Besides the Mondeo, another big announcement from Ford at the Melbourne Motor Show was the launch of the Ford Fiesta XR4. President of Ford Australia, Tom Gorman, was on hand for the launch.

"Fiesta XR4 will be on sale before the end of the second quarter and we are confident this junior hot hatch, with its combination of European styling, German engineering and outstanding driving dynamics, will take the class by storm," said President of Ford Australia, Tom Gorman.

Powered by a specially modified version of Ford’s 2.0 litre Duratec 16-valve engine, the XR4 delivers 110kW of power and 190Nm of torque.

At 110kW I'm not sure that I'd be going so far as to call the XR4 a performance car, but with it's relatively light weight it's guaranteed to have a fair bit of zip. The first thing I noticed about the car was it's racing stripes. I love the racing stripes, but then, I am a traditionalist. The racing stripes will be available as an option.

fiesta xr4

Safety wise it was pleasing to see that the XR4 comes fitted with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), driver and front passenger airbags, side curtain airbags and side thorax airbags. In this respect, Ford are taking a big step forward in the small car segment, leaving the Holden's glorified toaster (the Barina), a long way back in the safety stakes.

All up the Fiesta XR4 looks like a tight little package and looks set to do battle with similar sized competitors such as the Renault Clio Sports and the Volkswagen Polo GTi.

As a side note, check out Car Angel (www.carangel.com), a non-profit company that uses donations, including car donations, to make videos for kids and teens. So far they have given away over 2.4 million videos. Videos like this one: