive the car better”
      Define “better”.

      “get better economy”
      Show me one auto that gets better economy than a manual in the same model.

      “shift smoother”
      You’ve obviously never driven a Commodore auto when it’s slamming into gear and nearly leaving the diff behind on the road. Nor driven a Golf DSG in stop start traffic when it nearly shakes your head loose from your spine.

  • oz boy

    Last 6 cars all manual , then in 2004 subaru convinced me that liberty 3.0r sportmatic is way to go , what a disaster.

    Nothing sporty about it , terrible fuel economy , recal on box chip every service .

    I approached the dsg on the gti with an open mind , great out in the country , not conviced around town , jerky ,mind of its own , ended up with 6 speed manual , love em .

  • oz boy

    Forgot to compliment ford on a very nice car , i know its a girly jobby , but its a very cool shape , nothing gets near it in the style stakes

  • Hung Low

    Well done Ford, considering how highly contested this segment is in Europe!

  • filippo

    I wish Ford Australia would expand its range of diesel Fiestas. While the Econetic is nice, it’s a bit of a gimmick. The TDCi Fiesta on the other hand is a gun. It goes like stink and yet manages to achieve pretty good fuel economy figures. It’s manual only, but that’s what Fiesta owners overwhelmingly prefer anyway.

  • toxic_horse

    Auto = Homo

  • Neo Utopia

    Manual for me thanks, even when I start to grow grey hair I’ll still prefer the more engaging transmission. Since I avoid peak hour traffic most of the time by using public transport, I will moreso enjoy driving the manual on the weekend drives.

    • OSienna

      If you live in Sydney then the weekend is as bad if not worse than during the week. People are out for shopping, kids sporting events, visiting friends and family etc. Most tend to go about these activities using their cars and not public transport so there’s definitely much more congestion on the roads these days. The only solution is to move out of the big smoke.

      In any case, I don’t find manual transmissions any more stressful than an auto. You just need to know how to adjust your driving style to avoid the stop/start, bumper-to-bumper procession of traffic. Besides, it forces you to “use your brain” and stay aware and alert of things happening around and ahead of you. I just recently switched back to a manual vehicle after spending a two-year stint in an auto. Having a computer change gears for you is mind-numbing in heavy traffic.

  • Tony M

    People who think that driving a manual means using a clutch to change gears forget that it’s knowing WHEN TO CHANGE GEARS. I know people who have clutchless autos and still can’t drive them because thay have no idea when to change gears. Yes, I, my wife and my adult children all drive manuals. Would I buy a “clutchless manual” yes?

  • peter peugeot

    Peugeot have a 6 speed semi auto EGC gearbox in their 1.6L turbo diesel 308 hatch that gets 4.5L combined and 3.9L highway with 120g CO2! AND it has plenty of get up n go too!

  • bonehead

    I abhor autos. Auto drivers have no brain in their head just air. Auto drivers are not human, they are robots. Auto drivers are useless.