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2014 Ford Fiesta: Fuel efficient, powerful and fun

September 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
In case you hadn't noticed, small cars are pretty hot right now, and Ford has done some updating to its subcompact Fiesta.

A design brought here from Europe, the 2014 Ford Fiesta has all the small-car attributes you'd want -- low price, nimble handling, and options that can give it big-car features and help it feel a little less low-rent.

And if you really want to save fuel, Ford's got a new engine choice for the car with three cylinders. Yes, three cylinders displacing just one liter.

"It's amazingly small. I mean look at how little this engine is," said Ford spokesperson Amy Marentic. "In fact, one of the guys at Ford took the block and got it through security at the Detroit airport in his suitcase."

The secret is turbo-charging, which helps a small motor produce the power of a larger one.

"And then the secret sauce is the direct injection because back in the day turbochargers had an issue with turbo lag, and with that direct injection turbo lag goes away," said Marentic.

The regular 1.6 liter is rated at 39 mpg highway, and Ford's expecting the little EcoBoost 1.0 liter to easily top 40 mpg when official test results come in.

Putting a turbocharger on a very small engine is a way to maximize fuel economy in the Fiesta, but Ford knows that other buyers want performance with their subcompact car, so for them, turbo-charging comes to the rescue as well.

Hot on the heels of the larger Focus ST is the Fiesta ST. A turbo four cylinder under its hood makes nearly 200 horsepower.

"Well it's amazing. You can get almost 35 mpg and then also go like a bat out of hell. What's not to like?" said Marentic.

The base Fiesta engine is actually no slouch. On paper it doesn't look like much, putting out a low-ish 120 horsepower. But the car's lightweight and nimble handling combine to keep it from feeling like a slowpoke.

Though if you want to hyper-mile, or eat up some miles rapidly, engine technology is essentially making three fiestas out of one.


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