May 1, 2013

What the driver feels in the euro-spec cars we drove is the joy of reduced weight along with willing power. Even on small, non-performance tires and a mom-and-pop suspension tune, the 1.0-liter Fiesta really hangs in the corners with a light, quick-on-its-treads feel. And the power, if not bristling in a Mustang sort of way, is surprisingly meaty down low with 148 lb-ft of torque and revvy until it goes flat a little before redline—it's amazing what 20 pounds of boost will do. The calibration engineers have worked in a rather aggressive throttle pedal. A little bit gives you a whole lot initially—which is an old trick to make small engines feel larger, but they didn't have to. The 1.0 and five-speed manual combination give enough thrust for daily driver entertainment. Throttle lag is non-existent, and, if anything, the torque response is a hair touchy when you're going at it on a twisty road. We wish Ford would firm up the brake pedal, and we're hoping the gear shift won't be as sticky coming out of gear once it gets a few thousand miles on it, but overall the 1.0-liter Fiesta hits our buttons for a 40-plus mpg (official figures weren't set at deadline) daily driver.

Also not announced was pricing, but assuming a $1,000 premium for the EcoBoost over the base 1.6-liter four-cylinder Fiesta engine, the 1.0 version might be had for $15,500 but probably more with options. Acknowledging the nicely finished, big-car ambiance Ford builds into the Fiesta, a feeling aided by the plentifully electronic options, pleasant materials, a quiet cabin, and an overall superior refinement, the Fiesta looks like a good value, too. Plus, for those wanting more heated leather seats, automatic climate control, and push-button starting are some of the Fiesta options you can't get anywhere else in the B-segment. —Tom Wilson

Our House

Loyal 5.0&SF readers know that our operation runs from coast to coast. We are based in both our Tampa, Florida, and our El Segundo, California, offices so we can cover the Mustang performance world from both ends and everywhere in between. We often have people tell us we have the best jobs in the world, and if you'd like to get a glimpse of what it's like behind the walls of 5.0&SF, this is your chance. Right now we are eyeballing Friday, April 19, right before the big Fabulous Fords Forever show at Knott's Berry Farm (www.fabulousfordsforever.org).

While you're there, you'll be able to grab some eats while you check out the expansive SIM shop where our esteemed Senior Tech Editor KJ Jones works his magic documenting installs for the magazine. Of course, KJ and your editor will be around to shake hands and chat. We'll have some of our Mustangs on display, and you can show off your ride for everyone in attendance. While you are there you can enter into our raffle for a chance to take home some great prizes from the finest companies in the aftermarket. We'll also raffle off a few subscriptions to the magazine.

We hope you'll come by and visit with us, so stay tuned to our website and social media outlets for more details as the date approaches.

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Daily Only

I have been a subscriber for a while and longtime reader. I have always enjoyed reading your Bench Racer column (Feb. '13, p. 15). I have never responded when you have asked for feedback. This time, I wanted to share my opinion about the hypothetical buildup of one of the new Mustangs.

I have a few friends that went out right away and purchased the new Mustang back in 2011. I have driven some, and I know that you have too. Here is my take on them. You have a car that approaches 4,000 pounds that has 420 hp. What is the point of building it up? It's a $30,000 car, that in my humble opinion, is good looking, but it has to have a ton of power thrown at it to get real numbers at the track.

For instance the new GT500 ... 1,000 hp to get in the 9s? Seriously? It's ridiculous to me. I have a Fox Saleen with a small-block and a 91mm turbo. It has over 1,050 rwhp and I drive it on the street. If it ran in the 9s, I would be sick to my stomach. It doesn't have perfect driveability, but it's the nature of the beast to me.