Ford Fiesta (European model)
Ford Fiesta (European model)
Ford Fiesta (European model). Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Ford Motor Company of Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Gerry Frechette

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
Fiesta vs. Fit vs. Yaris vs. Versa

Vancouver, British Columbia – Ford continues to prime the pump for the upcoming Fiesta sub-compact, set to be introduced next summer. Several Euro-spec units have crossed Canada in the last couple of months, as Ford tries to build awareness for the shapely little hatchback, and the latest stop for the mini-fleet was Vancouver, where I had the chance to drive one for a day, everywhere from city streets to open road to a small test track in a parking lot.

It was in this latter environment, in the pouring rain no less, where I drove the Euro Fiestas back-to-back with the three cars Ford is targeting as its main competitors: the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris. Now, it should be mentioned from the beginning that the three Japanese cars were base models, with all that implies for suspension and tires in particular, while the Fiestas appeared to be higher-line models with tires that looked meatier than what one might expect to see on a base model. So, comments about handling should be viewed in that light; then again, wet pavement is the great equalizer.

Honda Fit
Ford Fiesta (European model)
Ford Fiesta (European model)
Ford Fiesta (European model). Click image to enlarge

After a few laps in the Fiesta to get a baseline from which to compare the others, I hopped into the Honda Fit. Before moving an inch, I got my first impression – the Fit’s driver’s seat, while the most supportive of the three Asian competitors, just doesn’t lower close enough to the floor to be comfortable for taller drivers. This isn’t a problem in the Fiesta. Out in the cones, the base Fit did pretty well, coming the closest to the Fiesta in handling proficiency; I’d like to have tried a Fit Sport, which might have given the Fiesta a real run for the money. The Fit is hands down the most useful in terms of cargo room and versatility, with its rear seats that fold totally flat on a level with the rear floor. As a matter of fact, the Fiesta was arguably the least satisfactory in this area, with rear seatbacks that fold down way above the floor level and are not horizontal, and with a slippery metal surface to put items on that wouldn’t be conducive to said items staying put more than a minute into a trip.

Next was the Nissan Versa, and of the four cars, this was the least comfortable through the handling course, thanks mainly to its steering, which felt over-assisted and under-ratioed. There was little road feel, and it took a lot of cranking of the wheel to get through the tighter sections of the course. The Fiesta, by contrast, had the best steering of the bunch, with great weighting and lots of road feel, even on the wet pavement. The upgraded tires no doubt helped here. Where the Versa did shine – no surprise given it was the largest of the group – was in rear-seat and cargo room. This 6-foot-2 driver could “sit behind himself” with ease, and get in and out easily. The Fiesta, while not bad for horizontal space in the rear seat, suffered for its sloping roofline, with smaller door openings and less headroom.

Pages: 1 2 All

Connect with