Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

OK, that headline is misleading. I just wanted to get you to click. We didn't REALLY have any misadventures in Montreal, but our time here on this leg of the Ford Fiesta World Tour has been interesting nonetheless.

We started the morning at Niagara-On-The-Lake in Ontario, Canada, and then doubled-back west for a bit before heading to Toronto. Our stay in Toronto wasn't long, just a few photo ops in front of the famous CN Tower and then on our way to Montreal. We arrived around dinner time, shot some more photos and video, and finally caught a late dinner, road weary from the long haul.

Today I swapped into a manual-transmission Fiesta SE after spending the first day in an automatic-tranmission SES. Besides swapping the six-speed automatic for the five-speed manual, I swapped into a car that had a slightly lower level of content (example: no push-button start). It still had a USB port (essential for iPod entertainment and cell-phone charging) and satellite radio, another godsend while on the road.

Ride and handling essentially don't change, but the manual does give the car a bit more pep, since it's easier to quickly downshift when you need to. And you need to often--I found myself dropping from fifth to third for passing, and even entered second twice on freeway entrance ramps--because the Fiesta just doesn't have much low-end power.

Or, perhaps, it's a gearing issue. I suspect Ford was so bent on hitting 40 mpg with the car--it's a more marketable number than, say, 37--that the company either held back the power or adjusted the gearing in order to achieve high fuel-economy targets. It's too bad, because the Fiesta would be an absolute joy to drive if it just had a bit more juice. At least the handling aspects of the car feel dialed in, and the ride is mostly amenable on the highway.

I do like the clutch's heavy feel and progessive take-up, but the shifter's throws are too long and light. At least the tall shifter is an easy reach. A sixth gear would be also be nice, given the four-cylinder's propensity to be a bit revvy.

As far as those misadventures go, well, they mainly concern us slowing traffic as we shot video and photos (my apologies to the locals) and my in ability to convert kilometers to miles in my head (I am mathmetically challenged) as well as my lack of French vocabulary skills. True, just about every local speaks English, but unlike Ontario, which has road signs in both English and French, in Quebec, just about every sign is in French. I know about 10 words of French, and I've learned six of those in the last five hours. Did you know "sortie" is French for "exit?" You do now.

Tomorrow we head back to States, with the destination being Boston, with a stop or two in Vermont. I will check in again sometime tomorrow.

One last highlight from today: Riding in our Lincoln MKT support vehicle. I didn't get to drive it, but damn if it didn't make a fine place for an afternoon nap when I took a two-hour break from driving.

Perhaps the MKT could someday replace the Lincoln Town Car as limo of choice. If that day comes soon, sign me up for executive transport.