The Ford Fiesta Will Dominate The Small Car Segment

Illustration for article titled The Ford Fiesta Will Dominate The Small Car Segment

Everyone talks about how the Ford Fiesta will do against other compact cars. But now that it's been EPA-certified at 29MPG city, 40MPG highway, we're thinking it can take on bigger cars — and kick their asses.

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We've run the numbers on the Ford's newest entry to the compact car segment — the Fiesta — and put together the following chart comparing it to the top four highest-selling small cars (one size larger than the compact segment) in the U.S. marketplace. We think it explains very well why we think the Fiesta's going to sell as well as we claim.

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One note: Despite our undying love of manual transmissions, we have to face up to the market demand here, so for this comparison we've specified each car with its most miserly engine and automatic transmission, otherwise the cars are as basic as possible. Surprisingly, this favors the Fiesta as its new twin-clutch automatic transmission performs better in fuel economy tests than its manual counterpart.

There are certainly many factors not considered here including interior space, styling inside and out, buyer loyalty and all the vagaries which make the small car segment such vicious competition. Still, the Fiesta surprised us enough when we drove it to force us to wonder if due to the more lackadaisical efforts from GM, Honda and Toyota, they might be surprised to find the subcompact Fiesta eating their lunch.

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DISCUSSION

I love my 13-year-old Civic to death, but must admit I'm getting a bit bored with having to thrash it day in day out for every one of it's 90 remaining horsepower, and could in the next year possibly find myself in a car built in this century.

The new Civic, Fit, and upcoming CR-Z are all on my radar. So is the Fiesta. The Civic's futuristic looks have grown on me, but it's awfully big. The Fit isn't that fuel efficient for its size, and is overpriced. The CR-Z is a three-door, but is also a hybrid for some reason.

The Ford Party may have an uglier face than the euro version, and have two extraneous doors, but I like how it weighs the same as my Civic, only with 30 more horses, 20 more torques, and two more gears. Not to mention something other than a featureless AM/FM Radio (I'm too lazy to install an aftermarket stereo, which would require removing virtually the entire dashboard.)

Hmmmm...