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Fiesta
Fiesta
I drove the European version of the Ford Fiesta. It was only sightly different from what Ford will sell here. It was equipped with a 90 horsepower 1.4-liter gasoline engine, not the 120 horsepower 1.6-liter version Americans will probably get.

While the 1.4-liter engine is slightly more fuel-efficient, the lack of power wouldn't make it acceptable in this market. American drivers expect to rarely, if ever, have to mash the gas pedal all the way to the floor. In this car, they'd find their right foot hitting the carpet just to pass or to merge safely onto the highway from a stop.

With a little more power, this car should find an eager audience here. It's cool-looking and fun to drive. Steering is quick and responsive and the suspension keeps the little car under tight control without giving it a teeth-cracking ride.

Based on a relatively short introductory drive, the Fiesta's clever radio interface may take some getting used to if Ford keeps it for this country. It's based on the typical cell phone interface but most of us don't use a cell phone to tune the radio.

NEXT: Taurus SHO

Last updated May 06 2009: 11:11 AM ET
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