2014 Ford Fiesta Sedan SE (1.6L 4-cyl. 5-speed Manual w/opt. 6-speed Automated Manual)
Driven On 11/5/2013
Considering the Fiesta starts under $15,000, there's a lot of good here. It's a terrific city vehicle and the interior offers competitive quality. The driving experience leans toward sporty, separating it from most rivals. The automated manual transmission can be clunky at low speeds, but it doesn't stop us from recommending this car.
PerformanceLike other subcompacts, the Fiesta isn't blessed with extra power, and it's not helped by the twin-clutch PowerShift automatic-like transmission in normal driving. Enthusiasts will enjoy the sportily-tuned chassis.
With 0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds, the Fiesta is average for the segment. The 120-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder never feels strong, though it's aided by the twin-clutch PowerShift transmission's launch control.
Both the panic stop distance of 122 feet and brake feel were improved versus the last Fiesta we tested. Consistent results at the track, and perfectly intuitive operation out on the road.
Nice and quick with good feedback. Makes you relish any corner or freeway onramp. The Fiesta's sportiness factor is aided by a grippy, thick-rimmed steering wheel.
Track handling numbers proved competitive, despite an overly-active stability control system. It's out on the road where the Fiesta separates itself, with a well-tuned suspension and responsive chassis.
Ford's twin-clutch PowerShift transmission continues to annoy with slow reactions at low speeds, though we appreciate the throttle blips on manual downshifts. The engine is smooth but never peppy.
ComfortAs subcompacts go, the Fiesta's comfort lags behind a few competitors, mostly in terms of ride quality and the seats. But it's one of the quietest cars in the class.
Not a lot of padding, and the cloth material feels scratchy when you're wearing shorts. Minimal adjustability, plus the seatback lever is a poor design, hidden by the seatbelt.
Not overly surprising since Ford leaned toward sportiness with the Fiesta, the ride quality can be a bit choppy, compounded by the short wheelbase. Better seat padding would help, too.
The Fiesta is one of the quietest cars in the class at 70 mph cruising speed. Good for this class, but not compared to a bigger car. The tires are quiet, but you can always hear the little 4-cyl. working.
InteriorThe Fiesta has a few small touches here and there that let you know Ford was at least trying to make you feel special. It's assembled well and, other than some minor MyFord Touch annoyances, the interior is functional and easy to use.
The optional navigation touchscreen has a convex base, making it difficult to press low-mounted icons. Otherwise, interior systems are labeled well and easy to use, especially the cruise control.
The Fiesta is a fairly upright car with a tall roof and wide-opening front doors, making entry easy. But the rear doors don't open nearly as far, making it difficult to enter what is already a small space.
Lots of front headroom but the car's narrowness means front occupants will bump elbows. Driver's right knee contends with hard center console. Tight rear head- and elbow room and no center armrest.
Great sight lines all around due to the large glass area, narrow roof pillars and decently-large rear window. Our test car did not have a backup camera, but it didn't matter.
Excellent small item storage up front with four cupholders and plenty of bins. No door pockets in rear though. The 12.8 cu-ft trunk is small for the class. Rear seats fold, but not flat.
ValueThe Fiesta's base price of around $14,000 is a good starting point, but it wasn't too hard to option our SE test car to almost $20,000. Still, that's similar to most competitors, and we think the Fiesta offers excellent value.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Build quality is decent for the class. We don't expect a whole lot of soft-touch in a car that starts around $14,000. Shifter feels substantial, controls work well, no squeaks or rattles.
The Fiesta SE sedan starts around $16,000, comes with leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, power mirrors, air conditioning, a six-speaker stereo and split/folding rear seat.
Our SE test car had options like the 6-speed PowerShift transmission, Sync with MyFord Touch, satellite radio, navigation and Kermit the Frog-esque special green paint for $19,725.
The Fiesta SE Sedan has an EPA rating of 32 mpg Combined (29 City/39 Highway). We averaged 31.9 mpg overall, and 33.4 mpg on the Edmunds evaluation loop. Respectable but not stupdendous.
The Fiesta comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty. The Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Sonic offer better coverage.
Ford gives you complimentary roadside assistance for 5 years/60,000 miles, but no free maintenance like the Sonic.
Fun To DriveThe Fiesta's sporty suspension tune and quick steering make it a playful runabout. The transmission can be shifted manually via a rocker switch on the console lever.
As city transportation, the Fiesta will prove more than adequate. It's relatively quiet on the open road, but it lacks power. Plan ahead for passing maneuvers.
The Fiesta's agile handling make it more fun than most in this class, as does the throttle blipping on manual downshifts. It's a fine machine for people seeking affordable yet fun transportation.