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Ford Fiesta & Audi TT

Class: Subcompact Car
Drivetrain: Front-Wheel Drive
Starting price: about $13,000
Ford Fiesta redefines the small car

With the never-ending demand for greater efficiency, as measured by government fuel economy and emissions standards, buyers are shifting dramatically to smaller vehicles. In response to this seismic shift, auto makers are offering more features and options on smaller cars.
Ford Motor Company observed that even though customers want smaller vehicles, they still want upscale vehicle amenities. The auto companies are willing to oblige and the up-contenting of small vehicles is being reflected in their prices.

Ford’s new 2011 Fiesta is a perfect example of this trend. The Fiesta is a sub-compact vehicle. The Ford Fusion is a midsize, the Focus is a compact, and the Fiesta is smaller than that. It competes with cars like the Honda Fit or the Toyota Yaris. With the new Fiesta, however, Ford has one-upped the competition by offering a small vehicle that is equipped like and drives like a much larger one.
The new Fiesta is offered in a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback body style. This vehicle has been selling in Europe for a couple of years and is the top selling car on the continent. Historically, European small cars have been more entertaining and fun to drive than ours. With the Fiesta, you get the full-Euro experience from a car that works equally well here as it does there.

Here’s what sets the Fiesta apart. The styling is very good and the choice of colors is broad and engaging. The interior space is generous and the car feels much larger than it measures. The interior materials, including soft touch instrument and door panels, sets it above many vehicles on the road. It even offers a leather interior option, which is unheard of in vehicles of this class.
The interior is eerily quiet. A high speed cruise on some California freeways allowed us to talk in soft tones with no sense that we were actually cruising at 80 miles an hour! The Fiesta also comes standard with stability/traction control plus loads of high strength and boron steel in the body. Seven air bags are standard, including driver’s knee air bags.

Presently, the Fiesta is offered with only the 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine. Ford has already shown us prototypes of an upcoming 200 horsepower EcoBoost turbocharged version of the 1.6, which will surely find its way into the Fiesta some time soon. The 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 6-speed autoshifting manual is optional. This combination is the most satisfying to drive and gets the better fuel economy rating. EPA numbers are 30 mpg city and 40 highway, which is also class leading.

The Fiesta is also offered with the latest version of SYNC, which is Ford’s technology package. It includes a voice command audio system that will even read your text and e-mail messages to you, hands free. Another WOW was the quality of the audio system. Even with Dianna Krall turned up real loud, the sound quality was amazing with no distortion or speaker rattle. The subcompact Fiesta has a better sounding audio system than cars like Cadillac CTS.

The Fiesta if full of surprises, all pleasant ones. It basically redefines what a small car can be. With a starting price of $13,900 it should sell like hotcakes.

Class: Two Seat Sports Car
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
Starting price: about $38,000
The elegant Audi TT delivers sportiness

The Audi TT delivers a high level of satisfying sportiness as interpreted by Audi, a German luxury automobile manufacturer. The TT is a small two-seater that’s definitely fun to drive in a high class elegant way.

There are two body styles that the TT offers. The coupe has the best performance creds simply because of its rigid body structure, but the roadster/convertible’s near immediate access to top- down driving is really hard to resist.

The styling on the TT is both striking and elegant. One glance communicates what the car is all about. It’s sporty, it’s fun but it’s also festooned with up-scale design details and cues. There are many interesting and entertaining elements to this car. Everything from the brushed metal fuel filler cap to the dual looped functional roll bars sets this car apart.

The interior is also a study in design. The steering wheel’s race car-like flat bottom is actually very nice feeling. The Bose audio system is optimized for top- down driving. The optional baseball-glove leather interior is truly unique. It’s like sitting in a giant catcher’s mitt and yes it is comfortable.

Our test TT Roadster was the base model, Quattro all-wheel drive, S-Tronic transmission and Prestige trim level with the ball-glove interior. With the convertible top up, the car offered a very comfortable driving experience. With the press of a button, the power top folded into its storage space and the open air party begins.

The base model TT is powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine good for 200 horsepower. This is a high efficiency direct injection motor that also yields an EPA highway economy rating of 29 miles per gallon. Audi has a leading edge 6-speed S-Tronic transmission, which is an automatically shifting manual transmission. It uses dry clutches like a manual transmission rather than a torque converter, but the shifting is done either automatically or with paddle shifters. There is no clutch pedal. The result is very efficient transmission with no slippage and excellent fuel economy.

The TTS is the performance variant of the TT. It is more athletic and its turbocharged 2.0 liter engine produces 265 horsepower and can rocket the car to 60 miles an hour in a mere 5.1 seconds. Amazingly, it also gets the coveted 29 mpg fuel economy rating.

The TT is both fun and elegant. With its efficient power train and miserly consumption, it’s guilt-free sporting at its best.

Visit www.MyCarData.comfor more information on these models.

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