Home2012 Los Angeles Auto Show
Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 LA Auto Show
Ford Fiesta
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What is it? Ford freshens its smallest car for 2014, with interior and exterior updates and two new engines.

What’s new or notable? The big news is the availability of two Ecoboost turbocharged engines at either end of the spectrum. Efficiency-minded buyers may be interested in the optional 123-hp, 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, the smallest displacement automotive engine currently offered in the United States. Ford is claiming that it will have the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid, non-diesel car. The 1.0-liter engine launches with a manual transmission, but an automatic will be offered down the road.

At the other extreme, the Fiesta ST gets the full hot-hatch treatment with a 197-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four. Sporting upgrades included bigger wheels and tires, along with steering and suspension enhancements. Inside, Recaro sports seats are available.

Changes are less notable for the majority of Fiestas. There’s a new grille, spreading the Ford family styling cues, and the availability of the complicated MyFord Touch control system.

CR’s take: The Fiesta is a fun-to-drive and relatively refined small car, although options quickly drive up the price. For all of the news about engines, most Fiestas will continue to have a carryover 1.6-liter four-cylinder with lackluster performance but impressive fuel economy.

Making the 1.0-liter three-cylinder available initially with only a manual tranny will help the tiny engine’s performance and fuel economy, but will limit its appeal. Ford claims to have done a lot of work to make the three-cylinder refined; we’ll see how they did when we drive one. The Fiesta ST looks like a lot of fun to drive, but since the basic Fiesta tends to be on the expensive side anyway, we expect its price to crowd that of the larger, more powerful Focus ST.

When will it be available? Early 2013.

Consumer Reports New cars: A to Z

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