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2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-L EcoBoost First Drive by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2014 Ford Fiesta

EDITORS NOTE: One day after this review of the Fiesta 1.0-L was published on The Auto Channel, Ford announced it had identified an error with fuel economy ratings for certain vehicles through its internal testing and notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ford worked with EPA as the agency retested the vehicles, which resulted in lower fuel economy ratings for the 2014 Fiesta 1.0-L EcoBoost. The new ratings are 31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and 36 mpg combined."

First Drive
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

Some auto industry analysts forecast that Ford’s U.S. market share will continue to grow over the next three or four years as a result of their strong new product rollouts. One of the vehicles in the Ford portfolio that will help this growth is the Fiesta.

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The Fiesta is the Number one best selling subcompact car globally. The U.S. small car segment has been growing substantially over the past ten years and now exceeds 3 million units. In the U.S., Ford sold about 71,000 Fiestas last year. That’s up 25 percent from the previous year and is outpacing the competition such as the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris.

For 2014 the Fiesta was freshened with new exterior and interior styling, received technology upgrades and new features, and got significant improvements in cabin and engine NVH. The Fiesta has lots of features and equipment in a car priced starting at $14,100. Wade Jackson, Fiesta marketing manager says, “The Fiesta is one of the top considered vehicles for millenials.”

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A new engine offering for the Fiesta in the U.S. is the 1.0-L, 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine. This engine has been offered in the European market for a couple years. And, it’s received numerous accolades including being named the 2012 and also the 2013 International Engine of the Year. Ford’s EcoBoost engine design makes use of direct injection and turbocharging on and entire range of downsized powertrains. They make use of 125 new patents and are genuine alternatives to hybrids.

Don’t be scared off by the thought of only 1 liter of displacement. This Fiesta engine packs lots of power in a tiny package. Engine output is 123 HP and max. torque is 148 lb.-ft. Ford points out that is more power per liter than the 6.5 –liter Lamborghini Aventador. The 1.0-L EcoBoost is a $995 option on the Fiesta SE that is offered as a 4-door sedan starting at $15,580 or 4-door hatchback starting at $16,080.

In EPA laboratory tests the 2014 Ford Fiesta SFE 1.0-L has been rated at 32 city mpg, 45 highway mpg and 37 mpg combined, or 2.7 gallons per 100 miles. It claims the title of being the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid sold in North America. A number of car tester publications have praised the real world, on-the-road fuel efficiency achieved with the Fiesta SFE. Many have easily reached the combined rating.

In a jaunt with a number of other NYC area auto writers we took a drive in a small fleet of Fiesta 1.0-L EcoBoost cars from Manhattan’s west side out to the north fork of Long Island. In my drive we achieved an overall of 40.4 mpg, with air conditioning operating and with no attempt whatsoever at hypermiling.

Now here’s the little surprise, and perhaps to some also a delight: the only transmission offered is a manual 5-speed. Statistics vary, but somewhere between two percent and five percent of the licensed drivers in the U.S. can drive a manual transmission vehicle. Yes, that’s pretty low, but Ford is not deterred. Interesting is that lots of sales have been in the very hilly San Francisco area. The Fiesta does have hill-start assist…technology that briefly keeps the brakes applied when you lift your right foot from the brake to the throttle pedal. Thus, the car is prevented from rolling backwards on a hill while you let the clutch out and apply the throttle.

The clutch action is quite forgiving and the shift linkage has a vey positive feel. My midtown Manhattan stop and go across town drive to get from the west side to the east heading to Long Island did not have me wishing I was in an automatic transmission model. There is plenty of low-end torque from the engine and acceleration is smooth and quite quick. The Fiesta weighs about 2500-2600lbs and doesn’t need a lot to get it going. The engine is surprisingly quiet and the overall engine sound is very substantial and gives the impression of a much larger engine.

The natural question from me to the Ford folks was what about an automatic. Not wanting to reveal anything, it was acknowledged that the natural progression would be to offer in the future a dual clutch direct shift automatic transmission. Of course that brings cost and weight.

All-in-all, the 2014 Ford Fiesta is a really nice car, especially for urban living. Its small exterior footprint makes for easy maneuvering around town and it still has seating for five. I found the seats to be comfortable and supportive on my 150 mile Long Island road trip. I prefer the hatchback for the greater versatility it offers combined with its shorter overall length compared to the sedan.

If you are interested to compare the 2014 Ford Fiesta to other subcompacts you can do that right here on There’s a lot more information and detailed specifications on the 2014 Ford Fiesta just a mouse click away at

For now only the Fiesta is offered with the 1.0-L EcoBoost engine in the U.S. but in 2015 it will come in the Focus, according to Ford.

So, if we took Ford’s 5.0-L V8 and applied this same EcoBoost technology we’re talking 615HP. Hmmm.

Larry Nutson