Small has recently been getting bigger, but not necessarily in terms of size, but rather in popularity. The popularity and influx of ever-smaller cars into the North American market is actually the big issue, not just the size of the vehicles themselves. There are several contributing factors to this increasing trend: the miniaturization of technology; urbanized population growth; the growing importance of sustainability; and the noticeable reduction of conspicuous consumption. Small is smart. The Ford Fiesta first became available for North America in 2011, making it a truly global vehicle. Prior to that, it had been on sale in foreign markets, ranking as Ford of Europe?s best selling car for several years, and the number two best selling car in Europe. Nearly 700,000 Fiestas had been sold globally since the car was launched in late 2008. The North American version of the Ford Fiesta is available in two forms: a four-door sedan; and a 5-door Hatchback.
Power for both body configurations is provided by a1.6-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, Ti-VCT inline four-cylinder engine with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection. The engine produces 120 horsepower at 6,350 rpm, while developing 112 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard with the optional availability of a PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission, that blends the responsive performance and fuel economy of a manual with the convenience and ease of operation of an automatic in one advanced, dual dry-clutch transmission. The engine is transversely mounted forward and drives the front wheels.
In terms of its visual appeal, the 2014 Ford Fiesta employs a kinetic styling, which displays a sense of forward movement ? even when stationary, reflecting an ?energy in motion? ideology. The Fiesta leads off with Ford?s global face, centering the blue oval badge above the trapezoidal grille over the signature inverted trapezoid lower grille opening, subtly engendering a familiarity across the vehicle portfolio, while providing an aesthetic link between the Taurus, the midsize Fusion and the bold Fiesta. Sweeping, elongated headlamps that frame and connect the hood seem to add eyes to the Fiesta face flanked by muscular, sculpted front fenders. Fiesta provides ample space for occupants and their gear in either body style. Moving to the rear of the car, several styling elements merge, including the chamfered liftgate glass, a low roofline that sweeps into an integrated spoiler, and unique taillamps with honeycomb detailing mounted high in the corners of the five-door model. Tightly wrapped rear quarter panels display a muscular quality, drawing the eye to the wheels and the car?s athletic stance. Further enhancing Fiesta?s design is a choice of vivid colors.
The interior of the Ford Fiesta continues the dramatic theme portrayed by the exterior styling. There are boldly sculpted surfaces, contrasting colors and aesthetically pleasing, materials that render the interior in an ambient flavor. The instrument panel centerstack is the focal point of the new interior ? it was designed to feel as useful and familiar as the keypad on a mobile phone. The North American Ford Fiesta features first-row bucket seats with a 60/40 split second-row seat. Cloth or leather seating surfaces vary by trim level offering comfort, style and individuality. Uplevel Fiestas also offer leather with sporty contrast accent color piping. Intuitive switchgear placement, comfort zone seating and available ambient lighting that allows the driver to maximize his or her mood with various complementary colors ? switchable among three levels of intensity ? for interior accent lighting. 25 percent of volume-series SE seat fabric inserts are comprised of recycled content.
The four-door Fiesta is distinguishable by a 3-bar grille and comes in three levels of trim: S; SE; and SEL, while the 5-door hatch features a Euro-style grille panel and is available in SE; SES and Titanium trim levels: The rear spoiler treatment differs between the 4 and 5-door configurations. There?s now also a special Ford Fiesta ST high performance model.
My test 2014 Ford Fiesta was in the 5-door hatch form, in Titanium trim, and featuring the 5-speed manual gearbox. The exterior was sprayed Storm Grey metallic, while the interior was executed in Black and charcoal tones. The base price was set at $18,800. While the as tested price totaled $20,390.
SUMMARY: A big plus for this latest iteration Fiesta, is that it is capable of delivering projected best-in-class highway fuel economy of up to 40 mpg, while maintaining a Fun-to-Drive quality, and with more than adequate acceleration.
The appeal of the Ford Fiesta is of a youthful nature, but it seems to draw the attention of more mature age groups as well. It just looks fun and sporty. The ride quality is compliant, but leans to the firm side of the equation. In terms of a choice between the 4 and 5-door models, I preferred the look of the 5-door hatch over the 4-door ? plus, it provides a higher degree of versatility and functionality.
Essentially, the Fiesta is loaded with a host of standard features and equipment, including: Ford?s SYNC system that integrates a driver?s mobile phone with?Fiesta?s onboard, voice-activated communications and entertainment system; an available keyless entry and push button start; tilt-and-telescoping steering; adjustable cup holders; and Ford?s Easy Fuel? Capless Fuel-Filler System.
While small in stature, the Ford Fiesta is big on safety features, including:?AdvanceTrac? with electronic stability control; dual-stage first-row airbags;?driver knee airbag; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; four-wheel ABS;
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children); Tire Pressure Monitoring?System; child-safety rear locks; anti-theft engine immobilizer; and improved side?impact safety.
In the final analysis, the Ford Fiesta comes with all the right attributes to compete strongly in a growing and highly competitive market segment. It will be built at Ford?s Cuautitlan assembly plant in Mexico.
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[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium 5-Door Hatchback [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$20,390.|
|Engine Type and Size:||1.6-liter, Duratech, DOHC, 16-valve, Ti-VCT inline four-cylinder with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||120 @ 6,350 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||112 @ 5,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Five -speed manual.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.|
|Suspension:||Front – Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar.
Rear – Twist beam with coil springs.
Brakes: Power assisted front disc / rear drum with four-wheel ABS and AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control.Tires: Hankook Optimo P195/50 HR16 84H BSW mounted on 15-spoke premium sparkle nickel painted aluminum alloy painted alloy wheels.Wheelbase:98.0 inchesLength Overall:159.7 inchesWidth:67.8 inchesHeight:58.0 inchesCurb Weight:2,537 lbs.Fuel Capacity:12.4 gallonsEPA Mileage Estimates:27 mpg city / 38 mpg highwayDrag Coefficient:0.330 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.