2014 Ford Fiesta “Triple”

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I’ve got a triple in my garage.'14 Fiestalead

It’s loud and fast, but spews oily smoke – and gets terrible gas mileage. Probably why Kawasaki stopped making triples. Well, this kind of triple triple. (Two stroke triples.)

Then there’s the kind that gets great gas mileage – but makes you pay for it in other ways.

The Geo Metro kind of triple. Remember?

The crippled triple.

Ford’s got a new spin on the three cylinder concept: Great gas mileage and great performance.

Without the noise or the smoke.'14 Fiesta interior 1

It’s a turbo triple (four stroke, full emissions legit) and it’s available in the 2014 Ford Fiesta.


The Fiesta is a Ford’s entry level subcompact – sold in sedan and hatchback sedan versions.

It’s in the same class, size-and-price-wise, as the Kio Rio and Chevy Sonic. And like the Mitsubishi Mirage, it’s available with an extremely fuel-efficient three cylinder engine.underdog 1

But unlike the Mirage, the Fiesta – dial up the Underdog song – is not slow. Push down on the gas pedal – and away you’ll go!

Base price is $14,100 for an S with the standard 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine and manual transmission. The five-door hatchback version starts out slightly higher at $14,355.

To get the “triple,” you’ve gotta step up to the SE trim – $15,585 for the sedan and $15,580 for the five-door – and then check the box for the 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine, which adds another $995 to the tab.

This hurts the Fiesta’s cause a little – if your primary desire is economical transportation. MItsubishi will sell you their triple – sans turbo (and sans balls) –  in the Mirage – for $12,995. Its 37 city, 44 highway is untouchable at this price point.

Just don’t be in a hurry to get where you’re going.

WHAT’S NEW'14 Fiesta side view

40-plus MPG  – and zero to 60 in the eights – courtesy of the new 1.0 liter “Ecoboost” turbocharged three-cylinder engine that’s now optional in SE trims.

Ford’s programmable MyTouch electronics interface is also available – and there’s a new high-performance version of the Fiesta – the Fiesta ST – which will be reviewed separately.


Turbocharger endows three cylinder engine with four cylinder performance – but only when you need it.

When you don’t need it, you’ll enjoy three cylinder fuel economy.

Mini-me Aston Martin styling.

Doesn’t feel flimsy – or look sad sack.

Base trim (cheapest version) isn’t a stripper. AC, most needful power accessories, a six-speaker audio system and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel are included as part of the standard equipment package.

SE adds keyless entry, cruise, leather trim and ambient interior lighting.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD'14 Fiesta back seat 1

The 1 liter turbo triple is not offered even as an option in the base S trim Fiesta – and it costs extra once you’ve moved up to the more expensive SE trim Fiesta.

A manual (five speed) is mandatory with the triple. No automatic is currently available.

Mirage costs thousands less – and gives you even better gas mileage.

Back seat is brutal, compared with Sonic’s.

Cargo area is cramped – compared with the Mitsu’s.

UNDER THE HOOD'14 Fiesta engine 1

Base Fiestas are powered by a conventional 1.6 liter four cylinder, a typical economy car powerplant. It produces 120 hp, gets the Fiesta to 60 in a shave less than 10 seconds (manual versions, that is; if you go with the optional automatic, you’ll go considerably slower) and delivers 28 city, 36 highway (the slow-motion automatic versions give you 27 city, 37 highway).

It’s the classic case of one – or the other. You get pretty decent gas mileage with the 1.6 liter engine.

But not much else.

Enter the triple.'14 Fiesta engine 2

With a turbo bolted to its side, the 1 liter triple that’s optional in SE trims makes 123 hp – three more hp than the larger 1.6 liter four – and 125 ft.-lbs. of torque  vs. 112 ft.-lbs.

Result? You’ll get to 60 sooner – 8.8 seconds – and enjoy better mileage than the four manages: 31 city and 43 on the highway.

That’s having your cake and eating it, too.

Well, except for one thing. As mentioned earlier, to get the turbo triple, you have to first buy the higher-priced SE version of the Fiesta. And then spend another grand to get the 1 liter engine. Which brings the base price up to $16,575.

Turbos are wonderful – but they aren’t cheap.'14 Ecoboost graphic

Same deal, by the way, over at your local Chevy store. The Sonic offers a similar concept – plus one more cylinder. The base car comes with a 1.8 liter, 138 hp four but you can opt up to a turbo 1.4 liter four that gives better mileage (though nowhere near as good as the Ford’s) while matching or beating the acceleration capability of the base non-turbo engine. But, to get it, you have to buy the more expensive LT trim – and then pay another $700 on top of that to get the isn’t slow (and doesn’t suck) turbocharged engine.

Meanwhile, there’s the MItsubishi Mirage triple.

Standard equipment – and 37 city, 44 highway.  For not quite $13k – sticker price. And given MItsu’s desperate straights right now – the brand could be a goner any day now – you could probably haggle your way into one of these A to B units for $11k out the door.

Maybe less.'14 Fiesta manual tarnsmission pic

You can also order the Mirage with an automatic (CVT) transmission.

For now at least, Ford only sells the Ecoboosted Fiesta with a five-speed manual transmission.

If you want to hyper-mile your triple, buy the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package. It includes low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic tweaks to the exterior bodywork. Ford does not claim a specific MPG uptick, but it’s probably worth another 1-3 MPGs, depending on your driving.

It only adds $95 to the car’s price tag, incidentally.

ON THE ROAD'14 Fiesta road 1

Remember the Geo Metro?

Well, forget about it.

Though the Fiesta is similar in some ways – small car, small three-cylinder engine, gets great gas mileage – it is also nothing like the Metro, which was last sold new back in 1997.

Fo openers, the Fiesta’s quick.

Well, it isn’t slow.Geo pic

Ecoboost dialed up, it t gets to 60 about four seconds sooner than a Metro (8.8 vs. 13-ish for the Metro) and can do things in third gear – like reach triple digit speeds – that the Metro could’t do in any gear. Yes, you read that correctly. An EcoBoosted Fiesta triple turbo is capable of reaching an indicated 100 MPH in third.

And you’ve got two more to go.

Not that you’d ever actually do something like this . . . well, here in the U.S. But Ford sells this car in Europe – where it is necessary to be able to move at faster-than-Metro speeds. We get the benefit of that, plus even better mileage than the Metro ever managed.'14 Fiesta road 3

Real world driving-wise, getting going – and getting by road Clovers – is no problem in this car. The turbo three pulls like a much larger four when you need it to – courtesy of the instant  (but temporary, only as long as you need it) displacement increase that the turbo provides. This is the beauty of turbochargers (and superchargers they do the same thing but instead of being driven by the pressure of exhaust gasses, they are driven by a pulley and belt, just like an alternator or water pump). Turbos and superchargers make an engine bigger on demand – increasing its airflow capability via the miracle of boost – eliminating the proverbial deadweight (and pumping/friction losses) that would otherwise attend having more cubic inches (or liters, these days) under the hood to achieve the same output sans boost.

And the boost is invisible.'14 Fiesta gauges

There’s no audible whistle, no noticeable surge of power – preceded by the typically turbocharged flat spot. This is a very flexible engine, with torque enough to allow relaxed – even lazy – driving. This makes it perfectly pleasant in stop-and-go-driving, as well as better-than-merely-competent out on the open road. It is fun – but not necessary – to rev it up and work the five-speed to maintain momentum, to keep up with traffic. The turbo steady torque delivery makes it possible to keep the transmission in fifth or even fourth at road speeds of less than 40 MPH, without lugging the engine.

Don’t try that in the Mirage.

Let alone a Metro.'14 Fiesta road 4

The one hair in the soup is that the turbo triple comes only with the five-speed manual – at least, for the moment. There is a rumor that Ford will make the six-speed automated manual that’s currently available with the Fiesta’s 1.6 liter four cylinder engine available with the EcoBoosted three in the 2015 Fiesta.

Why isn’t it available right now, though?'14 Fiesta automatic

Good question. The three produces more torque (and sooner) than the four – 125 ft.-lbs. vs. 112 ft.-lbs. – which means the three ought to work better with an automatic than with a manual. The usual issue with small engines and automatics is torque deficiency, which results in sluggish off-the-line acceleration because of the Long Second (or three) it takes for the small engine to rev into its powerband. Note that the automatic-equipped 1.6 liter Fiesta takes almost 10 seconds to get to 60.

It’s very possible that Ford is leery of any Metro-ish associations and decided – at least for now – to offer the turbo triple with the manual only in order to keep its performance numbers as respectable as its fuel economy numbers.

AT THE CURB   '14 Fiesta head on pic

One of the great advances of our age is that inexpensive cars are no longer pathetic – either to drive or to view. They are so appealing, in fact, that they make more expensive cars seem like a rip-off. What do you get for your money, after all? The inexpensive car has all The Stuff: air conditioning, a good audio system, power windows and door locks – and in the case of the Fiesta, a standard tilt and telescoping wheel, Bluetooth wireless and voice command.

For a few bucks more you can add ambient interior lighting (including a cool-looking glowing accent light just above the latch for the glove box), leather trim, heated seats, 6.5 inch touchscreen display, et cetera.'14 Fiesta interior 2

It’s got Aston Martin-esque styling, too  . . . on a pint-sized scale.

The one thing it hasn’t got – and which some of its competitors do – is back seat (and cargo) room.

Ford was only able to carve out 31.2 inches of rear seat legroom – vs. 34.6 inches in the Chevy Sonic and 34 inches in the Mitsubishi Mirage. This renders the Ford’s back seats a tight squeeze for larger adults. Cargo capacity is also lower-than-average: 12.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats in the hatchback – vs. 14.9 in the Chevy and a very impressive-for-the-class 17.2 cubes in the Mitsu.'14 Fiesta glow

The available hatchback layout gives you room to work with – or rather, passenger room that can be used as cargo room. Assuming you don’t have passengers to carry. But if you do need to carry passengers, there’s not much you can do about the second row legroom situation. Or the headroom situation. It’s also a little tight back there – due to the sexy rearward slant of the Fiesta’s roofline: 37.1 inches vs. 37.8 in the Sonic.'14 Fiesta trunk

Backseat crampedness is the Fiesta’s chief objective deficit relative to its rivals.

It’s a shame, because other than this, the Fiesta could serve as a family car – in addition to being an economical car.

It has the power to pull not just itself, but also itself plus passengers.

If only there were adequate room for them. . .

THE REST '14 Fiesta mirrors pic

I am not a fan of the “euro”  (or RV) style two-piece outside rearview mirrors Ford now installs on all its U.S. market cars. They confuse the eye, unless you look at one, then the other – which can be awkward. Look at both at the same time and you get a skewed view that’s harder to process – or at least, is for me. Your mileage may vary.

I am a fan of the capless fuel filler system Ford is now installing on all its cars – the Fiesta included. Just pop the door and insert the nozzle. Nothingto screw on – or off.

Or lose.'14 Fiesta fuel door

Also, the capless system pretty much eliminates a fairly common Modern Car problem: The “check engine” light coming on because you didn’t sufficiently tighten the fuel cap – which triggers a fault code because gasoline vapors are venting to the air. It’s no big deal, but it does mean having to get someone with an OBD scanner tool to re-set your car’s computer.

The Fiesta’s “center keyboard” and mouse input –  and the fairly small – and recessed – digital display that goes with it – could be improved.

To turn off the traction control or change other settings, you have to push the fairly small button – menu, for instance – and then scroll using the also-small mouse, then select and push to get it to do what you want. It’s not hard to understand, but it can be hard to use…  at least, while the vehicle is moving. '14 Fiesta buttons

I also wish Ford – anyone – would figure out a way to make the fixed front quarter glass that is becoming a very common item in small cars functional – like the wing vent windows that used to be common in cars made back in the ’70s and ’60s. If they were, it would be less necessary to turn on the AC to keep cool. In fact, you might be able to do without AC entirely – which would be a money saver up front as well as down the road. The atrocious passive ventilation (no flow-through air) in all modern cars has made AC a de facto essential, which is why it has become a de facto standard, even in low-priced cars.

Functional wing vent windows could fix that – but it’d mean less profit for the car companies, which is probably why they aren’t available.

THE BOTTOM LINE'14 Fiesta Ecoboost badge

Ford does little to tout the turbo triple qua turbo triple.

Which is probably due to the legacy of the Metro and its well-known reputation for being a road toad. There’s no boost gauge, no “turbo” badges. If it were my call, I’d make more of an issue of it. There is a lot to be proud of here.

If only this car were lighter.

An empty Fiesta weighs just under 2,600 pounds – which used to be what mid-sized cars weighed. A subcompact like the old Geo Metro weighed in at just over 1,800 pounds. If the EcoBoosted Fiesta weighed closer to 2,000 pounds, it would likely clear the 50 MPG hurdle with ease – and be even quicker than the current car.Metro pic 2

But, you can’t have it all.

Or rather, you have to have what Uncle says you must have – including crash test survivability on par with (no, better than) the survivability of yesterday’s mid-sized cars . . . in a subcompact car package. This requires more steel, which means more beef – and 40-something MPGs rather than 50-something.

My gripe isn’t with the improved “safety” of new cars. It is with government taking the choice away from us. Crashworthiness only matters if you happen to have a crash. Many drivers manage to avoid crashing. Excellent fuel efficiency, on the other hand, happens every day . . . or not, as the case may be.

That grumble aside, this one’s a winner.

Geo Metro, get thee behind me!

Throw it in the Woods? 

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  1. Ford should name that engine the Triple. That’s a cool name. It reminds me of my neighbor when I was in H.S. in the late 79’s. He had a 76 Kawasaki KZ900 LTD and used to take me and my brothers on some wild rides. He had traded a Kaw 500 triple in for it. He said the KZ 900 had a higher top speed but the triple would beat it to 60 and maybe even to 100. He also said you better be ready for the front wheel trying to go over your head when you gunned it.

    • Ditto that, David!

      Triples are the proverbial shit. They sound like nothing else – and Kaw triples are the Hells’s Angels of motorcycles.

      I own a Kz900 too, by the way. But my little S1 250 triple sounds ten times tougher, even if it’s much slower – and it’s a kick to ride the little bastard, too.

      • I’ve seen pictures of your KZ900. It’s not a LTD, and I can’t decide if I like the spokes better than the “mags” on the LTD, but it’s a way cool bike. The LTD also has dual discs on the front, which I like. Most of all, I like the air cooled engines and carburetors that you could actually work on instead of calling your I.T. guy (Dom!) if something goes wrong. My neighbor, Mr. Kirtley (he was in his 30’s and I was 17, he kept telling me to call him Floyd, but I just wasn’t raised that way.) This was the nadir of automotive performance, so I got into bikes and Cycle World magazine. Harley was still AMF garbage, their 1000 cc Sportster was about 2 1/2 seconds slower in the 1/4 mile than the KZ900 and much more expensive, at least until Reagan raised the tariffs on Big bikes so Harley, after buying themselves out of AMF, could compete.

  2. Meh. At 2600 lbs you would think I could get some rear seat legroom and cubic storage to go with the Star Wars light bars. But it is still mucho better looking then the ugly-buggly Fiat 500 & SMART car.

    • Dear Gary,

      Yeah. This Fiesta is pretty good looking given the limitations of the econobox form factor.

      I would consider it if I was shopping for an econobox.

      • @Bevin – I find it interesting that Suzuki (aka Geo Metro/ Pontiac Firefly) offered a turbo 1.0L 3 cyl between 1988 – 2000. That was a long time ago in car years.



        The G10T is the factory Geo name for the Geo Metro engine

        This is an inline 1.0 liter 3 cylinder four stroke cycle gasoline engine utilizing aluminum alloy for the block, cylinder head and pistons. It is equipped with either a carburetor or electronic fuel injection with a IHI RHB31/32 turbocharger and either MPFI or a carburetor. It has a single overhead camshaft driving six valves.

        A 73.9 mm (2.91 in) bore and 77 mm (3.03 in) stroke give the engine a total of 1.0 L (993 cc/60 in³) of displacement. It produces 48 hp (36 kW) at 5100 rpm and 77 N·m (57 lb·ft) at 3200 rpm with 9.5:1 compression in the carburated model, 55 hp (41 kW) at 5700 rpm and 79 N·m (58 lb·ft) at 3300 rpm in the fuel injected model. The original home market version originally offered a carburetor 60 hp (45 kW) JIS at 5500 rpm, later power output fluctuated around 52-55 hp

        YEAH IT’S GOT A HEMI (Well it might depending on the year)

        From 1984 to 1988 the standard G10 engine used a hemispherical head carburetor design with mechanical lifters. From 1989 to 2001 the engine received updates in the form of throttle body injection and hydraulic lifters. A de-tuned 49 hp (37 kW) unit, with a slightly different camshaft, 2-ring pistons and differently tuned engine control unit, was used in the ultra-fuel-efficient Geo Metro XFi model, which delivered as much as 58 miles per gallon. In the US, the G10 in the 2000 Chevrolet Metro became the last engine available on an American-sold vehicle to use throttle body injection for fuel delivery.

        Through the 1985-1991 model years a turbocharged MPFI version of the G10 was offered in some markets. This engine delivered 73 hp (54 kW) at 4500 rpm and 115 lb·ft (156 N·m) at 3500 rpm. This turbocharged engine, with mechanical lifters, was available in both the US and Canadian Firefly/Sprint/Forsa from 1987-88. Only the Canadian Firefly/Sprint had this option, with hydraulic lifters, in the 1989-1991 model years. In the domestic Japanese market, the car was originally carburated (80 hp JIS @ 5500 rpm, 118 N·m (87 lb·ft) @ 3500 rpm) and went on sale in June 1984. In October 1987, along with a facelift, the home market Turbo received fuel injection and power output went up to 82 hp (61 kW) JIS, torque to 120 N·m (89 lb·ft). It was a short-lived version, however, as by September 1988 the car was no longer on sale in Japan.


        • Garysco, agreed turbo engines can live not only as long but longer than N/A if built correctly since they burn fuel more cleanly.

          There is no such thing in diesel powered equipment any longer and hasn’t been in decades(like, the late 60’s nothing was NA) and it’s harder to find anything not powered by diesel except for some things such as forklifts operated in and out of warehouses that are propane. It’s rare to find anything on a construction site that’s not turbo-diesel….and that engine may outlast most of the other components or all of the major components.

          A couple years ago a trucker who hauled mostly on the pavement although had to take some not so good roads at one end had bought a new rig and used nothing but the best grade of synthetic lubricants he could get. He was miffed when his Detroit Diesel went down at a bit under half a million miles.

          When he investigated it was found that DD knew they had a flaw in the construction of the engine but sold them anyway(this is more common than any major manufacturer wants to admit). They gave him $5,000 and all the components to rebuild that engine. From wear indications, he expects well more than twice that mileage for the new engine to run with no problems.

          I drive a company pickup that has more than 340,000 miles on the original Cummins engine and it’s still ticking although the rest of the truck is worn out. Since it was made before the EPA got to be the sole arbiter of how everything is made(04 model), it gets some good mileage still.

          I know Eric has made this point before but the EPA is pushing such a fine line of getting cleaner burning engines it’s really pushing up the price of everything as well as making the entire vehicle not live as long and actually decreasing the milegage. Big rigs now having to use a DEF engine get around 4.5mpg where that same power 20 years ago would have produced 2 more mpg, a significant fuel increase for a very slightly less clean exhaust. When you crunch the numbers, you’re actually producing more emissions that the old engine simply because of the amount of fuel used, added complexity and weight(big damned tanks now for DEF). It has gone beyond the absurd.

          • Dear Gary, 8sm,

            (COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL ENGINES RUN hundreds of thousands of MILES AND YEARS)”

            “Garysco, agreed turbo engines can live not only as long but longer than N/A if built correctly since they burn fuel more cleanly. ”

            I’m astonished to learn that. I still assumed that the old CW about turbos shortening engine life spans was the gospel.

            So how does that apply to the 2015 Mustang?


            While we only have leaked pricing for the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost models, those unofficial numbers seem like a solid enough deal that most buyers considering the base V6 or the more powerful and more efficient EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder will opt for the slightly pricier yet much more impressive EcoBoost Mustang.

            According to the leaked pricing tables, the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost starts at $25,995. This price for the S550 Mustang powered by the new 2.3L 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine represents a markup of $1,570 over the base V6 model. The clearest difference between the two engines right now is that the 3.7L V6 is promised to offer at least 300 horsepower and 270lb-ft while the turbocharged 2.3L mill is promised to pack at least 305 horsepower and 300lb-ft of torque. While the horsepower advantage is very minor, the extra ponies combined with the significant increase in torque should make the EcoBoost Mustang a great deal more engaging to drive than the V6 models.

            Any thoughts?

          • Bevin, the proof is in the pudding so to speak. Up to this point Ford hasn’t had a good track record with turbos, not nearly as sophisticated as the GM or Chrysler or I should say not as long-lived but maybe they’ve put their money where their mouth is this time. They have sure banked a great deal on turbo power across their entire line of vehicles so they’d better be doing it right.

            They screwed up royally back in ’02 with their new 6.0L diesel and couldn’t sell a diesel pickup for years because of it. They have a new diesel that supposedly in house and a keeper as far as anybody knows but it’s not been out there long enough to say for sure. GM was the first company I know of to take every bit of the whine out of their turbos, just a matter of balancing them, not a big deal but an added cost nevertheless. You’ll hear many of the big rigs these days with hardly a sound from the turbo so that’s the way that is going.

            I can only think that balancing any rotating assembly is an advantage reliability wise. I admit I do like the sound of the governor shoveling a bit more fuel in and hearing that big turbo on my big Kitty spool up but that doesn’t mean it’s superior in any way except audibly. I just know good things are happening and confirm it by looking at the boost gauge and the pyrometer. I’ll admit to having an affinity for Cat and Detroit Diesel to other brands and it’s shared by a lot of people who have a lot of experience. It’s not hard to reach over and shine that little chrome CAT when you’re walking by.

          • Dear 8sm,

            ” They have sure banked a great deal on turbo power across their entire line of vehicles so they’d better be doing it right. ”

            Very interesting. So basically for now, it’s wait and see.

            Thanks for sharing that.

          • t Ford hasn’t had a good track record with turbos,

            The ford 2.3L of the t-bird turbo coupe, mustang SVO, and merkur XR4Ti was quite good. I don’t know about truck stuff but car wise the one attempt has turned out to stand the test of time.

            The current car turbos I don’t know how they’ll turn out, but the upcoming turbo mustang is interesting to me.

          • Dear Brent,

            When I first read about the four banger Mustang I did a double take. This can’t be right, can it? A Mustang with an inline four? Who’s kidding whom?

            I assumed it was a bad move motivated by an reasonable desire to make a “world car” along the lines of the Mondeo. One car for the entire global market.

            But then a lot of seemingly knowledgeable people seemed to get behind it. So I took a harder look.

            No final conclusion yet. Still evaluating. Purely an academic exercise of course. Where I live now, a car purchase makes zero sense.

          • @* & Bevin – I claim no expertise in turbo/ supercharger tech other then what I have seen. If Suzuki could build an aluminum 1.0L 3 banger in the 80’s as bullet proof as the Metro is (most go well over 200,000 with normal care), the current state of metallurgy & tech should be able to do much better. But I agree that clumsy government bureaucrat clovers that have never built or designed anything get in the way for the rest of us.

            I had to “bi-annual” smog my metro last year and went to the place that does such things. They charged me an extra $40.00 to put the timing “in spec” for California before it passed “the test”. The car ran like crap, knocking, pinging all that way home, where I corrected the problem with a 10mm wrench.

          • Bevin, nothing wrong with a turbo 4 mustang.

            Back in the early 80s Ford made the first turbo 4 cyl mustangs for production. The 2015 even uses the traditional displacement of 2.3L. If someone were teleported here from 1985 and found the mustang could be had with a turbocharged 2.3L four or a 5.0L V8 he might not even realized he time traveled 30 years into the future.

          • Dear Gary,

            “The car ran like crap, knocking, pinging all that way home, where I corrected the problem with a 10mm wrench.”

            Isn’t that just typical of gubmint boondoggles?

            Dear Brent,

            At first I was sure I would opt for the V6 over the I4. But now I’m not so sure. The I4 actually puts out more HP and torque than the V6. I was amazed.

            Also, if offering an I4 enables Ford to market the Mustang globally, thereby keeping it alive, that’s something in its favor.

    • Agreed, Gary –

      If they just made it a little longer… carved out another 2-3 inches of backseat… it’d be an excellent all-arounder.

      But that back seat is a killer – and for many people, a deal breaker.

      • @Eric – Took a look at the Mitsubishi Mirage. At $14,000+ out the door (California indulgence taxes to the Governor included) it seems not too bad as an econo box with a 10/100,000 warranty and roadside service for 3 years thrown in for free. If Bilstein or KYB would make a decent strut / sway bar replacement package it would be a real contender at that price point.

        • Dear Eric, Gary,

          Eric, you reviewed the 2014 model Mazda 3 last year. As you put it, “… one of the most impressive new cars I’ve driven recently – because it so clearly outclasses the competition.”

          Just for grins I checked the price for the 2015 Mazda 3. Invoice price 16K to 25K, depending on model and accoutrements.

          For an extra 2K I would likely opt for the Mazda 3, given the serious lack of rear seat room in the Fiesta (31.2 inches). As you noted, “The 3′s got mid-sized car back seats (35.8 inches).”

          Probably the Mazda 2 is closer in form factor. Invoice price 14K to 17K. But even it has more rear leg room (33.0 inches) than the Fiesta.

          Of course this is all academic, as I’m not really in the market at the moment. Just “window shopping.”

  3. Eric, I like the idea and having not seen one, can’t comment on the execution. The capless gas tank though, that you like, really sucks the big one for some of us. The first I saw was a Dodge diesel pickup. Open that door, that really should be well sealed, and stick that big filler into the filler hole while adding an ounce or two of dirt. Not what I would call an advantage, esp. in the part of the country where I live and drive.

    I also have a problem with almost everyone of these cars no matter the manufacturer in that they aren’t really designed for all climes. If truth in advertising existed, there would be one of those color graphs denoting the different temperature zones of the US and recommendations for various autos to be operated therein on the sticker. Some should have a “Do Not Use” warning in some areas such as most of the south and southwest.

    Being on the road a great deal I see lots of burned cars and it’s not limited to any one brand either. I have noticed on new pickups(gasoline powered)the sound of a high speed motor running continuously after just cranking it up in the heat of the day. I have to wonder how many of those fans they have.

    • Ford has a locking gas ‘plug’ they call it as I recall. Anyway I have one on my ’12 mustang. I suppose if one complains enough the dealer might throw one in.

  4. As a Ford salesman I have much experience with the Fiesta platform. If you’re looking for a fun to drive compact vehicle there is nothing better in its class. It is relatively light but its still nearly 1000 lbs heavier than a mid 90’s compact. A CRX/Civic of the early-late 90’s had fully independent double wishbone suspension on all four corners. The Fiesta has Struts up front and a twist beam in the rear which is less expensive to manufacture but takes away from the “sporty” driving experience.

    If you are looking for the least expensive mode of transportation in a very refined package a base Fiesta manual with the 1.6L 4-banger is your ticket. It’s an amazingly fun package to drive around town.

    If you drive very long distances on a daily basis the 3-banger would give you 50+MPG’s highway all day long. This matches what a Prius C would give you but doesn’t lull you to sleep by being so damn boring and dull.

    If you’re looking for the must fun under $20k get a Fiesta ST. This car will make you drive like you are 16 again and is where my money is going within the next few months. Nothing has ever put a smile on my face like the car did the first time I drove it.

    If I could have it my way I would own two Fiestas. An ST with the 1.6 EcoBoost and the SFE package 3-banger. Both are the epitome of the saying “it’s better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slowly”. You can flog on these cars all day long and still get 25+mpg in the city. While some of the extra weight is unwanted safety equipment, a lot of it is added sound insulation and creature comforts which make the driving experience vastly superior to earlier compact vehicles.

  5. A to B units for $11k our the door.

    our → out

    Good review. Curious to see how the turbo holds up over time.

    Do you think the car will be easy to do basic (oil/spark plugs/filters, etc) maintenance?

    The extra cost for the triple will take some more time to reach break even point compared to the std version. (breakeven miles = cost difference / [G$gal/Gmpg – D$gal/Dmpg])

    YMMV, but two samples
    2000/[(3.30/28)-(3.30/31)]= 175,000 miles cty
    2000/[(3.30/36)-(3.30/43)]= 134,000 miles hwy

    Time to break even depends on the miles you travel per year, fuel cost, and other factors.

    • Thanks, Mith – for the compliment and the copy edit!

      I will have the video up shortly… it’ll address some of the serviceability issues you asked about.

  6. Eric, How would you rate this car’s handling?

    “If” it handles well, the Fiesta Triple would have that “fun to drive” factor going for it. Might be evocative of the Honda CRX Si.

    If not….then it’s just an improved transport appliance.

    Since you didn’t say much about this, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

    • Hi Mike,

      It’s much better than something like the Yaris (ask Dom about that)! Overall, a very fun car to drive, with no significant deficits.

      The one thing I personally might be a little worried about would be the long-term durability of the turbocharger. This is not to single out Ford. I am just leery about turbos, generally.


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