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TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS
2014 Ford Fiesta

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Aug 23, 2013

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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2014 Ford Fiesta 5-Door

By Zoran J. Segina To those who grew up driving zippy European compacts, there is nothing surprising about the new 2014 Ford Fiesta. On the outside it resembles a cute Focus. Rounded sections in the front quarter panels circle the trademark Ford grille. Elongated housing in the front fascia contains a line of headlights. The front end is split in upper and lower segment, the latter with round lights and winglets. Raised hood with angular accents and two horizontal undulations along the doors make the Fiesta visually longer. Rear view mirrors have blind spot curvatures and illumination on the side. This reviewer, as well as several others in the test group prefer the hatchback with its tighter design. The sixteen inch wheels look surprisingly compact on this smallest of the cars in the Ford family. The inside is roomy. The Titanium model we drive has a padded leather-bound steering wheel with different thickness for thumbs support. Voice activated controls as well as a twelve-volt outlet behind the shifter for charging all electronic toys appeal to Fiesta's younger buyers. The devices can be connected to an eight-way Sony audio system. Two small speakers are built underneath the door handles. The dashboard is dominated by two round instruments - tachometer on the left and speedometer on the right. Further out there are round ventilation spots complementing two openings in the center above which sits a navigation screen. B pillars have little triangular windows for better visibility.

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The cabin fit and finish is superb with nice touches all around. The start and stop button is remotely controlled. Body-contoured dark gray leather seats have contrasting white stitching. A sunglasses box is padded inside lest the lenses be scratched. A tinted section above the rear view mirror shields driver's eyes. On some of the Fiesta's foreign competitors similar features were inadequate. Seat belts are height adjustable, and it is amazing how one expects all this gear to be available in an entry level car. The 1.6-liter engine with a five-speed manual transmission has enough flexibility to let me skip gears. Step on the gas hard, and it will happily rev to 6500. On a twisty Malibu test road, with the shifter planted in third gear, around 3000-3500 rpm, the Fiesta will hug the curves all day long. On the way back, my co-tester Mark is behind the wheel gunning the engine to the limit. The sixteen-inch Hankook tires - undoubtedly conceived as a fuel saving item - stretch the idea of adhesion to a level not originally envisioned by the designers. There is a clinking sound in the two cup holders behind the shifter as our water bottles begin to cheer this newly found limit of the Fiesta's performance envelope. The car's neutral handling will satisfy most of the drivers. Even with the drum brakes on the rear wheels, the Fiesta is so reminiscent of the crisp European hatchbacks with their precision and sure-footedness because the roads on which they travel are narrow and twisty. Pedals are close enough that a big-footed driver, or one with flexible ankle, could employ toe-heal pedal technique to give the Fiesta more sporty feel. Mark laments the overly long travel of the transmission shifter. Ford, however, promises the S version of the Fiesta, which will likely come with a short-throw device - and given the high standards set by the base model - we cannot wait.

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Mark posits that the Fiesta is devoid of rattles and noises one would expect on a bumpy road in an entry-level model (albeit a Titanium Edition.) And then there is a design feature that has eluded American manufacturers for a long time. Inside the Fiesta, given its price, one is not surprised to be surrounded by large surfaces covered in dark plastic. But all of the surfaces have wonderful tactile feel. From the deeply raked windshield, through different elements on the doors, the inside panels have a jocular interplay of different textures. This not only breaks the visual monotony, but makes the interior aesthetically appealing, giving the sensation of luxury. As for the rear seats, one would not take passengers on a cross-country trip in the Fiesta, but with moderate adjustments, the rear seats provides adequate room for the legs. There is a nicely padded section for the elbows in the rear doors which, on a hatchback, are stretched for easy entry. Head supports offer added comfort. Rear seats are split and can be folded separately to provide more cargo space. The trunk has two speakers and another 12-volt outlet (tailgate parties?), as well as space for bottles and small items. Underneath the wooden trunk floor cover there is another storage space with two side pockets. The 2014 Ford Fiesta is a solid European-influenced performer. Those of us who know this segment well offer the Fiesta our hearty welcome. To the newcomers we say: prepare to be more than pleasantly surprised. For more information about Ford products, go to www.ford.com

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SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2014 Ford Fiesta Five-Door Titanium Edition Price: $18,800.00 (base) $20,390.00 (as tested) EPA mileage estimates (city/highway): 27/38 (manual transmission) Engine type: 1.6-liter Ti VCT inline four-cylinder gasoline DOHC, four valves per cylinder, independent variable camshaft timing Horsepower: 120 @ 6350 rpm Torque: 112 pound-feet @ 5000 rpm

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(Photo by Zoran Segina for LA Car)

Transmission type: Five speed manual Drive configuration: Front wheel drive Steering: Electric power-assisted rack and pinion Suspension Front: Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar Rear: Twist beam Wheels and tires: 16-inch premium painted aluminum with Hankook Optimo 195/50 R 16 H rated tires Brakes Front: Discs, power with ABS Rear: Drums, power with ABS Curb weight: 2578 pounds

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