“Does my bum look bad on this?”
I write this review as my time with this greatly under appreciated light sedan come to an end, however I'll take you back to the beginning…
After receiving the fateful news that my 25+ year old 4WD suffered some terminal engine failure (terminal to my wallet mainly), I hurriedly had to make a decision for something to replace it. I never actually went off road anyway so replacing it with a small 4WD seemed a waste of time and money.
The Fiesta didn't actually pop up on my radar as a vehicle to be interested in. I briefly sat in a Hatch version at a motor show but dismissed it as girly in styling. I had been reading all the latest road reviews of models that were in the price bracket I was considering and every one of them commended the little Fiesta as a good little car. Basing my choice on the expert opinions shared in the reviews, I leased a LX Sedan with manual transmission with not a hint of a test drive. Madness you might say! I say, I've just come from a mid 80's 4WD, anything was likely to be a better drive…
Firstly, let's deal with the styling. I am just as dismayed as everyone else at the rear end design of this car. Ford did not do it any justice by making it look like a guppy fish sucked to within an inch of its life. Move around to the side and front profile and the lines flow, the budget just seemed to run out after the rear window. The narrower proportions of light cars don't always do them a favour, but this definitely is not the finest of designs. Why would I want one then? It has a boot, a boot big enough to fit stuff in, not the poor capacity the Hatch could only offer. It's then only the person behind me on the road who has to look at it anyway.
What did I expect out of it? I am someone who doesn't need or want many frills but still wanted an engaging drive experience (achievable in all price brackets). This car wouldn't necessarily do any better on the freeway than its competition but as soon as you turn onto the B-roads the smile on your dial goes up a notch or three. The ride and handling balance sits at a class above just as the motoring experts said it would. There is enough power there for two plus luggage. Four or a slightly squishy five occupants would definitely see it having to spend more time being wrung out though. Just me 90% of the time, fitted my needs perfectly. Guess what? It's good on fuel too! Surprise, surprise!
Behind the wheel. This was going to be interesting as I only sat in one for two minutes at a motor show. Unsure if good luck played a part here but I certainly jagged a comfortable pew. The steering is only adjustable for height which might not work for everyone but a good compromise is possible. After extended journeys of 6-7 hour stints behind the wheel, only getting out for petrol and toilet breaks, a good seat helps incredibly in keeping you alert and fresh at the helm.
Left hand indicator stalk? No dramas, I'm not a sook who can't handle “change”. Voice activated controls? They probably work well. Don't really know, don't use it. Stereo? Yes, I did frequently use that and enjoyed the 6 speaker system too.
Moving to the negative side of the ledger, maybe I just may be old fashioned but never got used to not seeing an engine temperature dial as part of the dashboard instruments. I'm yet to hear a good explanation for them to be omitted on models. Tyre Goo. Full stop, not a useful substitute for the likes of Australia even over a space saver spare. Makes less sense to the consumer when if needed to replace the “goo” if used, was quoted $115 for replacement canister. Not nice Ford Australia…
My original question posed, “Does my bum look bad on this?” The answer is very much yes, but just like wearing K-Mart track pants, you don't care and just enjoy the basic comfort and freedom they provide.
The Fiesta's time comes to an end due to myself being a high mileage road user. It never missed a beat in that time and will be fondly remembered.