In today’s moist hot steamy Detroit weather we tested Ford’s refreshed 2014 Fiesta to see how well the cheeky compact has been evolving. The Fiesta was all alone in the market when it made its debut, but now shares the comparison sheet with Chevrolet Sonic and a number of other up and comers.
Our tester came with the standard 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine good for some 120 horsepower. For 2014 you can also get a new mileage champ 1.0 liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 123 horsepower or a tire frying 197 horsepower 1.6 liter EcoBoost performance version in the Fiesta ST.
Our 2014 Fiesta had the optional 6-speed “powershift” automatic transmission which enables the 1.6 liter four to achieve up to 41 mpg. The robotic manual transmission is of course not a traditional automatic, shedding a torque converter for a dry clutch arrangement.
For 2014 it has had a thorough software massage however to make it feel more like a traditional automatic transmission for buyers who aren’t fully versed in robotic manuals and how they actually operate or feel. Luckily the spa treatment in the lab didn’t degrade performance, but gave additional refinement.
The new styling is more in line with the new Ford Fusion which was obviously an Aston Martin in a past life. A new chrome grille gives a more premium look too. The sedan and 5-door both get some new colors for 2014 as well including the Mustang’s bright “Gotta Have It Green”.
Inside, a new My Ford Touch system comes with better workability and functionality. We liked its better use of traditional knobs and buttons in lieu of only letting you use the touch screen to control basics. We still find the 6.5 screen a bit small however and hard to read buried so far deep into the dash.
On the highway and on a short autocross course we found again just as in our first test with the Fiesta that it’s a pleasant buggy to drive. It had a rewarding feedback to instructions you give it, the engine revving willing and enthusiastic. The suspension is mild, but precise and predictable enough to feel like a tool of the trade to a driving enthusiast.
While we didn’t have the opportunity to get a read on the new for 2014 EPA claim of 41 mpg highway for the 1.6 liter four, we have no doubt customers will be able to get there. Buyers looking for ultimate efficiency will want to wait for the 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine which is expected to do even better.
After stepping away and composing our thoughts we remain as impressed with the 2014 Ford Fiesta as we were when it first arrived. It’s a premium choice in the sub-compact segment that doesn’t come with a premium price, starting at $14,000.