Let’s get this out in the open: This is not the Ford (NYSE:F) Fiesta ST, the Euro-inspired hot hatch that Ford developed to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and global players like the Renault Sport-edition Clio. This Fiesta puts fuel efficiency first and does so with a new-to-the-U.S. 1.0 liter three-cylinder turbo, complete with Ford’s EcoBoost badging. That’s the same engine with a block that will fit in the overhead compartment of most commercial airplanes. To make it more confusing, the Fiesta ST also uses an EcoBoost-branded engine, but the larger 1.6 liter variation.
Travel over to Ford’s website and you won’t see the Fiesta 1.0 liter EcoBoost on Ford’s menu of Fiesta trims, which span from $14,100 for the S-trim sedan to $21,400 for the ST. The EcoBoost isn’t a standalone model, but rather a $995 option that can be equipped on models in the SE trim. With it comes a rear deck lid spoiler for the sedan, regenerative braking all around, and a five-speed manual.
With me at the test drive was Lisa Schoder, the former head of the ST brand portfolio at Ford. She told me that the Fiesta, as Ford’s entry-level offering, was a conquest car, one meant for appealing to first-time buyers. It’s also an option for those in larger vehicles who are looking to scale down. Lisa was joined by Aaron Miller and Vanessa Cook, both communications representatives for the company. Together, we took the Fiesta EcoBoost out to stretch its legs on a humid day outside of Boston (in case you’re already wondering, I can personally vouch for the Fiesta’s excellent AC system).
That being said, let’s start with the exterior. The new Fiesta is a great-looking car — the revamped Ford design language introduced on the 2013 Fusion translates well onto the smaller car, and in hatchback form (the model I drove), the car has an athletic poise that suits its stature well. The front fascia is lightly accented by a splitter-like assembly along the bottom that gives it a sporty, albeit slightly ambitious, appearance. While many in its class have a tendency of looking rather dated even when new (the Mitsubishi Mirage comes to mind), the Fiesta looks fresh and rejuvenated, just in time for its second U.S.-spec generation.