HEELS ON WHEELS: 2014 FORD FIESTA REVIEW
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE FIESTA VEHICLE
The Fiesta remains another Ford homerun for creating both a sedan and hatchback subcompact that can speak the language of the younger buyer: it’s affordable, tech-loaded, and doesn’t have a heavy addiction to fossil fuels with a new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine that averages 37 miles-per-gallon combined.
I drove a 2014 Ford Fiesta sedan with the standard 120-horsepower 1.6-liter Ti-VCT Duratec four-cylinder engine and PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission. Available in a sedan or hatchback and in three trim grades (omitting the hatch ST), standard equipment for my mid-level SE trim sedan included: SYNC in-car connectivity technology with MyFord Touch and AppLink; iPod input jack; six-speaker audio system with XM Radio; ambient lighting; cloth upholstery; bucket seats; integrated side spotter mirrors; and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls. Total vehicle price as described came to $15,450.
Competitors include the Kia Forte, Chevrolet Sonic, Toyota Yaris and all-new Mitsubishi Mirage with a 1.2-liter that gets 40 miles-per-gallon combined. As far as fuel economy goes, the Fiesta’s larger 1.6-liter gets 29-city and 38-highway for 32 combined.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Fiesta is more attractive as a hatchback as the sedan design looks rather minuscule, yet it is fully functional for a family with children as the cabin supports child seats without crowding out the front passengers (although adult rear passengers will complain of minimal legroom). The digital audio screen is on the smallish size but organizes SYNC infotainment options well. The center stack buttons are designed at a challenging angle, as you’ll have to get used to punching in your telephone numbers on a diamond-shape grid. Cloth upholstery fabric features an attractive design with quality stitching, and the ambient lighting is fun. There is some depth to the trunk space, but proves to be troublesome when loading irregular objects like a tricycle. There is no cabin button to pop the trunk, either.
Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2014 Ford Fiesta receives ratings of “Good” in all areas except small overlap front which earned a “Marginal” by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Fiesta 4-stars for front and rollover crash test.
Cost Issues: The Ford Fiesta S sedan starts out at $14,100 and elevates to $18,300 for the Titanium trim, which adds a rearview camera, a reverse sensing system, push-button start, an upgraded Sony audio system and leather upholstery.
Activity & Performance Ability: The Fiesta exists well in an urban area, easy to park and swift enough to sail through the bust streets of San Francisco. My test drive’s 1.6-liter engine produces enough giddy-up upon acceleration – not exactly delivered in the smoothest fashion with the upgraded six-speed transmission being a must, but enough momentum to tackle the most unforgiving inclines this hilly city has to offer.
The Green Concern: The Fiesta makes sense for those on a limited budget – 32 miles-per-gallon combined is a decent number. Any better and the engine would have to be smaller, which is why Ford now offers the 123-horsepower 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine. We didn’t test drive it, but based on the recent Mitsubishi Mirage’s 74-horsepower 1.2-liter three-cylinder you can expect a significant difference in attitude that would equate to a louder, more skittish ride.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
Able to disguise size by highlighting its best assets, the 2014 Ford Fiesta is a subcompact competitors can learn from, serving buyers a healthy dose of technology and style in a fuel-efficient sedan.
©2014 Katrina Ramser