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2011 Ford Fiesta Comfort & Quality

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For all its curves and carves, the 2011 Ford Fiesta requires some payback. Sliding into the cabin, you'll see less room than in a Nissan Versa or a Honda Fit, especially in the sedan version, of course.

The Fiesta has two bucket seats up front and a standard 60-40 split rear seatback. Cloth is standard, with leather and contrasting piping on higher-end models--a nice MINI-like touch in a car available at almost half the price. There's not much room across, by any measure, and the seats themselves are pretty flat--like barstools, almost. Any sculpting would leave them too narrow even for Formula 1 racers, we think.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta offers decent space and flexibility for a subcompact, but pragmatists will notice it's a bit smaller than small.

The back bench is flatter yet, and as a result four adult passengers will just fit. Adults over six feet tall will find the rear seats tight, and front and rear passengers may have to negotiate over how far the seats go back. The Versa and Fit do far more with their allotted wheelbase, and it's the prime reason to consider them over the perky Ford. The sedan offers 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space in its trunk, the hatchback up to 26 cubes if you pack it to the roof (not recommended, right?).

Ford worked hard to give the Fiesta's materials a high-quality look and feel. The interior certainly doesn't say "grim and inexpensive subcompact" in the way that some competitors do, but while the Fiesta depends on looks to carry its water, the Versa and Fit have arguably better materials inside. None of the three will win quietness awards, but for Ford's efforts in sound deadening--a specially laminated windshield and a sound blanket under the hood--we still feel the Fit has quality squarely at its back, with the Fiesta not so far behind.

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