First Drive: 2011 Ford Fiesta SEL Sedan


Hype is a dangerous thing in the car business. Too much advance buildup can result in a big letdown when the real car finally shows up. And the Ford Fiesta has certainly had a big advance campaign...nearly a year of special events allowing access and even seat time...none of which yours truly was able to attend.

Well, Ford has put the real deal in my care for a week...and after 24 hours and 100 miles, I'm ready to say this much: They have not over-promised.

The Fiesta is a revelation...a glimpse into how good our friends in Europe have it when it comes to small cars that aren't penalty boxes. Not only is this more than a worthy competitor for the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa, I don't see how Ford is going to sell a single Focus from now until they bring us the European version of that model.


Roomy, decent power, great gas mileage (thanks to a six-speed automatic)...and a huge trunk for its class.

Admittedly, Ford sent a loaded version of its top trim level. Being a pre-production car, the window sticker is blank where the prices go, but building one out to these specs on Ford's website produces an as-equipped price north of $19,000....and that's pricey for this class. I'll be very interested in driving lower-spec five-doors.

Meantime, six days and untold miles to go...followed by a full review right here.