New Fiesta makes small cars cool

Ford unveiled the next generation of its Fiesta subcompact, along with its high-performance ST counterpart, at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Wayne Cunningham/CNET

LOS ANGELES -- Leading up to the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford teased a couple of technologies for the 2014 Fiesta model, then brought out the car at the show. With an innovative new engine option and its own MyFord Touch system, the new Fiesta should be a high-tech fuel sipper.

Last week Ford handed out specifications for a new engine option in the 2014 Fiesta, a 1-liter three-cylinder Ecoboost already in use in Europe. The engine sounds ridiculously small by U.S. standards, but its turbo and direct injection help it achieve 123 horsepower, which should be more than enough to propel the little car.

At the same time, Ford expects it to get stellar fuel economy. The highway rating should come in well over 40 mpg, given the size of the engine. However, EPA estimates have not been released.

The 2014 Fiesta will also receive a new a MyFord Touch infotainment system specifically designed for the car. It uses a 6.5-inch LCD, smaller than that found in cars such as the Focus or C-Max. Ford redesigned the touch-screen interface and added refined the voice command system. Ford announced the new infotainment suite earlier this week.

One more thing
Ford also rolled out the ST version of the Fiesta, a high-performance version of the car. In ST guise, the Fiesta gets a larger, 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine, this one producing 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Similar to the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST will only come with a six-speed manual transmission. If the suspension tuning is anything like that of its bigger brother, it should be a precision handler with excellent response.

2014 Ford Fiesta
The Fiesta ST has a few cues to distinguish it from the standard version, such as the ST badge on the grille. Wayne Cunningham/CNET