Ford’s Party Car

Posted on 11. Aug, 2011 by in Features

If you've been watching North American rally, you'll have noticed a new brand has come to play. Ford's blue oval is recognizable to rally fans in other parts of the world, but it's a new addition in North America. Ford has shown they can be a dominant force in rallycross, with an all Fiesta podium at the X Games this year, and Chris Duplessis is showing how it's done in two wheel drive. So what's the real, off-the-showroom floor Ford Fiesta like? had the chance to find out last month, when Ford hooked us up for our annual trip out to Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs, in New Richmond, Quebec. The showroom Ford puts out a lot less grunt than the rallycross Ford, but as compensation, we were told it would get slightly better mileage, a boon given the nearly 1400km trip – one way – out to Baie. But how big a price do you pay in fun for all the fuel economy? The Fiesta comes with a 1.6l engine, putting out about 120hp, in our case, channeled through a five speed manual gearbox. The result was a car that didn't exactly knock you back in the seat, but was quick enough around town, and had enough go to pass comfortably on the highway, provided you're willing to gear down. Where the Fiesta was most entertaining was on anything twisty, where its small size and light weight translated to a nimble ride. Even with an hour spent stuck in Montreal traffic, the car managed 5.5l/100kms over the whole trip. That's just a little more than half what my road car gets despite the Fiesta carrying three people and our stuff. The seats are also great. Front or back, they're all well bolstered and a slimmer than average fit while still being very comfortable on the long drive. Of course, not everything is great. A fancy keyless entry and ignition seems a bit too smart for its own good. Or at least too smart for me. Additionally, the Microsoft Sync system didn't like out iPods, and wouldn't let my passengers sync their phones via bluetooth while I was driving. Still, once a user gets everything working, the Sync system should offer up a great way to safely use a phone or listen to your mp3 collection. On the plus side – though extremely frivolous – the car has mood lighting. In seven colours plus an off mode, it lights up various pockets in the car to help you express yourself, or at least offer up distraction on a long drive to rural Quebec. Of course, the most exciting thing about the Fiesta is the R2 package, available direct from Ford. The kit, when applied to a stock Fiesta ups the power by approximately 40%, while making the most of it using Reiger and Eibach suspension and a sequential gearbox. The kit also includes the necessary safety equipment – seats, belts and a cage. When finished, the owner will have a ready to race Ford Fiesta that will be the same spec worldwide. All you need is a Fiesta – used ones should start popping up any time, and the kit was announced at SEMA last year, for $30,000 USD. Including the price of a new Fiesta, you're looking at a very well equipped car that will cost about half the build of a comparable quality Open class car. Not a bad way to introduce yourself to the North American rally community.

2 Responses to “Ford’s Party Car”

  1. CrazyLeo

    24. Aug, 2011

    And where is the picture of that stock ford sideways? boring!

  2. Kevin

    10. Oct, 2011

    Give it time Leo, hopefully we start seeing some Fiesta’s along side the Focus’…Foci?…goin’ head to head with the Lancers and Golf’s

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