Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2011 Ford Fiesta: The People want a Turbo and Paddle Shifters

Isn't it about time we did 1984 all over again?

Back then gas prices were high, nobody wanted to buy cars from Detroit, and everybody was listening to Michael Jackson music.

Summer 2009: Same story, different plot. Ford, as it was back in the day, is in the midst of introducing a "World Car" – a car that substantially meets the needs of most motoring countries without the need for much model differentiation.

Your Unhumble Car Czar owned Ford's first World Car, the Escort, for a satisfying but ungratifying 18 months back when. It was fine around-town transportation, but above 50 it pogoed over bumps and bounded for the next lane. It wanted a downshift at the first whiff of a headwind.

The Escort's sort-of U.S. heirs, the Festiva and Focus, ran the gambit from competent to almost-brilliant in 50-state forms.

Now that the global economic plunge has made global automotive platforms more than just vaguely sensible ideas, Ford is finally ready to get the whole World Car Thing right.

The 2011 Fiesta, arriving in the U.S. in mid-2010, is, um ... GO. (Think "All your base." Think "FIT." Don't think too much).

Ford already has test models in the hands of young hipsters who are off making viral Jason-drives-through-Krispy-Kreme-and-Just-Loves-the-Handling YouTube videos about them.

Except for some here-today-designing-the-next-bungled-BMW-butt-tomorrow stylist's vapid idea to model the new Fiesta's center instrument panel after cell phone keys (let's be thankful no brilliant young rectangle-glassed wonder thought to make the dashboard of a 1984 GTI mimic a boom box) this is a good-looking ride. Comes in purple-y pink, Pre-political-Anita-Bryant orange, Kermit-the-Frog green, and other cheerful "Recession? What Recession?" colors.

By all accounts, 117 hp moving 2,380 pounds on meaty low-profile rubber for just 13 grand makes the 2011 Ford Fiesta the second coming of the first generation Acura Integra, which was about the best all-around fun car you could get in the 80s.

A tip of the sombrero for replicating the excellence/price quotient of a quarter-century ago with a full complement of modern safety equipment ... but for 2011, Ford, even if we're still all up Ess Ache Eye Tee Crick by then, you could amp things up just a little more without going all Lincoln Blackwood Silly on us.

By all means, pump-out those low-cost, high-grin standard Fiestas for the masses (and even for Muffy and Buffy, whose parents can't currently afford to buy them little German cars owing to ongoing SEC investigations), but let's please make that "Psst ... hey buddy ... wanna buy a turbo kit?" future buyer survey item you've been teasing us with on your web site a just-slightly-higher-cost, much-higher-grin reality.

A 170 hp turbo option on the U.S. Fiesta would be really swell, Ford. And a six-speed sequential shift gear box with real left-down, right-up paddle shifters would do lots to break the Land of the Free out of its post-hot-rod-SUV hangover.

Keep those funky colors.

If Ultra Violet comes close enough to Plumb Crazy Purple and far enough away from Promise Pink you can count on at least one un-hip self-appointed imaginary government bureaucrat showing up on your showroom door step next year.



  1. Man, fuck paddle shifters. If you can't row a manual then get the fuck over the weak ass automatic.

  2. A long time ago it was fashionable for 20-something fellows to puff out their chests about their ability to use a clutch, but at some point females began to realize that any boy who was so hung-up on his ability to row his own was probably *most* talented at "rowing his own." Besides, all the cool kids are paddleshifting nowadays. It's way faster than a clutch, and you can leave it in auto whenever you need to sip your latte or watch YouTube videos on your iPhone.

  3. A manual shift will always provide a more connected driving experience. In my opinion all cars should be manual shifting. Sipping latte's and playing with iPhone's is exactly the problem with todays drivers.

  4. lol Preach Anonymous Preach!

  5. I agree as a manual-shift nazi, but paddle shifters can be fun too. Just like my xbox steering wheel!

    While the purest driving connection is made with a stick-shift in hand, I think the option for paddle dsg would help this car succeed, and if some WRC marketing (like the STi) were connected to a turbo option, this car could seriously spank some GTI market share.

    That and I have a friend with a screwed up left knee who's morose over the fact that using a clutch is very painful after any extended time. It would also help pull in some people who are terrified of standards to possibly see the light of what they've been missing!

  6. what the hell watch you tube videos while Ur driving that's fucking stupid as hell. Well fuck i was hit last week in my old car by a kid texting while driving(why i have a 2011 fiesta now) but i guess it happened for the right reason

  7. The only real manual is a stick not paddles or an auto that has up/down shift in it. Love to see a turbo kit in it. Have 2011 fiesta for a yr now, just love it but want a turbo kit for it. 50-60 hp more. As far as texting goes pull over to the side.

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