Loading indicator
News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

8 / 10

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

With prices starting from just $16,990, the updated WT Ford Fiesta range includes more diesel variants, sedan models, added safety features and a new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

As we venture into a new decade there is considerable excitement for automakers as they plan to roll out future technologies and move the industry towards an exciting new direction. Most interestingly though, there appears to be a strong resurgence at Ford.

Whilst on the outside it appears the automotive world is now dominated by the might, technological genius and future planning prowess of Japanese and European manufacturers, one would be foolish to dismiss the legacy of Henry Ford.

Ford Motor Company was the only big American manufacturer that didn’t file for bankruptcy during the global financial crisis. That’s partially due to smart future planning that saw it in a position years ahead of rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

Part of that future planning was the updated WT Ford Fiesta.

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

If someone had said to me ten year ago that Ford will have the most fuel efficient car in Australia by 2010, I would’ve looked at them in the same way I’d look at a Scientologist explaining the evils of alien Lord Xenu.

Alas, it’s true. The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic remains as the most fuel efficient car on the market. Despite all attention on the Toyota Prius, the Fiesta uses just 3.7 litres of diesel per 100km (beating the Prius by a good 0.2L/100km and at least $15,000).

The ECOnetic technology has filtered through to the rest of the Fiesta range. With the updated WT release, Ford Australia has added more diesel variants and changed its sourcing operations from Europe to Thailand (except for ECOnetic) and has brought a number of firsts into the segment.

From the outside you can tell the new Fiesta hatch apart thanks to its revised front bumper and different wheels. All Fiesta sedan variants join the lineup as model year 2011.

The new Fiesta also happens to be the only car in its class that sports a six-speed dual-clutch transmission (Powershift) and finally gains a maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating (same as Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo, Mazda2, Toyota Yaris).

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

To review and road test the new Fiesta, Ford brought Australia’s automotive press to Adelaide. It was there, in torrential rain, that I got accustomed to what is arguably one of the best light-cars in the market today.

Here is the thing, there is no such thing as a bad car anymore. The Honda Jazz, for example, has an amazing capability to turn into a mini-van thanks to its rear ‘magic-seats’ that allow for ample storage room when removed or folded down. The new K13 Nissan Micra comes with a load of new features that include a little storage area built into the passenger seat. The Volkswagen Polo has won numerous car of the year awards and continues to offer the best interior in its class. Nonetheless, the Ford Fiesta has its place.

Out of the three cars I just mentioned, none of them make the cut for the top three best selling in their segment. So far this year about eight percent of all light-car buyers have signed the dotted line for a Fiesta. The top three in the light-car category are: Hyundai Getz, Toyota Yaris and Mazda2. All great cars in their own right, but long ago superseded in technology and features by the newer models.

So it goes without saying that despite the latest technology, fuel economy, safety features and marketing, sometimes it takes a little more to convince potential buyers to try something new.

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

Heading out of Adelaide airport the first variant driven was a top of the range Zetec 1.6-litre manual. With 88kW and 151Nm of torque, the little petrol Fiesta is rather zippy around town.

Priced at $20,990, Zetec variants are yet to go on sale (Q1 2011). If you can wait a month or two the additional features include all-new sport suspension, sports seats, unique alloy wheels and sporty front bumper.

Sit inside a new Fiesta and you’ll notice just how much attention has been paid to making the little car’s instruments as practical and easy as possible. Everything is pretty much exactly where you’d want it to be. Simplicity is the best answer and that certainly applies in this case. Even the base model comes with Bluetooth and iPod/iPhone support.

There are nice highlights throughout the cabin and special use of fabric for door trims. The centre console allows easy change between audio sources and the single-colour screen (whilst not the prettiest thing in the world) is easy to read and even simpler to use. The sound system is pretty good for the car’s size.

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

Unlike some of its rivals, the Fiesta makes use of hard plastics for its dashboard and door panels. Although it doesn’t look cheap, it can feel a little hard to touch (which means its easier to scratch if you wear rings).

The next test car was a base model CL Fiesta sedan with a six-speed powershift system. It’s hard to fathom that even a light car such as the Fiesta is now equipped with a six-speed dual-clutch system. In saying that, if more is better than the Volkswagen Polo has the edge thanks to its seven-speed box. But this is all about driving feel and dynamics.

If you’ve never heard of a dual-clutch transmission then you have two choices. You can do the research and work out how the system works or you can take my word that it’s the new generation of smooth transmission systems. Better yet, the company that makes the six-speed dual-clutch system for the Fiesta (Getrag) also happens to make gearboxes for the all-new Ferrari 458. Should I say more?

Having gone from a four to a six-speed transmission has allowed for a 30kg weight saving and 12% improvement in fuel economy for the petrol variant. It now makes use of 6.2-litre of fuel per 100km, the same as its manual brother.

Around metro and inner-city environments the six-speed auto is smooth and delivers power when need be. It also happens to seamlessly shift into neutral when the Fiesta is not in need of engine power (e.g. stopped at traffic lights). Around hilly country side Adelaide though, it’s a slightly different story as it has to pushed harder to keep up with its manual counterpart.

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

When it comes to choosing between manual and auto, it all depends of what you’re after. If you plan on driving your Fiesta around town then the automatic makes perfect sense and you won’t be disappointed. However, if you happen to travel out of the city frequently or live in a hilly part of town then the manual is worth considering.

You can debate the merits of manual and automatic transmission for days but what’s really going to stir the pot is the new diesel variants. The same 1.6-litre diesel engine found in the ECOnetic is now available in other Fiesta models. With 66kW of power and an impressive 200Nm of torque, the diesel powerplant is available in LX (sedan, hatch) and Zetec hatch. It’s by and large the pick of the range.

Although it’s currently only available with a manual transmission (Ford says it may come as an automatic in the future) the diesel powerplant smashes its petrol brother for fuel economy, driving feel, pulling power and overall dynamics. If you can drive a manual, you’d be mad to look past it.

Sipping just 4.4-litre per 100km, the Fiesta diesel pulls hard from the lights and makes overtaking a breeze. It behaves itself around town and when the time comes, it gives a lot more ‘go’ than you might be expecting. Diesel variants attract a $2,500 premium but (even with the better fuel economy set aside) it’s worth every cent if you ask me.

Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review
Ford Fiesta Review

Overall, the new Fiesta’s ride and handling remains at the top of its segment. Ford has also made sure it’s quieter than ever thanks to improved sound proofing.

It conquers corners at ease and rides some of Australia’s most dreadful roads without too many hassles. Around tight corners Ford’s Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) (which is now standard across the range) makes sure the Fiesta remains on track.

If you ever happen to be in accident you’ll quickly find out that there are seven airbags to take care of you. Buyers of the base model (CL) should certainly tick the $600 safety box to gain the 5-star safety rating.

With excellent fuel economy, 5-star safety rating, superb ride & handling and the latest in technology, the new WT Ford Fiesta adds yet another strong competitor to the ultra-competitive light-car segment.

Model Bodystyle Engine Transmission Price Availability
CL hatch petrol manual $16,990 Now
PowerShift auto $18,990
sedan PowerShift auto $18,990
LX hatch petrol manual $18,990 Now
PowerShift auto $20,990
Diesel manual $21,490
sedan petrol manual $18,990
PowerShift auto $20,990
Diesel manual $21,490
Zetec hatch petrol manual $20,990 Q1 2011
PowerShift auto $22,990
Diesel manual $23,490
ECOnetic hatch Diesel manual $24,990 Now

  Submit an Owner Car Review


Ford Fiesta Review
  • 8
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  Submit an Owner Car Review

  • Neil

    Whilst I’ve read that the three-door wasn’t a massive seller, it’s a shame to see it completely pulled from the line-up (as with the Mazda2) and replaced with yet another awkward looking sedan. Slight sad that the Kia Rio is the least-ugly sedan in this segment.

    Here’s hoping the Fiesta can roar up the charts like it’s factory sibling though!

    • JabbaTheHutt

      I agree with your comments on the sedan styling. The fiesta sedan is awkward to say the least. I don’t know why anyone would bother when the hatch is so much easier on the eye. It’s also far better styled than the silly looking mazda 2.

      Personally I’d be looking long and hard at the new polo in this segment but the fiesta ia right up there. The hatch’s styling has grown on me other time and the interior is pretty good for the coin.

  • Staggers

    I hope the dual clutch transmission is better then Volkswagen’s, they suffer from too much hesitation from take off and are jerky at low speeds. For those reasons i wouldnt bother considering a dual clutch transmission if i was using the car primarily for the city. Otherwise they are brilliant transmissions, the shifts are smooth and very fast.

  • Shak

    CA, i’ve read in many other publications and sites that with the shift to Thai production, Ford changed some of the premium materials in the interior and you can really tell. Their excuse is to lower costs, but you would think that with the shift to Thailand, costs would go down anyway!

  • nickdl

    Finally a decent auto should hopefully see the Fiesta rise up the charts. The Yaris, Getz and i20 are all substandard and shouldn’t be selling as well as they are.

    Although the sedan is incredibly ugly, light sedans don’t sell well regardless. They all look awkward with their short wheelbases and they’re not practical.

    • Shak

      How can you call space for four adults and a 500 litre boot not practical?

      • nickdl

        Well considering the hatch has the same interior space plus folding rear seats I think it’s a slightly more practical offering.

        • Shak

          My point is, you can seat four and have the boot in use at the same time. you cant do that in the hatch, its one or the other.While i myself dont like the small sedan concept, it makes sense for many, just not our market.

          • nickdl

            Yeah fair enough, personally I don’t think you should be buying a sedan smaller than a Cruze or Corolla if that sort of thing happens regularly.

    • hicars

      What makes the my11 i20 substandard?

      • nickdl

        Its drivetrain with the 1.4 and four-speed auto. NVH isn’t up to the same class standards nor is the ride and handling.

  • Bruster

    Whatever happened to driveaway prices. I enquired about this car. Its more like $20000 driveway for a base car. Why advertise $15000.,,. Its very frustrating when you have a budget in mind

  • Devil’s Advocate

    I have a question for you Alborz. You mentioned the dual clutch transmission shifts into neutral when power is not needed. Is that when you take your foot off the accelerator going down hill only or also when you are just backing off for a set of traffic lights for example? I would also like to know how is shifting into neutral better for coasting? That is really strange if it really does that, not to mention dangerous.
    If Ford say it is for better economy even that is bullocks as basically all cars now cut fuel and some even cut spark under decceleration burning no fuel at all. Shifting into neutral still burns fuel to stop the engine from stalling. Either way it is still a great little car.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      It will go into neutral when stopped at traffic lights or when it deems it appropriate, it works in the same way that start stop technology works, the instant you touch the accelerator its good to go again. I am not 100% sure on the details but when i first drove the car I didn’t even know it had that system built in, so it’s not something that you’d notice.

      • Devil’s Advocate

        Thanks for the clarification!

    • Greg

      My Fiesta is auto, it stays in gear at lights and going down hills, It can be a little jerky on occasions but its so good to drive i’ll overlook this,as far as the car being built in Thailand a lot of good little cars and dual cab utes are born there, not a problem.

    • chrismac

      well devil, if you dont mind me calling you that, when a car is in neutral the revs are at idle as if standing still. when the car is still in gear then , even when decellerating, the revs are above idle and therefore use more fuel. as for the question of it being dangerous the australian safety standards check every type of car that comes into the country. if it was dangerous they would not allow it in.

  • Car Fanatic

    Mazda are dropping their sedan due to lack of sales. I’m guessing the Fiesta will be the same.

    • matt

      and where did you hear that?

    • KinFungL

      Just like the Toyata Echo sedan they have the same problem: BIG ass… this happen to most hatchback based sedan. The Yaris sedan and Honda City sedan (Jazz base) both with total different body design to they hatch version, that make them easlier on the eyes.

      Once Ford/Mazda discover the HUGH light sedan market in Asia they’ll design their light sedan properly.

      • KinFungL

        Not to mention the new Polo sedan. It looks soooooooooo much better than the last Chinese built Polo sedan (first made in China car ever for sell in Australia… why oh why VW bother back then is beyond me…)

  • Reckless1

    “Around hilly country side Adelaide though, it’s a slightly different story as it struggles to keep up with its manual counterpart.”

    I don’t understand how the manual Dual Clutch struggles to keep up with the manual manual. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

    Also as the Devil says, shifting into neutral is a rubbish idea. On the overrun when going downhill or coasting, the transmission should not be in neutral because this consumes fuel, whereas when in gear the fuel can be shut off completely without the engine stalling.

    The dash on this car still shrieks cheap and plasticy, and now that it’s made in the new cheap car paradise (Thailand) it genuinely is cheap. The cars will also be poorly screwed together. Cheap manufacture once was Japan, then Taiwan, then Korea, then China, and now the crap comes from Thailand.

    Polo still reigns supreme.

    • KinFungL

      Thailand have been manufacturing most of our utes for years. They have no problem putting the car together properly, my sister owning one of the first Thai built Honda Jazz (MY07) and have no problem with it what-so-ever in this 4 years (it’s a manual so avoided the CVT issue).

      Thai build cars use cheap material becuase most of those cars ship to 3rd world countries and sell for very low price as bare car (without air cond, power windows/doorlock/mirrors, airbag, abs…). Buyers in those markets don’t care too much about with material the dashboard is make out of.

    • chrismac

      beg to differ reckless. did you know that bmws for aussie market are made in singapore and mercedes in africa.

  • golfer

    Where is the pricing for all the differnt variants please?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      sorry forgot to put that in, will update now.

  • Car Fanatic

    Doesn’t matter where I heard it, just watch this space Matt.

  • Crouchy

    The silver inserts on the Zetec’s bumber are just tacky! Takes me back to the old Hyundai Excel body kit days :(

  • jansjetta

    If we’re talking economy, then I’m looking forward to the 2011 Golf … 3.7l/100 – 1.6 TDi 77kw 250NM and just 99g CO2.

    • Clueless

      Fiesta Econnetic already does that and it was release in 2009. Looks like Ford is a winner again

  • Save It for the track

    The Fiesta sedan has 500 litres boot space, a Commodore only has 496. looks aside if someone was a city dweller, never had to tow anything, and had to carry four (which is what a Commodore or Falcon can seriously carry comfortably anyway) regularly, why wouldn’t they consider one of these ‘light’ sedans.

    • nickdl

      I’d stump up an extra $2000 and get a Cerato, Cruze or Focus sedan instead.

      • http://dodge franz chong

        I went to look at the previous German Model as a replacement for a 2006 Tiida last year and was rather impressed with the package over the Nissan and the pricing till I got the figures on what my old car was worth so couldn’t afford to buy the Fiesta and traded the Tiida in on a 2010 Micra in the end while not a bad car by any means If I was in the market again in the future for another supermini I would consider Fiesta for sure.Who would buy a series 3 C11 Tiida over this is beyond me for about the same money.

  • jj

    sedan looks like it was designed for INDIA.

    terrible! mazda 2 sedan was bad enough!

    great little cars tho, i wonder if they have managed to budget another $2 for carpet on the back of the rear seats yet??

  • Jonno Smith

    The light class cars are finally igniting as Aussie motorists finally realized that V8s, SUVs/4WDs and Big Aussie cars can no longer served their daily urban transportation needs as fuel prices remained stubbornly high and eat into their household budgets. The focus is on fuel-saving technologies (DSG, CVT, stop-start, aerodynamic improvements) and petrol engine efficiencies (Smaller displacements, Direct Injection, forced induction like turbocharging, supercharging or even both, twin-charging). Petrol engines would still be the dominant fuel as the infrastructure is already there and auto manufacturers just need to improve the consumption efficiencies. Alternative fuels (Hydrogen, CNG, Biofuels) have the problem of adapting the infrastructure while diesel refueling is a messy affair with oily pumps and greasy floors. Hybrid car sales may have stalled as motorists are concerned about the battery life technology & their replacement costs and the high prices these new cars command. LPG still very much the domain of fleet users like tradies, cabbies and the big 4WDs and wagons.
    Very disappointed with the Japanese brands as they seemed to be contented in selling low-rent light cars with decades old technology (eg 4 speed torque converter autos)
    in Australia. Seemed like they are contented to keep profitability high while preventing sales from cannibalizing their small car range where the light car higher end models often overlaps with the lower end small car models. The problem with light cars are that they are bland – lack of design innovation (case in point – Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Getz & i20, Kia Rio) and gutless (hard to drive 1.3 to 1.6 liter car after a bigger capacity car). Hope that this new Ford Fiesta with 6-speed dual clutch auto-box changes the game.

  • Greg

    I have just brought my wife a lttle Ford Fiesta auto sedan, yea the gearbox is different but its smooth shifts are fantastic, at low speed crawling just put it into low and it’s ok, the motor spins up to redline smoothly ,cornering ability is fantastic, brakes are brilliant ,the boot is massive ,and its quiet.
    As for the looks who cares each to his own, its a shopping trolley thats fun to drive and easy on the pocket.

  • James

    I dont really like fords but i like Ford Fiesta.

  • Jo

    seems after reading all this comments tells me that buying a fiesta is a winner choice but would anyone else recommend another brand besides this? like Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, Kia Soul, Honda Jazz? I’m think if getting a new car but i would like to know what some of you thought about these small cars.

    • Anthony

      I own a WT LX Fiesta Hatch Diesel. I can say it is a fun car to drive and the fuel economy is fantastic. Try 4.5l/100km and that is all different type of driving. Mine is a manual and I can say that with the diesel, you do not have to change gear as much as the petrol.

      For a small car, I find the quality is good for the price. The dynamics of the car make it a fun car to drive. Like a go-kart on wheels with doors and roof.

      I have had the car for 6 months and there has not been one single problem. Made in Thailand, the build quality is very good.

      Would I recommend? the answer is yes and you will not regret.

    • gt6

      Recently bought a LX Sedan Manual, granted I know the styling is awkward for the sedan but can use the extra space on occasions and it doesn’t get “boomey” like some of the hatch cargo areas remaining quite insulated from road noise on most tarmac. IMO the best feature is it’s ability to feel like a much larger vehicle when driving on secondary highways. Ride and Handling are this car’s strong points and it shines on the back roads. Just prior to owning this vehicle I had driven a Nissan Tiida, Micra and Holden Barina and can say when these vehicles are in similarish price bracket, that this vehicle wins hands down. Tiida is average at best but a quiet cruiser on open roads. Micra is actually not bad and rides and handles quite well but still feels a little cheaper in execution than the Fiesta. Barina, don’t, simple as that. (Hope the new one goes a long way to fixing the horrible drive it is) Spend the extra $$ and you’ll understand why.
      Would have loved to get a VW Polo but I couldn’t have waited the time frame for delivery for my work commitments. The Fiesta has been a great compromise vehicle.
      The biggest complaint relates to it not coming with any type of spare wheel, just “tyre goo in a can”. Made sure mine came with one.

      Nearly 4000k on the clock and nothing to complain about reliability or build quality wise for a 16-21 grand vehicle, it’s no Audi but damn good for what your paying.

  • Ian

    For me ? It is a toss up between the i30 and the hatch Fiesta which is now on offer @ $19,990 drive away. Only a 3 year, 100,000 k warranty though as opposed to the i30’s 5 year unlimited k.warranty………………..Decisions decisions…………. A good 4 grand plus cheaper is the Fiesta too { stating the obvious }.Any thought people ?

  • Ian

    That is the diesel hatch and i30 diesel . Forgot to mention that lol

  • Sarah K

    Hi, I just ordered a “Chilli Orange” Fiesta and am concerned about the colour. All pictures and ads look like a very bright orange with a yellow tinge (which is what I want) But I have been seeing some around that are more of a dull burnt orange (yuck). Has anyone seen a 2011 version of this car and can you fill me in on what you thought of the colour??

  • Hamzeh Kanj

    Has anyone bought the automatic Fiesta Zetec 2011. I wanted to buy this car, but it seems like people are having problems with the transmission, it changes gears on you in heavy traffic and stalls. Is this correct? Prompt responses would be appreciated.

  • Paul

    Just paid and bought a brand new 2011 Ford Fiesta LX WT Sedan diesel from Brisbane Ford dealers. But endedup with 2010 Ford Fiesta Sedan LX WT diesel. Make sure to check build date as that is the year of the vehicle used for resell as well compliance plate has nothing to do with year model of the car. I got swindeled by this and dealers blaming FORD Australia which I have raised a case up with them as well and no one is taking responsibility so guess im stuck with a 2010 instead of the 2011 that I paid for. But car is great/handles like a smaller car but feels like a mid size car on the road. Power for a diesel is wonderful at low rpm and you don’t have to change gears so much but its a little more noisy than compared to the petrol version. I was unable to get my hands on Hatch and even if I did it would cost me another 2.5k even though the resell value between hatch and sedan are the same.. go figure

  • Paul

    Just paid and bought a brand new 2011 Ford Fiesta LX WT Sedan diesel from Brisbane Ford dealers. But endedup with 2010 Ford Fiesta Sedan LX WT diesel. Make sure to check build date as that is the year of the vehicle used for resell as well compliance plate has nothing to do with year model of the car. I got swindeled by this and dealers blaming FORD Australia which I have raised a case up with them as well and no one is taking responsibility so guess im stuck with a 2010 instead of the 2011 that I paid for. But car is great/handles like a smaller car but feels like a mid size car on the road. Power for a diesel is wonderful at low rpm and you don’t have to change gears so much but its a little more noisy than compared to the petrol version. I was unable to get my hands on Hatch and even if I did it would cost me another 2.5k even though the resell value between hatch and sedan are the same.. go figure. Had to stop by at wreakers to pick up a spare tyre as they don’t come with one but goo in a can as someone above already mentioned.

  • Ferencvarga

    New Fiesta looks good, talking about the Merc and BMW been made in lesser accepted countries, what about most of the Audi’s their engines are made and assembled in Hungary along with the rest of the car, where is this world getting to now days, still I love my old Holden HZ wagon hasn’t missed a beat since it’s birth in 1980

Ford Fiesta Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$8,140 - $9,250
Dealer Retail
$9,620 - $11,440
Dealer Trade
$6,500 - $7,400
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
125Nm @  4200rpm
Max. Power
71kW @  5750rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:900  Unbrake:520
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
195/50 R15
Rear Tyres
195/50 R15
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Rear Suspension
Torsion bar, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Power Mirrors
Cloth Trim, Power Windows Front
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Safety Pack
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin