2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Introduction
Ford’s new car offering in the sub-compact segment, the Fiesta has been around since 1976, although Ford pulled the model from the U.S. market in 1980. The car was re-launched here in the U.S. in 2011 and received a mild updating for the 2014 model year. Ford’s better idea these days is infusing its cars with a lot of value for the money, and one look at the Fiesta’s standard equipment list bears this out.
You’ll find features in Ford’s subcompact that many manufacturers reserve for their compact and mid-size models. These include Bluetooth, an iPod interface, and an array of seven airbags. Further, the diminutive Ford offers exemplary road manners, good fuel economy, and it ain’t so bad to look at either.
Which is not to say the 2014 Ford Fiesta is a perfect car—there are one or two caveats.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Models And Prices
Ford offers the Fiesta in both hatchback and sedan formats. The sedan starts at $14,100, while the hatchback starts at $14,600. The hatchback is offered in S ($14,600), SE ($16,080), Titanium ($18,800), and ST ($21,400) trims. The sedan meanwhile, is offered in S ($14,100), SE ($15,580), and Titanium ($18,300) trims. A destination and handling charge of $795 is added to each trim package.
Standard equipment for Fiesta S includes a set of fifteen-inch steel wheels with covers, power door locks, and power adjustable exterior rear-view mirrors. You’ll also find air-conditioning, a manually adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and a six-speaker audio system supporting a CD player and an auxiliary audio input port along with various Ford Sync telematics. These include; an iPod/USB interface, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, as well as voice controls for phone, navigation and audio functions. App-based services and safety communications are comprised within the Sync package too. A rear wiper is also standard on hatchback S trimmed Fiestas.
Opting for Fiesta SE gets you all of the above plus; power windows, turn signal repeater lamps for the exterior mirror housings, cruise control, and a better grade of cloth upholstery for the seats. The S package’s steel wheels are supplanted by a set of fifteen-inch painted aluminum wheels. The SE’s more distinctive interior treatment includes metallic interior trim accents, a center console with an integrated armrest, leather for the steering wheel, and an interior ambient lighting package.
Kicking things up a notch, but staying within the SE range, the SE Appearance package goes to sixteen-inch alloy wheels, a set of foglamps, and a rear spoiler for the sedan’s decklid. It features even better cloth for the seats, and leather for the shift knob too. The MyFord Touch interface is added, along with its 6.5-inch touchscreen, and the Sync Services suite of telematics functions. These include traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions. Satellite radio is included too.
The Fiesta’s Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package can be added to the SE trimmed models, which includes lower rolling resistance tires, lighter wheels, and specific aerodynamic pieces to help the Fiesta achieve slightly better fuel economy. But wait, that ain’t all; Fiesta SE buyers can choose to go with Ford’s turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine and a Comfort package, which will net heated front seats, a set of heated side mirrors, and an automatic climate control system.
Of course, by the time you do all of that, you might as well go ahead and get our Fiesta Titanium tester, which incorporated all of the features of the S, SE, and the SE Appearance and Comfort packages. The Titanium uses a different set of 16-inch wheels though. It also plays some nice chrome exterior trim and is further distinguished by its black grille.
Further, the Titanium trim package adds a rearview camera, a rear parking sensor array, keyless entry and start, leather upholstery for the seats, and a set of upgraded Sony speakers to complement the HD radio. There is also an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Performance oriented buyers will appreciate the Fiesta ST hatchback, which features all of the Fiesta SE’s bits, along with more aggressive bodywork, a set of foglamps, and dual exhaust outlets. On the mechanical front, the Fiesta ST garners a six-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension system, and seventeen-inch wheels with a set of sticky summer performance tires to work more cohesively with the quicker steering calibration and more robust braking system.
On the comfort and convenience tip, the ST boasts an automatic climate control system, keyless entry and start, a leather-wrapped shift knob, the aforementioned MyFord Touch interface, the Titanium’s Sony speakers and HD radio, and more deeply bolstered cloth upholstered sport seats. Fiesta ST buyers also get a more powerful engine, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a set of aluminum-trimmed pedals, ST floor mats, and ST doorsill plates.
Standalone Fiesta SE, Titanium, and ST options are a sunroof and a navigation system.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Design
Sleek and contemporary, the Fiesta’s exterior styling is at once playful and practical. Just refreshed for the 2014 model year, its shape speaks to the exceptional aerodynamic qualities of the Fiesta while the new face of Ford (borrowed from Aston Martin) looks really nice on a car this size. Also reworked for the 2014 is the headlight treatment, which gives the Fiesta an even more sleek and upscale appearance.
While the most immediately recognizable changes are the grille and the headlights, the hood, front fascia, and taillights are all-new for 2014. The components integrated nicely into the Fiesta’s ovoid shape and have contributed nicely to its pleasant demeanor.
Inside, the center stack was reworked to accommodate the MyFord Touch monitor. The interface is scaled down for Fiesta duty to run in a 6.5-inch monitor rather than the eight-inch monitor found in the Fiesta’s larger siblings. Given this feature was previously unavailable for the Fiesta at all, we’re inclined to accept the compromises the smaller screen imposes. And frankly, in the looks department, it serves to add a premium air, one previously missing in the mini-est Ford.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Comfort And Cargo
Our Titanium tester being fully loaded, comfort was at its maximum level for the Fiesta. Legroom was good up front, and if the front passengers are willing to share, adults can ride in the rear seats too—for short distances. No cross-country treks, unless you stop to rotate seats every 30 minutes or so—and with very light luggage.
One ding against the Fiesta, probably owing to its diminutive proportions; even though soft touch materials are generously employed on the armrests in the front doors, our elbows had a tendency to rest on the hard plastic just aft of the soft touch material on the driver’s door. Shorter people may not find this to be an issue however.
All four seats are nicely supportive, while remaining comfortable. The leather in our Titanium model was supple and finished with nice white contrasting stitching for a more premium look. The seats are however, manually adjustable; if you’ll go back to the features list you’ll note power seats are not available for the Fiesta at any price. Of course, that’s fairly common in this segment.
If you’re transporting only two people, the Fiesta’s rear seat folds and will allow it to handle considerably more cargo than it will appear to accept at first glance. One particularly useful feature in this regard is the false floor in the rear cargo compartment. This can be left in place to provide additional concealed storage, or it can be removed to allow the Fiesta’s cargo area to deal with taller objects. In sum, you can coax the Fiesta into accepting some 26 cubic feet of cargo with all of the stops pulled out.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Features And Controls
Something uncommon at this price point though is the broad array of tech features the littlest Ford offers. We’ve gone through the list in the “Model And Prices” section of this posting, so we won’t list them again. However, what we will comment upon here is the attractive manner in which the controls for all of the features are situated. Everything is logically arrayed, there’s no hunting, or wondering—the placement of it all simply makes sense.
We also mentioned the 6.5-inch touchscreen monitor previously. Given the interface it hosts was originally written for a larger monitor, some of the controls it harbors are on the tiny side. You’ll have to be careful making your selections on a bumpy road, as you might miss the feature you were going after. Of course, much of this is ameliorated by the voice activation functions of Ford Sync, so once you get used to the car, it probably won’t be that big of a deal. The monitor is slightly farther than arm’s length away however, so when you’re seated behind the wheel you will have to slightly lean forward to manipulate its controls. Again though, voice activation will alleviate some of these concerns.
For the most part, the Sync voice commands are pretty logical, we didn’t have to talk like Yoda from Star Wars to get something to happen; but there is a very definite structure it prefers. And again, once you get it, you got it—so we aren’t terribly concerned about that either.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Safety And Ratings
According to the window sticker of the Fiesta, the little Ford is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Award Winner. This means it scored ‘Good” (the top score) in frontal offset, side impact, rear impact and roof strength tests.
NHTSA says the Fiesta earned four stars out of a possible five in its testing. The Fiesta pulled five starts in frontal crashes for the driver, but only four for the front passenger. It scored four stars in side crashes for front seat occupants, but five for people sitting in the rear seat. The Fiesta also booked four stars in NHTSA’s rollover testing.
Standard safety features include the aforementioned seven airbags, a perimeter alarm system, remote keyless entry, an anti-theft immobilizer, and tire pressure monitoring. The 2014 Ford Fiesta’s suite of safety gear also includes antilock brakes all around. By the way, the Fiesta uses front discs and rear drums for all except the higher performing ST models—those get four-wheel discs.
You’ll also find traction and stability control, hill launch assist, a pair integrated blind-spot inserts for the exterior rearview mirrors, and a 911 Assist function, which uses your paired cell phone to connect automatically to a 911 operator. Our Titanium trimmed test car also had a rearview camera and a rear parking sensor array.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Engines And Fuel Economy
Three engines are offered for the front-drive 2014 Ford Fiesta in its U.S. guise.
The base powerplant is a 1.6-liter four (fitted to our test car), which provides 120 horsepower and 112 ft-lbs of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, (which was also fitted to our test car). Ford also offers a six-speed automated manual transmission it refers to as ”PowerShift”. Fuel economy with the 1.6 is rated at 27 in the city, 38 on the highway, and 31 combined with the five-speed manual. PowerShift changes those numbers to 29 city, 39 highway, and 33 combined.
The second engine offering is Ford’s 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost, capable of generating 123 horsepower and 125 ft-lbs of torque. Yeah, you read it right, that’s more than the base four-cylinder. Further, it returns 32 mpg in the city, 45 on the highway, and 37 combined. The five-speed manual is the only transmission offering for the EcoBoost powertrain.
The high-performance Fiesta ST gets a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter four-cylinder. This mill spins out 197 horsepower and 214 ft-lbs of torque. You can only have it with a six-speed manual transmission. The EPA says to expect somewhere around 26 mpg in the city, 35 on the highway, and 29 combined.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Driving Impressions
The Fiesta might be an inexpensive car, but its driving characteristics are anything but. It feels nice and solid on the highway at speed, with considerable stability. The Fiesta tracks straight and true, without a lot of steering corrections. Further, the Ford changes directions with considerable agility, taking complete advantage of its light weight.
It’s kind of cool when you think about it; the Fiesta feels light on its feet when asked to maneuver, but solid on the highway at speed. And, the suspension deals with pavement irregularities in a distinctively proficient manner. Bumps don’t upset the car, nor do they upset the passengers. The suspension system is remarkably supple in that regard.
While the 197-horsepower ST Fiesta offers a measure of quickness to go with that agility, the mainstream models are tweaked to deliver economy over performance. When you do ask the engine to wind though, it does so with smoothness and fluidity. Still, though, you’ll find yourself rowing the gearbox quite a bit if you’re bent on extracting maximum acceleration. On the other hand, if you’re content to just go about your day in a conservative fashion, there are very few situations in which you’ll feel something’s amiss in the engine room.
The shifter in our five-speed manual test car could feel a bit more connected, possessing something of a rubbery nature. It’s not off-putting, but it doesn’t feel as directly connected as some of the better units out there. The gates are nicely defined, but the transitions between them feel a bit less than precise. We do like the hill-hold feature it has though. Clutch take-up is good, even a novice can launch the Fiesta competently, despite the relatively low torque output of the engine.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Final Thoughts
Long story short, the Fiesta is highly proficient at nearly every task you could throw at it. The car goes well, offers considerable comfort, and an outstanding array of comfort and convenience for the price. It’s good looking, delivers very acceptable fuel economy, and while it isn’t a leader in the cargo-handling department, it should suffice for most people.
All in all, the Fiesta is a strong offering in a segment full of strong offerings. The car’s real problem is managing to stand out against so many worthy opponents. These include the Chevrolet Sonic, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Nissan Versa. Interestingly however, the Fiesta also faces some pretty stiff competition from its Ford Focus stablemate. The two are so close in price, and get such similar fuel economy; many Fiesta intenders have been driving away from Ford dealerships in the Focus instead.
2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium Road Test And Review: Pros And Cons
Handsome styling, reasonable price, exceptionally good value, generous array of features.
Small touchscreen controls, armrest cushions could be longer, some competitors best it in cargo and rear seat legroom.