Overall: Ford’s sub-compact Fiesta continues with its eco-friendly and high-performance models that set the bar for competitors.
Drivetrain: Spunky 120-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder is complemented by a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder “EcoBoost” for potential fuel savings; 1.6-liter EcoBoost with 173 horsepower in the grin-inducing ST; the only way to get an automatic transmission is with the base engine.
Who would have bet that Ford would ever offer not just one but two different turbocharged engines in its smallest car? For 2014, the regular 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120 horsepower was joined by two optional turbocharged powerplants. The first was Ford’s global 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder, which was the first three-cylinder sold in North America in decades. With 123 horsepower, it doesn’t beat the base car by much, but it’s the 148 pound-feet of torque that makes the difference. The official fuel-economy numbers show 31 mpg in the city and 43 on the highway, significant improvements over the 27/37 in the base model. Ford’s EcoBoost strategy means the 1.0 costs an extra $1,000. Both engines share the same five-speed manual transmission, but there isn’t an automatic option for the EcoBoost. At the other end of the spectrum, the Fiesta ST delivers more of the thrills and smiles generated by its larger Focus ST cousin. It uses the 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder found in the Escape tall wagon, only with more juice for a total of 197 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The ST is the only Fiesta to boast a six-speed manual transmission, which mixes nicely with the sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels with performance tires, four-wheel disc brakes and all kinds of electronic assists. The ST sits at the top of the Fiesta hierarchy with unique seats, body kit and colors to differentiate its hatchback silhouette. The standard content continues with features such as air conditioning, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power locks and mirrors, four-speaker sound system, hands-free capless fuel filler plus a cabin filled with airbags. For 2016, Ford’s third-generation SYNC info-tainment system will be available as an option for most trims, and includes a 6.5-inch touch screen.