Ford Fiesta earns class-leading 40 mpg

The Ford Fiesta with the six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission has been EPA certified for 40 mpg highway and 29 mpg city delivering class-leading fuel economy

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
Josh P. Miller/CNET

The Fiesta will sell in two body styles, one of which is this practical five-door hatchback that features seating for four or a largish cargo area with the rear seats folded flat. Josh P. Miller/CNET

It has proven itself to be a fun little ride. It even sort of defeated a super car. Now, the upcoming 2011 Ford Fiesta earns bragging rights at the pump with an EPA-certified fuel economy of 40 mpg highway when equipped with Ford's PowerShift automatic transmission.

To achieve this level of efficiency, Ford started with the Fiesta's new 1.6-liter Duratec engine. We found that this 120-horsepower mill was no neck-snapper during our First Drive, but it does feature an assortment of fuel-saving technologies including variable camshaft timing, aggressive fuel shutoff on hard deceleration, and a more efficient engine accessory drive system for the air conditioner and alternator. Ford mated this engine to its PowerShift automatic transmission--which is Ford marketspeak for a dual-clutch automatic transmission similar to Volkswagen's DSG and Mitsubishi's SST. This gearbox features six forward gears and combines the mechanical efficiency of a manual transmission with the computer-controlled efficiency of an automatic.

In this configuration, the EPA estimates the Fiesta's fuel economy at 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. This places the Ford in a class-leading position, beating the Honda Fit by 5 highway mpg and the Toyota Yaris by 4 mpg. However, spec your 2011 Fiesta with the standard five-speed manual transmission and your efficiency estimates drop to 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway--which is still pretty good by our count.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta goes on sale in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles starting at $13,995 this summer.