2014 Ford Fiesta Sedan SE (1.0L 3-cyl. 5-speed Manual)
Driven On 4/9/2014
The Fiesta is a terrific city vehicle with an interior that offers competitive quality. The driving experience leans toward sporty, separating it from most rivals. This is enhanced by the excellent "EcoBoost" 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which delivers best-in-class acceleration, fantastic fuel economy and lots of character.
PerformanceThree cylinders? 1.0-liter of displacement? One would expect a car powered by such an engine would be best suited for clown transport, but it's actually our favorite choice for the Fiesta. It makes this A-rated car even better.
The 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder has more power and torque than the standard engine, and it's more than a half-second quicker from 0-60 mph (8.9 seconds). In fact, it's the quickest subcompact we've tested to date.
Stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is better than average for the segment. Plenty of nose dive and the rear end got light and squirmy at the end of the stop, but still controllable. Perfectly intuitve 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.
The 1.0-liter turbo comes only with the five-speed manual. The clutch and throttle are easy to modulate, but the shifter's long throws, vague engagement and tall gearing don't make you relish shifting.
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 playfully growling little 3-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 Fiesta's controls are high on form, low on function. Audio controls are frustrating to use even after you've acclimated to them. Sync voice controls for iPod interface is a work-around, not a benefit.
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.
Lots of storage areas in front, but they aren't as big or useful as those in competitors. The 12.8 cu-ft trunk is small for the class, but still bigger than you'd think for a small car. Seat folds, but not quite flat.
ValueOur $18,285 test car had everything you could want in this segment, other than the optional alloy wheels and the touchscreen interface. Paying extra for the EcoBoost engine gets you better fuel economy and performance.
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. Controls operate well, no squeaks or rattles, leather-wrapped wheel appreciated.
The Fiesta SE sedan starts around $16,000, comes with 15-inch steel wheels, height-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control, split/folding rear seat, a six-speaker stereo and Sync Bluetooth/audio control.
Our SE test car included the EcoBoost engine ($995), Green Envy paint ($595) and Comfort package ($290) that adds heated seats & mirrors, and automatic climate control. The total price was a reasonable $18,285.
Excellent EPA estimate of 37 mpg Combined (32 City/45 Highway), which we matched on the Edmunds evaluation loop. A non-EcoBoost, automatic Fiesta is rated at 32 mpg Combined (29/39) and returned 33.4 mpg on our loop.
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 tuning and quick steering make it a playful runabout, while its little-engine-that-could provides best-in-class acceleration and a fun soundtrack to boot. A sharper shifter would be appreciated, though.
Power is ample for the segment, but the tall gearing and long-throw shifter do not feel at home in a car that is otherwise quite sporty.
The Fiesta's agile handling make it more fun than most in this class, while the EcoBoost engine makes growly noises akin to a playful dog tugging on a rope. Lots of character.