Part 2: Finding Black Swan Robustness with the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, and Chevy Aveo


by @autobusiness

In Part 1 of this two-part exploration, three nimble hatchbacks mounted a front against the best selling vehicle in the world: the Ford F-150. In Part 1, the unassuming hatches took an early 1-0 lead by being more humble on a first date. Let’s see how the trio fares for the final two points of this competition: moving and commuting.

2. Helping Your Friend Move To A New Apartment:

You might have more Facebook friends than Mark Zuckerberg but being that awesome has its drawbacks, especially when you’ve been bragging to your friends about 1) how robust you are, and 2) your new car(s). It’s only a matter of time before one of your minions legion is knocking at your door on a hungover Saturday morning, begging you to help a bro out. If you spent your 67 large on the King Ranch, with its handy tailgate step (aka Man Step), side access steps, and cargo bed extender, you’ll be a prime target every. single. time. Thankfully, the F-150 will impress even your most demanding friends … Beds, furniture, and those uselessly heavy old tube TVs will all find room in the back. There’s nothing quite like a sturdy pick-up for moving trash from one ratty apartment to another. It’s truly tough to beat.

Alternatively, you could take the robust Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, AND Chevy Sonic.

With three cars at your disposal, you and the other two moving matadors can each pilot a vehicle between old home and new. Combined, the hatchy triumvirate should be able to handle anything the F-150 could, save the king size mattress your eternally single friend insists on keeping. For that, there are bungee cords, red ribbon, and chutzpah. Still, not all of these microhaulers were created equal. Cream of the compact crop is easily the versatile Fit.

With its peerless Magic Seats and 1622L of max cargo capacity, Honda’s second generation Fit will ensure an order of magnitude more sanity at the end of the day. It’s roomy, flexible, and built for moving. The Fit’s creamy steering and understanding ride will also ensure that your friend’s priceless collection of blown glass Star Wars figurines arrives intact. Even if his lost childhood doesn’t. The flat-folding floor will make the most of the third-of-a-minivan space too. With its simple, durable interior, moving day will be about enjoying your friend’s company, trying to MacGyver furniture through doorways designed for elves, and enjoying a beer at the end of the battle – just as it should be. While the F-150 can’t be triumphed over when it comes to moving, the combined power of the hatches is enough to eke out half a point each, which really feels like 2 points for Team Robust.

Robustness 1.5, Fragility 0.5

3. Commute:

The slog. The grind. The sh*t. It goes by many names, but they all correlate to one feeling of utter helplessness. You just want to get to work and get home again but the natural world conspires against you and there’s shit all you can do about it. Then again, how often do we complain that modern life moves too quickly? Through a optimistically twisted lens, are not our commutes grand opportunities for peaceful reflection? A moment to clear our minds seems rather more useful than falling futilely into a red-eyed rage with the rest of them. So what chariot best facilitates this?

The F-150 EcoBoost is a commuting gem. Quiet and with a progressive brake pedal, its primary frustration comes from the inability to unleash its 365 hp and 420 ft-lbs of torque while crawling at 28 kph. However, the raised seating position is a darling for easing the psychological fatigue of not knowing how long it’ll take you to get there. Perched as high as anything else, the sterling view afforded the F-150 driver gives one as much a sense of ease as vehicularly possible. It’s not much, but it’s more than the show-off in the 911 has.

Or you could take the robust Ford Fiesta.

Of the three, it’s easily the most big-car-feeling. The Fiesta’s sound isolation is top notch, the interior materials are the finest of the lot, and it really imbues the sense of Europeanness that we all hoped for from the One Ford strategy, that which gives us and those across the pond access to essentially the same products for the first time. The slick multimedia interface, essential when crammed bumper-to-miserable-bumper, is embedded in a centre console designed to look like a very popular cell phone from 8 years ago, the RAZR, but wins top marks for working so intuitively despite the now-distant design reference. It’s a world-class car, this, and between the seamless dual-clutch transmission and the cozy heated leather seats, the Fiesta represents an undeniable value. It’s a big car with a tiny, city-sized footprint. The pint-sized packaging of the Fiesta also guarantees the point for Robustness. Against the lumbering F-150, being small in heavy traffic is an undeniable on a day-to-day basis.

Robustness 2.5, Fragility 0.5

Not that it should’ve been, but it was never really close. Robustness has triumphed over fragility. For the not inconsequential sum of $67,000, you’re best bet is to buy a $22,649 Fiesta SES 5-door, a $21,575 Fit Sport, and $22,685 Sonic LTZ 5-door – all with automatics. It’d be a very unique way to stay robust, but that’s part of the charm. Also, since you have three cars, you can always sell one if times are tough and a Black Swan catches you unawares. With the truck, selling two of the F-150’s six-cylinders might be a challenge – even if the remaining four (avec turbos, naturellement) would be perfectly sufficient for all intents and purposes.

We could’ve picked any single $67,000 vehicle as our fragile guinea pig, and the results would’ve been the same. As crushingly capable, ferociously fast, and coddlingly comfortable as the F-150 King Ranch is, it’s not too big to fail. The Fit, Fiesta, and Sonic complement each other to form a Muppet Man of Black Swan robustness. Taleb would approve.

Ford, GM, and Honda provided these vehicles for the purposes of this review. For that, we thank them.

[Photo credits: author]