The Ford Fiesta has been with us now in the US since 2010 and it received a styling update for the 2014 model year which gave it new headlamps and sharper grille. It also gained the ultra fuel efficient 1.0 lite EcoBoost SFE option as well.
Going with the Ford Fiesta SFE costs you about $1000 extra and is only available on the Fiesta SE sedan or five door hatch like our tester. Note that 15” steel wheels with covers are traded for the SE’s standard alloy wheels for better aerodynamics.
While it may look a bit spartan with less exterior bling, the Fiesta SE does give you a nice for this class interior. The dash, door panels and seat trims are very European in design. Fit and finish is surprisingly good.
With the SE trim you get healthy dose of standard amenities from power mirrors, windows and locks to a leather wrapped steering wheel. That wheel telescopes and tilts and gives you plenty of controls for the infotainment system.
The standard display audio system was a nice break from the full deck MyFord Touch. It’s simple to use on the road with a screen display large enough to see and read both day and night. Audio quality is also more than expected in this class of car.
Our tester was optioned with manually adjusted heated cloth seats which were very comfortable on long drives. In that package also came heated mirrors and auto climate control. Room of course is plentiful up front and adequate in the back seat.
The rear cargo area is also adequate in the 5-door with the ability to fold seats down and increase it. If you really want trunk space I’d recommend the 4-door sedan.
I find that the Fiesta’s cabin comes off well with its design and presentation, offering a higher rent feel than many cars in this class. Buyers will never feel they cheaped out or are being punished for choosing a fuel efficient econobox.
Under the hood is where the SFE is pretty unique, featuring a 1.0 liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine. With 123 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque it’s both more powerful and much more efficient than the standard four-cylinder engine.
It’s rated at 32 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and has a 37 mpg combined rating and comes only with a 5-speed manual transmission. The latter point might be a deal-killer for buyers who prefer or need an automatic.
The power-train is a bit agricultural in its sound and feel starting off from a stop and around town when accelerating. It does smooth out at freeway speeds and becomes very quiet, so if you can deal with its grumbly demeanor around town, you are in like flint.
At freeway speeds, not only is the engine quiet, but the ride is too. Ford has done a commendable job for this class of car with sound deadening and chassis refinement for noise and vibrations. The Fiesta feels planted at speed too with excellent suspension tuning.
The Fiesta’s pleasant ride and handling demeanor of course also translates well to driving around town. While its suspension specs are pretty run of the mill in terms of technology, its tuning and feel are very much European which means sharpness and precision all around.
While the 2013 Ford Fiesta was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, the 2014 and 2015 models aren’t because the Institute now requires cars achieve an acceptable rating on the new small-overlap front crash test for the distinction. Additionally, for 2014 and 2015 the Fiesta doesn’t offer optional or standard crash prevention systems.
In the end we achieved a 43.3 mpg combined in our week with the Ford Fiesta SFE which included in town, freeway and even mountainous driving. This is commendable given its highway rating is 43 mpg and its EPA combined rating is 37 mpg.