Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

Ford keeps moving with the marketing for its Fiesta small car. After building buzz with the Fiesta Movement, the company has invited assorted media types to take part in a 57-day world tour, in which Fiestas are being driven around the world.

This journalist hopped on board in Detroit, and I will be spending all week driving across Canada and the Eastern United States in the Fiesta, with the final destination being New York City. I'll also be posting about it each day.

The day started with a visit to Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, where we (myself, another journalist, and a couple of cameramen) spent some time lapping at Ford's vehicle proving grounds. The laps were taken at relatively slow speeds (nothing above 50 mph) but I was able to get a feel for the Fiesta's relatively balanced handling. After that, there was a quick photo opportunity with the Ford employees who worked on developing the car, then on to Canada.

As I crossed the city limits into Detroit, a song from local rocker-turned-star Kid Rock came on the satellite radio station I was listening to. I should've recognized that moment as a sign of the serendipity to come. Not an hour later, when we pulled into a local eatery in Windsor for lunch, we came upon a Model T Ford that appeared to have been lovingly cared for by its current owners. Time for the Model T to meet the new Ford, which is worlds apart from the old Ford.

On the road, our two Fiestas (one with the manual transmission, one with the automatic) have been averaging somewhere around 33 miles per gallon, based on informal observations.

The afternoon slog across Ontario reminded me of what I both loved and hated about the Fiesta from the last time I drove one. I still think the car needs more power--especially the automatic--as it struggles too much in passing situations and when climbing even slight grades.

On the plus side, the steering is dialed in nicely, the highway ride is stiff but not too much so, and the cockpit is comfortable enough (and roomy enough up front) for long highway stints, although I really wish there was a center console/armrest for drivers to rest their elbows.

Day One of my five-day journey across the country is behind me; I'll bring you more from the road as time permits.