Test Drive: Ford Fiesta Hatchback Sport+ 1.0L PS

DESIGN 4.0 / 5.0

Nothing has changed much with the design of the new Ford Fiesta Hatchback Sport+ 1.0L PS from its 2014 and older predecessors, as it retains its strikingly sporty looks. It has an overall height of 1,469 mm and a minimum ground clearance of 161 mm. The overall length of 3,969 mm and overall width of 1,722 mm really fit into the design philosophy of a subcompact car for city driving. The test unit we got was the “Winning Blue,” which may be a marketing play on Ford’s various awards. The face retains the snouted front, chrome grille, and the familiar smooth and curvy contours that wraps around to the hatchback.

The only downside we can see with the design of the Ford Fiesta Hatchback Sport+ are the uncomfortable seats. The opening height and width for ingress and egress is not consistent
for front driver and rear passengers. The backseat area is cramped, with little to no legroom for tall folks. The front seat is designed with a scooped out leg room in the back panel but people will still be fidgety trying to find a comfortable seating position.

HARDWARE 4.5 / 5.0

This is where the Ford Fiesta Hatchback Sport+ 1.0L PS really shines. The rally and racing pedigree of Ford all boils down to the star of the whole package: the 1.0L 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which is a three time award winning International Engine of the Year design. The engine is a multi-point electronic fuel injection system with a 999 cc displacement and 71.9 x 82 mm bore stroke. The max output is rated at 127 ps @ 6000 rpm and max torque at 170 Nm @ 1400 rpm to 4500 rpm. Given the specs, size of the small engine, and the engineering, the average consumer wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with a 4-cyclinder and larger engine. When comparing the Ford Fiesta’s engine to other 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 liter engines in the market, it is leagues ahead in performance.

For safety features, the Ford Fiesta has anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability program (ESP), hill hold and hill launch assist (HLA), engine immobilizer, and keyless entry system.

Some of the bells and whistles that make this a semi-futuristic car (still holding out for the flying time travel car machine) are traction control, eco-mode, trip computer, variable dimming and outside temperature, sound system that can be controlled via dashboard menu, single in-dash CD, AM/FM, MP3, Aux-in, and USB connectivity. The easy to reach controls has the power door locks with central locking instead of the usual lock latches.

It has powershift 6-speed automatic with select shift that makes this powerful subcompact car effortless to drive around the metro.

USER EXPERIENCE 4.0 / 5.0

Power on demand. This subcompact car is all about power and economy. It can feel and ride like a rally car. The driving experience is stiff and powerful given the gas and engine capacity. Given the responsive and punchy acceleration with the stiffness, this model is still easy to maneuver and is good at cornering due to the electronic stability control. Using rally and racing terms, you can “attack” corners and exit while maintaining your speed. Now that is a racing experience in a safe and computer controlled package.

You can even say that it might be too powerful given the soul sucking traffic here in the metro. It can play with your head thinking about all that power and responsiveness that makes you want to race and rally, but you’re really crawling and slogging through rush hour traffic.

Gas economy is a wallet saver (even with falling gas prices) with 15 to 19 km/l with the local conditions and road rages of traffic-angry drivers on highways. On a typical day though, you can get between 10 to 12 kilometers per liter under medium to heavy traffic but you can throw that out of the window if you have a lead foot.

The automatic climate control for comfort and convenience is an added bonus with the tropical climate of the Philippines. Add the SYNC voice-activation technology which gives the driver the ability to “talk” to the car, and you can drive around with ease and comfort with minimal effort. You can tell your car to turn on your sound system and use the USB connected or Bluetooth connected phone as a source. Speaking of your Bluetooth connected phone, once paired, it’s always on without the need of having to say “Phone” to switch from one mode to another, though the “Phone” voice command still works.

One thing that stood out because of relevant news, gossip, and experiences in the car market is the push start keyless system. You have to step on the brakes before the engine turns on from the push button. Makes you think that this design—which was already implemented even before the news and gossip—is really handy.

This is a car aimed at the city driving market, especially if you’re single or a new driver, and need to think about your wallet. This is not good for a family given the cramped back seating. Teens and the working professional might even hear a lot of complaints from any friend or co-worker that gets crammed into the backseat. As a first car, you will never go wrong in getting the Ford Fiesta Hatchback Sport+ 1.0L PS.

VALUE 3.5 / 5.0

The 1.0L Sport+ PS with EcoBoost model retails at PHP 905,000. But, there are lower-priced variants like the entry level 1.5L Ambiente MT priced at PHP 698,000. The midrange for the model is the 1.5L Trend PS which costs PHP 805,000. Factor in the cost of maintenance and accessories, and some people might find this car a bit too pricey.

What’s Hot:
– Award-winning powerful yet fuel-efficient engine
– Upscale features

What’s Not:
– A bit pricey
– Cramped rear seats

Bottomline:
Power on tap. Bells and whistles. Wallet-saving gas economy. What’s not to love for a first car?

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE March 2016 issue
Words by Benji Ortiz
Photos by Barry Ortiz

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