I had the unfortunate experience of finding out what happens when minivans and Ford Foci collide in August of this year.  My car got nailed (read: totaled), so I got thrown into the market for a new car.  The Focus had always served me well (I've owned two of them), so I naturally went back to Ford for a third.  I had the same constraints that were in place when I purchased my first two cars:  it had to be reasonably cheap (<$20k), get good gas mileage (>30 MPG), and have a stick shift.  Generally, the last requirement is a pain...Ford seems to think that I only want a stick shift if I want a car with the bare-minimum in accessories, or that I want one that has all of them.  It's a bit of a pain to find a Focus that is decently equipped and has a stick.  Remembering my pain, I was open to looking at other vehicles.  As you'd expect, the dealership that I initially went to took that and ran with it by introducing me to the Ford Fiesta.

I didn't purchase a car from that dealership, but I did end up purchasing a metallic lime sedan model from C and C Ford in Horsham (never again, btw -- would not recommend).  Here's my experience so far:


The car looks pretty awesome!  Some positive bits:

  • The color is awesome
  • Sitting in the front makes you feel like you're in a cockpit
  • The red glow of the buttons in the dark looks pretty slick
  • The body has a pretty unique shape.  One friend described it as a 'bullet'

Some cons:

  • None.  I have yet to find anything about the car that is aesthetically unpleasing


Once again, I'm pretty satisfied here.  Pros:

  • The clutch has a much tighter feeling than my 2007 Ford Focus
  • The stick has a nice "click" into each speed
  • The engine has a nice hum
  • The seat hugs me nicely


  • I only have 120-ish HP.  Hills and acceleration (when above 40 MPH) sucks.  My friend had trouble merging my car into highway traffic because he wasn't anticipating the lack of power
  • Reverse is a pain.  For some reason, it's always a pain to get into reverse without grinding or having the false feeling of being in-gear.  It's fairly annoying.

Entertainment Sytem

This is my first vehicle with MS Sync.  At first I was pretty impressed, but that kind of faded away.  Pros:

  • Built-in USB port (VERY NICE!)
  • Bluetooth audio streaming (VERY NICE!)
  • Bluetooth phone tethering (for voice and data)
  • The mic for the driver is mounted above their head and sounds very nice.  No one knew that I was driving when I was talking to them.
  • On-dash keypad
  • Steering wheel mounted media controller (change inputs and switch tracks where applicable)
  • Decent sound system
  • Voice control (pretty impressive)


  • My car decided that it no longer wanted to pair with my phone.  Car forums suggest that a hard reset or that disconnecting the batter is the best fix.  Eww, Ford.
  • The sound system lacks on the lower end at any volume above 12 or 13 (the stereo goes up to 30)
  • The volume dial lies (see the next paragraph)
  • Switching songs is slow when using a USB/Bluetooth device as input
  • When I hit the "voice command" button, there's a 1 in 20 chance that the music will stop, but the unit will not prompt me for input and will not accept voice commands until I power cycle the unit

Before moving on, I thought that I should take some time to elaborate on the pros and cons here.  I was pretty blown away by Sync at first.  Once it indexed my iPod Touch, it worked really well.  It blew me away!  Then I started noticing flaws.  For whatever reason, switching tracks was taking forever.  My in-dash CD player was switching tracks 2-4 times faster than the MP3 player (note:  this might be an iPod interface problem).  Then, my phone stopped pairing with my car.  My roommate's phone was also paired, and we were able to confirm that it wasn't just my phone...it didn't like anybody's phone!  Lastly, I cited complaints about the sound.  I have the 'upgraded' sound system.  It's ok, but I can't imagine what the stock system must be like!  The low end fades away pretty quickly, which stinks.  Also, the car's volume doesn't actually go to 30 as I noted in the bullet list.  It stops getting louder after 18.  I'm pretty sure that the sound quality in my Focus was on-par with the Fiesta *and* was louder.  So much for an upgrade.

Other Thoughts

I've really come to love my car.  The vehicle is an awesome piece of machinery -- I definitely made the right purchase.  However, I have a few negative things to express as well.

First and foremost, I experienced a pretty scary moment while driving one day.  While driving through Temple University's campus, I attempted to hit my accelerator while leaving a stop sign.  I was surprised by an obstruction.  I managed to limp the car to the curb and to reach down to find out what was stuck on my pedal.  It turned out to be a piece of air duct.  This could have been really scary if it had fallen under my break pedal (I'm sure you can imagine).  I haven't had time to do so, but when I finally get it repaired, I intend on reporting this to Ford.

Lastly, I was delivered a car that had window switches that didn't work.  From the driver's panel, I'm able to put down my back driver's side window, but unable to put it back up.  I have to reach back to that door and use its switch to put it up.  It's a minor inconvenience, but I think it was easily preventable.  The dealership spent time detailing the car before delivering it to me, so why not test some of the basic functions?  I'm sure I'll complain more once I have to actually take the time to get it fixed.

Overall, I think it's a great car.  If I had to do it all over again, I'd buy the same car (though from someone else -- I blame the dealership for some of my issues).

- bstempi