Introduction: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Are you ready to open your arms to the idea of going smaller? In a world filled with everything from inline fours on up to exotic V12 engines, it’s rare to find something quite different from the rest. Ford, however, is bringing a new motor to market, and we can’t wait to see how it’s received. The mill in question? A three-cylinder 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost, and it will make its home under the hood of the 2014 Ford Fiesta.
We spent a full day with the car, wondering things like: “When was the last time a three-cylinder car was sold in the U.S.?”, and “How much are they going to charge me for a car missing a cylinder?”
At the end of the day though, our only question was “When can we buy one?”
Pricing and Trim Levels: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
For 2014, Ford is offering a variety of very intriguing Fiesta models. There will be the standard Fiesta, but Ford is also launching a high-performance Fiesta ST and the 1.0-liter EcoBoost version. Our focus here is on the-little-engine-that-could Fiesta, but unfortunately we don’t yet have any pricing information to share.
A base 2013 Fiesta S runs a few hundred bucks under $14,000. We hope to see the three-cylinder version sitting on the better side of $15,000, but we really don’t know at this point. Seeing as the current most expensive Fiesta is under $20,000, we’re comfortable betting that the 1.0-liter EcoBoost will be in the mid-teens.
Competition: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Ford plans to take the 2014 Fiesta and do battle with the likes of the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and the Chevrolet Sonic. How do we know this? During our evaluation of the Fiesta, we wound up at an airstrip playing host to an autocross course. The competition was there waiting for us, and we put all four vehicles through their respective paces.
It wasn’t even close.
If you care about driving dynamics whatsoever, the Fiesta is the car for you. It was far more enjoyable to drive, much more interesting thanks to the little I3 under the hood, and will most likely return better fuel economy than the other three as well. The Honda Fit was closest in terms of the “If you had to spend your own money” quotient, but the Ford was the runaway victor here. We’ll explain more in our driving impressions.
Exterior: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Since it’s being updated, the 2014 Fiesta has been given the Ford Family front-end treatment. It wears it rather well too. The Aston-esque grille is present, but since Ford is using it on everything we might all have to get over the fact that it resembles the products from that special British brand. It’s now a Ford grille, and the automaker is using it well. This area of the car is also highlighted by the sharp laser-cut headlamps, which appear to have been melted with precision into the lines of the compact car.
Flowing rearward, the eyes are helped by the strong character lines in both the upper and lower portions of the doors. They move sharply upward and backwards, which pushes them into meeting with the large taillights.
Overall, the design speaks to that of being one hot hatch. It’s certainly not the ST version, but it’s quite a handsome little machine. Capping it all off are the four many-multi-spoked wheels, which provide a hint of European style. That makes sense though, since the car we’re driving is the European-spec model. Thankfully, we’ve been assured the U.S.-spec Fiesta will look exactly the same minus one of the badges on the rear.
Interior: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Being the smallest of the Blue Oval family doesn’t mean the Fiesta gets ignored as far as interior refinement goes. The front thrones are comfortable, and everything is placed within easy reach of both the driver and front passenger. Rear legroom is small, but good for a car of this class. At 6’3”, your author was able to jump in the seat behind the driver’s seat with relative ease… as long as it wasn’t ratcheted all the way back.
For 2014, Ford is bringing SYNC and MyFord Touch into the Fiesta. It’s controlled via a 6.5-inch touch screen, and said screen also controls the optional eight-speaker sound system.
Powertrain and Fuel Economy: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Joining the already impressive lineup of EcoBoost engines is the all-new 1.0-liter inline three-cylinder engine. This mighty little mill manages to pack a technologically impressive punch. The entire block weighs a mere 52 pounds, yet the engine manages to churn out 123 horsepower from 1,400 rpm up to 4,500 rpm, and torque is an impressive 148 foot pounds from 1,400 rpm up to 4,000 rpm. That 123-horsepower per liter figure? That’s more than a Lamborghini Aventador.
There is so much engine geekery going on here that we were a bit blown away. Allow us a moment to get technical…
Thanks to direct injection, a turbocharger, and variable valve timing, the 1.0 EcoBoost is expected to return 40 miles per gallon fuel economy in combined driving. A variable displacement oil pump keeps the engine thermally efficient. The turbocharger is a low inertia example that spins to 248,000 rpm. The crankshaft is offset so there’s less friction on the side skirts of the pistons. The timing belt is immersed in the engine oil, which means it runs far quieter than a conventional setup, and it also never needs to be changed. The engine dampers and flywheels were designed to counteract the inherent imbalance found in any engine with an odd number of cylinders, and passenger side mounts counteract lateral imbalance.
This engine is technically impressive, as well as practically. It makes surprisingly great noises, and it’s paired with a slick shifting five-speed manual gearbox.
Color us very impressed.
Safety: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Ford has brought its MyKey system down into the Fiesta family. This means the owner of the car can limit drivers (such as their kids) to certain speeds, get alerts when a driving range is exceeded, and also limit audio volume and features such as Bluetooth. This helps give owners some peace of mind that those using their car, are doing so safefully.
Additionally, the Fiesta is now offered with a back-up camera and a reverse sensing system. The small car was already easy to park, but it just got even easier.
Driving Impressions: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
Hopping into the driver’s seat of the 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost, I expected to be greeted with a tame, quiet motor that cared not for enthusiastic driving. The interior was nice, and the outside looked great, but I figured that the powertrain would be soulless.
I was so very wrong.
The Fiesta already boasts a rather excellent chassis, and now it also has an engine that pairs perfectly. Firing the three-cylinder motor, I was greeted with a grunty note that was reminiscent of a diesel motor. That makes sense here, since the 1.0-liter pulls like a diesel. In fact, it pulls harder, because it doesn’t stop revving at 4,000 rpm but pulls all the way up to over 6,000 rpm. I can’t stress how great it sounds running it all the way up there either. Imagine a boxer engine mated with a diesel mill, and you’ll get some idea of just how cool this little runabout sounds.
That engine brings a five-speed along with it as the only available transmission. We’re fine with that, but it could hurt sales a little bit. Still, we don’t predict that this will be the top seller in the Fiesta family. Those who do opt for it though, know you’ve made a wise decision. The shift lever slots firmly into each gear's home, and it’s an easy little machine to drive aggressively.
Our drive route took us from the Santa Monica coast over Mulholland Highway and on inland. This is an aggressive route, but the Fiesta shone brightly during an otherwise uncharacteristically gray day in Southern California. The twisting ribbon of asphalt meant that we had many corners with which to accelerate out of, and the Fiesta has ample energy at nearly all sections of the rev range.
Not only that, but it corners comfortably thanks to Ford's understanding of how to tune the electronic power steering system. We’ve opined in the past about how we’re upset that everyone is moving away from hydraulic units, but a few automakers are getting it right, and Ford is certainly one of them. There’s steering feel to be had, and, along with the well suited suspension, we’re treated to a ride that’s as fit for cruising as it is for canyoneering.
Final Thoughts: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost
What Ford has done here, essentially, is created a new poster child for the idea of driving a slow-car fast. Move over Mazda2, we have a new leader in town. We never expected to love this little thing the way we do. The 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost is built to impress those who want affordable transportation and great fuel economy. While building it, Ford managed to also produce a machine to put a smile on any automotive enthusiasts face.
We’re sold… hurry up calendar, so can move forward and start seeing these in dealerships here in the United States.
-1.0-liter EcoBoost is a tiny bit of technological awesome.
-Chassis is perfectly suited for the motor.
-Exterior style receives an upgrade over the outgoing model.
-Back seat legroom is a little small, but that’s a stretch because it’s small for every car in this segment.
-That’s all we’ve got… this thing is awesome.
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