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Ford wrings mileage out of three-cylinder Fiesta

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 9, 2014 at 10:17 am •  Published: July 9, 2014

There's a new little secret under the hoods of some 2014 Ford Fiesta small cars.

Added as an optional selection for Fiesta buyers during the model year, a new, three-cylinder, gasoline engine with turbocharger is so fuel thrifty, it makes the Fiesta the top gasoline-powered 2014 sedan in fuel mileage in the United States.

In fact, the 2014 Fiesta four door with SE EcoBoost package has government fuel economy ratings as high as those for some diesel-powered sedans from BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. Specifically, the 2014 Fiesta sedan with the three-cylinder, EcoBoost engine is rated at 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 43 mpg on highways for a combined average of 36 mpg.

The numbers aren't farfetched. The test Fiesta sedan with the little engine averaged 34 mpg even when the driver wasn't driving to maximize mileage. This translated into a surprising travel range of 421 miles on one tank of gasoline at a cost of $45 at today's prices for regular unleaded.

The subcompact Fiesta, with attractive styling and a front end that looks like it's derived from an Aston Martin, is affordable to buy, too.

Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $17,400 for a front-wheel drive, five-seat, 2014 Fiesta SE sedan with the 123-horsepower, 1-liter, double overhead cam, turbocharged, EcoBoost engine. Only a five-speed manual transmission is offered with this engine, and buyers are limited to getting this engine on only one of the Fiesta's three trim levels — the mid-level SE.

This means that buyers can't get a factory-installed rearview camera because that's only offered on the top Fiesta trim level. They can't get bigger, flashier wheels, either, on the fuel-sipping Fiesta with EcoBoost engine. But they can add an optional moonroof and heated front seats and still wind up with a retail price, including destination charge, of just over $18,000.

Note that the fuel-savvy Fiesta sedan with the 1-liter powerplant has a starting retail price that's $2,475 more than the $14,925 starting retail price for a base, 2014 Fiesta sedan. The base 2014 Fiesta sedan comes with 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter, naturally aspirated four cylinder and five-speed, manual transmission that has a government rating of 28/36 mpg. Overall, the base Fiesta sedan has a fuel economy rating that's 16 percent lower than the smart-mileage Fiesta with the three cylinder.

Competitors include the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco sedan with 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter, naturally aspirated four cylinder and continuously variable transmission (CVT) has a starting retail price of $19,510. The Corolla LE Eco, with government fuel economy ratings of 30/42 mpg, comes standard with a backup camera and is larger in size than the Fiesta. Another competitor, the 2014 Nissan Versa sedan, has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $14,800 for a Versa S Plus that is rated at 31/40 mpg. This model comes with 109-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and a CVT.

While the Fiesta's three-cylinder engine is new to the United States, it has been used in Fords sold in Europe, where fuel prices are high.

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