Pros: "great price, gas mileage, appearance"
Cons: "awkward automatic transmission at low speeds, no armrest, weak storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just bought a 2011 Fiesta SE hatchback with the Power Shift 6 Speed Automatic Transmission. I've had it for a little over a week. Mine has the Sync and Sport Appearance Packages, and I got it for around 18,300.
First, the POSITIVE: I don't need to tell anyone how great the car looks. Probably the best-looking of all cars in its class. Gas mileage has been very good, though not as high as the 29/38 posted on the sticker. I've been averaging around 26 mpg, but I have been doing mostly stop-and-go driving. Haven't been on the highway at all. Still, great gas mileage, no complaints. Also, interior space for FRONT OCCUPANTS is very generous, very comfortable for most people. The seats are a noteworthy perk. Everyone who gets in my car comments on how the front seats just hug you and hold you in place. The Sync package is wonderful, as I am able to play music from my iphone over Bluetooth without plugging anything in, although I do also have the input jack and usb connector ports if I ever need them. Also, I can make calls and answer calls without taking my hands off the steering wheel. It's a luxury you don't think you'll ever need until you have it. The premium 80 watt 6-speaker sound system sounds great. I can't speak for those who only have 4 speakers. As for the "spotter" or "blind-spot" mirrors, I personally love these. There have been numerous times where I am prepared to change lanes, I look in the regular sideview mirror and see nothing, but I then glance in the spotter mirror and see an entire car hiding in my blind spot. I view that as a good thing. Every car has blind spots, and the blind spots in the Fiesta are bigger than those of some other cars, but once you learn how to use the spotter mirrors correctly, blind spots pose much less of a threat. I do agree with others that at night, the spotter mirrors are tricky to use. I'll admit, I don't use them at night because it's too difficult to differentiate between sets of headlights in your mirrors. In these conditions, I use the centered interior rearview mirror as well as glances over my shoulder if necessary. Gas mileage: I personally can drive this thing for a week or more on one tank of gas, and filling it recently (September, 2011) cost me $36 with gas priced at $3.37/gallon. First time I've smiled while handing a gas station attendant my hard-earned money, ever.
Anyway, the NEGATIVE: The 6-speed Power Shift "Dual Clutch" automatic transmission is designed to work as two separate manual transmissions. This is supposed to make the ride smoother as your car shifts gears. My BIGGEST CRITICISM of this car is that it drives very awkwardly when you first begin to drive....like when a light turns green or you are about to drive out of a parking space. The best way I can describe it is to say that this car DOES NOT want you to ever "floor it" off the line. It forces you to get a slower, more gradual start then you may be accustomed to. You'll feel the car "hiccup," (like a manual transmission does between shifting gears) if you try to increase your speed too quickly coming out of park or idling. The car does, however, perform much better at higher speeds, and I'm getting used to the low speed issues, adjusting my driving accordingly, and finding it more bearable, however I really wish it wasn't a concern at all. I came to kbb.com to read customer's reviews just to make sure I wasn't the only person experiencing this kind of problem. I did see that one person said the car was "fun" or "speedy" off the line or something like that, and I have no idea what that person is talking about.
Also, I don't mind the very cramped back seat room, I just wish the hatch itself was roomier. I wish the rear seats folded completely flat for storage, but they don't. I wish the process of folding them flat was quicker, but you have to fold them half way, remove the headrests, and then fold the seats as far down as they'll go. Just a minor annoyance.
The armrest is obviously an issue. It's a necessity, and I'll be ordering the Boomerang one immediately. Also, the car is surprisingly low on storage compartments. You'll find yourself looking around for where you want to keep things, and you'll most likely buy some sort of aftermarket product to help with this (like an armrest).
SO IN SUMMARY: This car, for me, was still the best decision, because financial concerns played a huge part in my choice of a car. The gas mileage is great, projected resale value is pretty good, and you won't be able to find a car this affordable that looks this good and offers this many great features.
It is NOT a car for people who drive more than one other person around regularly, but for someone who doesn't have to consider the comfort of others, you're all good.
For those looking to buy an automatic, I would suggest test driving this car multiple times to see how you feel about the transmission.....this is something I really wish I did.
But considering the fact that this car was a very smart financial decision that doesn't look like I only purchased it to be "smart" and "environmentally friendly," I'm still happy I made the purchase."
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