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The 2014 Ford Fiesta: Updated Ford Fiesta Brings More to the Party

blue fiestaAlready a comeback darling of the automotive world, the 2014 Fiesta has been re-thought and re-drawn for this model year, with a new, performance-oriented ST trim level, more standard features, and the availability of updated MyFordTouch electronics/telematics system.

 From a friendly exterior that hasn’t lost its street cred to a fun interior chock-a-block with technology tidbits to a peppy, responsive road feel and Ford’s claim that one of its Fiesta versions gets the best fuel economy estimates of any non-hybrid vehicle in the world, Fiesta brings a lot to the party.

Ford says the available EcoBoost turbocharged 1-liter, 3-cylinder engine gets up to 41 mpg on the highway and the enthusiast version of the subcompact has more torque per liter than the Corvette ZR1. 

Fiesta is available in two body styles: sedan (starting at $14,000) and hatchback (starting at $14,600), both of which share the same 98-inch wheelbase and overall width and height – the sedan is longer by almost 14 inches, however. Trims include the S, SE, Titanium and ST models; STs come in hatch fashion only. Features of note include Bluetooth, an iPod interface and seven airbags.

Fiesta competes with an ever-growing collection of small, economy-priced models including the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Chevy Sonic, Nissan Versa, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent. The more sporty Fiesta ST competes with the Fiat 500 Abarth and MINI Cooper S. 

Outside, the updated Fiesta has been made bolder and sportier, with a wide-mouthed, split-level grille and air dam, as well as wispy headlamps whose side-swept design recalls the retro-modern cool of Adele’s eyeliner. Big wheel wells make 15-inch wheels – perfectly respectable in the world of compact cars – look even more substantial, and character lines add depth and dimension along the subcompact’s side panels. Fiesta has either a snipped-rear sedan back end or smart-looking hatchback and edgy redesigned taillamps. 2014 Ford Fiesta 4dr

The interior isn’t big, but it feels comfortable thanks to thoughtful strategy and a bunch of fun technology options. Ford’s designers tell us the car was crafted to resemble a smartphone. In the dash is a central “wheel” for audio controls and an optional touchscreen that sits above the wheel, like you’d see on a typical cell phone.

MyFordTouch, the Blue Oval’s infotainment system has been enhanced from previous iterations to have better voice recognition, simpler commands, a redesigned navigation system, and improved, simplified pairing with other devices. The Sony HD radio has eight speakers. 

In a nod to the statistics that show that Fiesta tends to draw a younger driving crowd in general, the car is available with a programmable key system (MyKey) that lets parents set audio and speed controls for specific drivers. Seat belt reminders can be set, as well. According to Ford, MyKey won’t allow for reprogramming to get around safety limits and alerts – although we don’t know whether that has been tested by amateur teenage hackers, who seem to be able to reprogram the DVR to record only extreme sports and the youth-appealing MMAjunkie, a content partner with Yahoo and other news sites. 

fiestaThe Fiesta can also be customized with almost unlimited graphics’ choices; combined with interior ambient lighting selections, it can turn night-time driving experiences into a mini-club. Let’s face it, it’s a world where many of us want personalized touches that can make our car a bit distinctive–and there are more than 90,000 customization combinations to choose from, says Ford. 

Fiesta comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor that delivers 120 hp. and 112 lb.-ft. of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed “Powershift” automatic is available. Also available is a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine that makes 123 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to the five-speed manual transmission. A tweaked version of the four-cylinder delivers 197 horsepower and 202 lb.-ft. of torque to motivate the zippy Fiesta ST models that are shifted via a six-speed manual.

Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 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. With Ford’s special SFE package, estimates grow to 30 mpg city/41 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined.  

We drove three versions of the 2014 Fiesta at Ford’s Proving Grounds in the Detroit, Michigan environs, trying out automatic and manual transmissions, as well as the performance-oriented ST, which was our favorite for its eye-appealing exterior and unique interior trim and its crisp, fun-to-motor handling. STs have 17-inch wheels, summer performance tires, fog lamps and dual exhaust tips. Inside you’ll find door ST-badged sill plates and floor mats, a leather-wrapped shift knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel, MyFordTouch, Sony speakers, HD radio, automatic climate control, and keyless ignition and entry.

While non-ST versions of Fiesta handle well and have decent power, suspension dynamics and brakes, what we really enjoyed was the more sporty steering, upgraded brakes, and performance-tuned suspension of the ST model that is light on its feet, yet feels substantial enough to throw around corners, as we did on a coned-course during at Ford’s track day. The ST has even taken on the famed European raceway, the Nurburgring, being driven by Top Gear USA host and race car driver Tanner Foust. 

Despite its diminutive stature, Fiesta impresses with a solid punch-list of standard safety features, including with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum for non-ST models; four-wheel discs for the ST), traction and stability control, hill launch assist, blind-spot mirrors, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. New for 2014 are Sync upgrades and features that include a 911 Assist function; it pairs with your cell phone to connect automatically to an emergency operator. 

The Fiesta S comes 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, Ford Sync functions (iPod/USB audio interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity, voice controls, as well as some app-based services and some safety/communications utilities), an auxiliary audio jack and a rear wiper on hatchback models. 

Fiesta SE starts with all of the above and adds 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. 

A SE Appearance package brings 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a rear spoiler on the sedan version, 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 can be ordered with the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package, which bundles special tires, wheels and some added aerodynamics to aid in fuel economy. SE buyers can also select a Comfort package, which adds heated front seats, heated side mirrors and automatic climate control.  

The uplevel Titanium model gets all of the above, with unique 16-inch wheels, chrome exterior trim and a black grille. Also onboard are a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, upgraded Sony speakers, HD radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. 

Stand-alone options on SE, Titanium and ST models include a power moonroof and navigation system. ST buyers can also choose a unique Molten Orange paint color, cloth/leather-trimmed Recaro seats and gray-painted 17-inch wheels with red brake calipers, a bow to performance looks and heritage.

 

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