What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Ford Fiesta receives a new Fiesta ST trim level that features a more powerful engine and sportier handling. For other Fiestas, there's an efficiency-oriented turbocharged three-cylinder engine as an option. Other changes for 2014 include updated exterior styling, additional standard features and the availability of the MyFord Touch electronics interface.
Since Ford reintroduced the Fiesta subcompact to the U.S. market in 2011, we have been big fans. Tiny but feisty, the Fiesta has an overall goodness that's disproportionate to its size, with a vast talent set that includes slick styling (freshened for 2014), snappy handling and a high level of refinement inside.
Both sedan and hatchback models receive mild face-lifts for 2014, and even base models boast an impressive number of standard features, including Bluetooth, an iPod interface and seven airbags. Bigger spenders can order Fiestas equipped with heated front seats, leather upholstery, a keyless ignition and the MyFord Touch touchscreen control interface (with or without a navigation system).
Responsive steering and sharp handling make the standard 2014 Ford Fiesta fun to drive. With the base engine, the Fiesta likely won't set anyone's heart ablaze when accelerating from a stoplight, especially with the sometimes-hesitant automatic transmission. Acceleration will likely also be modest for the Fiesta's new optional turbocharged three-cylinder engine, but Ford promises it will return more than 40 mpg on the highway.
The most exciting change for the Fiesta for 2014, however, is the arrival of the new Fiesta ST model. The ST features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 197 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch wheels, sportier steering, performance-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes and sport seats (with real Recaro seats available as an option). Enthusiast buyers on a budget will certainly want to check out the Fiesta ST before plunking down their money on the Fiat 500 Abarth or Mini Cooper S.
With the additional content, freshened styling and newly available powertrain options for 2014, the Ford Fiesta appears poised to retain its popularity even in the face of formidable class competition, which includes the perky Chevrolet Sonic, the versatile Honda Fit, the Hyundai Accent and the value-driven Kia Rio.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Ford Fiesta is a subcompact car available in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a four-door hatchback. Both are available in S, SE and Titanium trim levels, while the high-performance ST model is available only as a hatchback.
The base S comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, power locks and mirrors, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, various Ford Sync functions (iPod/USB audio interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity, voice controls, some app-based services and certain safety communications functions), an auxiliary audio jack and, for hatchback models, a rear wiper.
The Fiesta SE includes all of the above, plus keyless entry, power windows, exterior mirrors with side marker lamps, cruise control, upgraded cloth upholstery, a trip computer, 15-inch painted aluminum wheels, metallic interior trim, a front center console with armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and ambient lighting.
The SE Appearance package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a rear spoiler (sedan), upgraded cloth seats, a leather-wrapped shift knob, the MyFord Touch interface with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and Sync Services (traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions), and satellite radio. The SE is eligible for the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package, which includes special tires, wheels and aerodynamic pieces to help the Fiesta achieve slightly better fuel economy. Fiesta SE buyers can also opt for a Comfort package, which includes heated front seats, heated side mirrors and automatic climate control.
The Fiesta Titanium comes with all of the above, but wears a different set of 16-inch wheels, plus chrome exterior trim and a black grille. It also has a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, upgraded Sony speakers, HD radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Fiesta ST hatchback has all of the Fiesta SE amenities, and features unique bodywork, a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch wheels with summer performance tires, foglamps and dual exhaust tips. Inside, you'll find automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, a leather-wrapped shift knob, the MyFord Touch interface, Sony speakers and HD radio, along with ST-specific cloth sport seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-trimmed pedals, floor mats and door sill plates.
A power moonroof and a navigation system are stand-alone options on SE, Titanium and ST models. Additional extras on the ST model include a unique Molten Orange paint color, cloth/leather-trimmed Recaro seats and gray-painted 17-inch wheels with red brake calipers.
Powertrains and Performance
The base engine for the 2014 Ford Fiesta is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 120 hp and 112 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a six-speed automated manual known as "PowerShift" is optional. This type of "automatic" transmission still shifts for you, but it does a better job of maximizing engine power and efficiency than a traditional automatic.
In previous Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped Fiesta went from zero to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds, which is an average time for the class. The PowerShift-equipped model did the same sprint in 10.6 seconds, which is average among entries equipped with automatic transmissions.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg city/39 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined with the six-speed auto-manual transmission and 27/38/31 with the five-speed manual. When you opt for the SFE package, the numbers edge up to 30 mpg city/41 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined. It's hard to justify the package's extra cost given the minuscule return.
Newly available for 2014 is a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, which is good for 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Mated only to a five-speed manual transmission initially, this engine is definitely tuned more for fuel economy than high performance. Ford projects that the three-cylinder will yield more than 40 mpg on the highway.
The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST's turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder pumps out 197 hp and an impressive 214 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered. The ST also features lowered suspension, quicker steering and upgraded brakes to aid the transformation from economy car to sport hatch. Ford says the Fiesta ST will hit 60 mph in under 7 seconds and returns 34 mpg on the highway.
Every 2014 Ford Fiesta comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum for non-ST models; four-wheel discs for the ST), traction and stability control, hill launch assist, an integrated blind-spot mirror, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. The newly standard Sync features include a 911 Assist function, which uses your paired cell phone to connect automatically to a 911 operator. The Titanium model features a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Fiesta SE with 15-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 136 feet, which is one of the longest distances in the segment. On the other hand, a Fiesta SES with 16-inch wheels stopped in 119 feet, which is one of the best distances in the segment.
In government crash testing, the Fiesta received four out of five stars for combined overall protection, with four stars for frontal protection and five stars for side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Fiesta the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof-strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
With its edgy style, soft-touch dash top, metallic accents and tight build quality, the Fiesta's cabin has a premium vibe that's unexpected in an economy car. Ford has upgraded some of the materials for 2014, and models with the MyFord Touch interface and new 6.5-inch touchscreen surrounded by piano-black trim look particularly upscale, although said black trim is overly smudge-prone. Ambient lighting in SE, Titanium and ST models gives the place a classy look at night, too.
The standard Sync system allows voice control over the audio system and your cell phone, and it also provides such features as voice-prompted turn-by-turn navigation (it works respectably well) and emergency assist. Another high-end feature not often seen in this segment is the available keyless entry/ignition system.
At 12.8 cubic feet, the sedan's trunk capacity is class-competitive. The Fiesta hatchback offers a bit less than that with its rear seat up. Unfortunately, the seats don't fold completely flat, and the Fiesta's 26 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity pale in comparison to the Honda Fit's 57 cubes.
The 2014 Ford Fiesta is one of the most rewarding cars to drive in its class. Though its acceleration is just average, in the real world of stop-and-go traffic and freeway merging, the Fiesta's base 1.6-liter engine delivers ample punch down low and remains buttery-smooth even when taken to redline.
If you like manual transmissions, the standard five-speed is an excellent example of the breed, boasting a linear clutch take-up and light throws. The available six-speed automated manual transmission takes the place of a conventional automatic in the Fiesta. It definitely feels different at first, as it occasionally allows the car to roll back on hills and can make the Fiesta reluctant to creep forward when parking. Ford has been refining the transmission's behavior since the Fiesta's introduction, though, and most people get used to it.
There's nothing odd with the way the Fiesta drives down the road, however. Thanks to responsive steering and sophisticated suspension tuning, the Fiesta feels at once substantial and lithe. The car handles with rewarding precision, yet the ride quality remains supple, and bumps and ruts are swallowed without drama. The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is even more impressive. It's as lively and precise as the larger Focus ST when driving around corners, and ride quality, although firm, is not punishing.