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Published on April 6th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Ford Fiesta 1.4L Manual Is The Hot Hatch To Beat Today

In 1986 the Ford Laser TX3 was hard to match and in its day it was the hot hatch to own with a 1.6l engine mated to a slick shifting 5 speed gearbox. Since then, Ford has not entertained us with a hot hatch of this caliber until last month when I got the keys to the latest Ford Fiesta 1.4L manual. Yes, it is only a 1.4L but with great looks, snappy gear change and a handling package that gives a real planted feel we were to totally sold with this Fiesta that cost just RM69,000.00.

Let me begin by saying that Ford made a solid vehicle when they designed this Fiesta. It may not be the most luxurious as it is the base 1.4L but in the four day test my test Fiesta was submitted to some very poor quality roads in Klang Valley and a little beyond and I must say that I punished the drive-line quite thoroughly, yet the stylish Fiesta simply moved me and did it all again the next day with not a single protest or groan or even hmmm!

The car rides quite nicely under normal day to day traffic and it’s got enough power to move past larger engined vehicles at the traffic lights and it’s small enough to easily navigate peak hour traffic and tight parking spots. Its tidy dimensions contribute a lot to the vehicle’s overall ease of use, and though boot space may not be large, nor is rear seat room, this Fiesta is far from impractical as the family 2nd car or even the single person’s daily ride.

Fit and finish is pretty good with the good standard cloth trim and plastic panels. The rear seat cushioning was just right also with 3 headrests provided. A 4 speaker CD radio provides decent levels of audio reproduction and the fit and build quality is very little to groan about.

This Fiesta really began to show it true colours on the 3rd and 4th day when we took it out on some state roads outside of Klang valley. With responsive steering giving the car a sporty, focused feel we pushed it with negligible retaliation from the engine and chassis. Though not as tightly sprung as its bigger brother, the Ford Focus this compact hatch could still retain good corner speeds and was quite responsive to steering input as its tires provided decent levels of grip with the ever-changing road surface with a good deal of composure. The 5-speed manual gearbox is a smooth operator. Featuring a light clutch and fairly short shifts between gates, it gets the job of gear changes done with minimum fuss. It does not feel loose and floppy when pushed and trying to change gears in as little time as possible. During everyday driving and commuting, it works a treat.

As the small car becomes more of a necessity to help alleviate the strain of rising fuel costs and congested roads more buyers will look and appreciate cars with interior space packed with extras and features that were once the domain of much larger more expensive cars. The new Fiesta does it really well and should be listed in your list of ‘must test drive’ before buying your next compact car.


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