After paving the way for its U.S. introduction by having 100 Fiesta Movement "Agents" roll up over 1.2 million miles driving Euro-spec versions of the car and then report about their "special assignments" on various social media outlets, Ford finally offered a look at the 2011 U.S. production models at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. As expected the "Americanized" variations of the compact sedan and five-door hatchback models due here in early 2010 retain strong visual links with their international kin, differing only in details like grille treatments, side marker lights and minor fascia tweaks needed to accommodate federal bumper-spec requirements. At introduction, all versions (S/SE/SEL/SES) of our Fiesta will share a 1.6-liter 16-valve DOHC inline-four with Ford's slick Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) that helps enhance overall output while improving economy. Rated at 119 horsepower and developing 109 lb-ft of torque, this all-alloy four will be paired with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or Ford's optional PowerShift automatic, a class-exclusive six-speed dual-clutch "automated" manual that promises to deliver even better mileage numbers -- up to 40 mpg on the freeway with the available SFE package.
Handling will be another key attribute of this well-crafted front-driver, thanks to its super-rigid body shell and Euro-tuned front strut/rear torsion-beam suspension complemented by AdvanceTrac stability/traction control and anti-lock brakes. The S/SE models will mount 15-inch wheels with all-season tires, but SES/SEL Fiestas step up to a 16-inch fitment and Ford will also offer an optional 17-inch package. Feature specifics will vary with trim level, but even the base S is set to arrive with items like air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering column, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, solar glass and seven standard airbags. Move upline, and leather upholstery, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, push-button starting and the latest version of SYNC with turn-by-turn navigation plus a host of unique personalization/customization options also join the menu.