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2014 Ford Fiesta Review By John Heilig

2014 Ford Fiesta Hatchback (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Ford Fiesta Hatchback

By John Heilig

Reviewed Model: 2014 Ford Fiesta Hatchback

Engine: 1.6-liter DOHC I4

Horsepower/Torque: 120 hp @ 6,350 rpm/112 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 98.0 in.

Length x Width x Height: 159.7 x 67.8 x 58.1 in.

Tires: P195/50R16

Cargo: 14.9 cu. ft.

Economy: 29 mpg city/39 mpg highway/34.0 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 12.4 gal.

Curb Weight: 2,575 lbs.

Sticker: $21,095 (includes $795 destination charge, $2,295 in options (paint, automatic transmission, navigation)

The Bottom Line: Ford Fiesta is a slightly underpowered subcompact, but then if you’re buying a comp-act, you aren’t looking for power. Still, it’s comfortable and has all the bells and whistles you’d want in any size car.

You kind of wonder with a subcompact. If you’re looking at a mid-size, for example, you can almost get into any of them blindfolded and not know which one you’re in. Caveat, I said “almost.”

But with a subcompact there are so many mitigating factors and there isn’t a lot of size to fool around with. Consequently, depending on whether or not the manufacturer hits that delicate balance of features, you could be looking at an absolute pig or a wondercar.

The Ford Fiesta is somewhere in between.

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First, the 1.6-liter inline four cylinder engine develops only 120 horsepower. It isn’t that the Fiesta, at 2,575 pounds, needs a lot of power, but it could use more. I would have preferred a manual transmission, so that I could down shift to extract the maximum power when it was needed for merging onto busy highways.

I also found the engine to be buzzy most of the time. There seems to be a “turbo lag” when yo0u shift from D to R and want to move quickly, like when backing into a driveway.

On the other hand, though, we achieved 34 mpg on our test, so saving fuel more than makes up for the minor inconvenience of having to work a little harder to merge. Of course, an owner, who would have more experience behind the wheel, would know how to make the Fiesta do what he or she wants.

Comfort can be a distant dream with most subcompacts, but we found the Fiesta’s ride to be quite good. The front seats are comfortable with good side support. Rear legroom, however, is tight despite indents in the backs of the front seats to accommodate knees.

Handling of the Fiesta is good, whether on Interstates or back country winding roads. Most subcompacts do fairly well in the handling department. Also, because of its size, it’s a breeze to park and maneuver in crowded parking lots.

Inside the Fiesta is familiar ground if you’re accustomed to Ford instrument panels. The navigation screen on initiation is split into quarters, with sections devoted to phone, navigation, audio and date. Touch screens allow you to delve deeper into the functions. Sadly, we couldn’t get the navigation system to work, but everything else worked well, especially the heater in some bitter cold weather.

I like the Ford family “Aston Martin-style” grille. Although I admit it has grown on my after some initial hesitation. The front look is not unlike that of the Fusion, for example. The outside rear view mirrors have convex sections at the outer edges that act as a blind spot monitor. They take some getting used to, but once you figure out all the cars in the mirror you realize they are doing a good job.

Inside, there are no assist handles of hanger hooks in the Fiesta. There is also no room for a center passenger in the rear. While the rear seat backs fold easily to expand trunk capacity to a nice amount, you must remove the rear headrests to get the seat back to go all the way down.

Still, the Fiesta is well equipped for a small car. It has Ford’s easy fill capless fuel cap, Sirius radio, two USB outlets in the small console/arm rest, a rearview camera and a perimeter alarm.

Overall, the Ford Fiesta is a decent subcompact. It offers good fuel economy and ride quality for two. It’s small, but it isn’t too small like the microcompacts. I would just like about four inches more rear legroom.

2014 The Auto Page