2014 Ford Fiesta SFE Three-Cylinder: Real-World Fuel Economy

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Small engines and small cars go hand in hand, but the available direct-injected turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder in the 2014 Ford Fiesta SFE is positively miniscule, dropping 0.6 liters displacement versus the standard four-cylinder engine. Its small size has the fuel economy ratings to match with EPA-rated 31/43/36 mpg city/highway/combined compared to the 1.6-liter SFE's 28/38/32 mpg.

Related: 2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost SFE: Quick Drive

The EPA ratings are impressive for a non-hybrid, but ratings don't mean much if they can't be duplicated on real roads. Cars.com's observed fuel economy over a few weeks of testing was right on par or higher than the Fiesta SFE 1.0-liter EcoBoost's ratings.

By Joe Bruzek | September 9, 2014 | Comments (13)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

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Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

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Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (21)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

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To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

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Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

2014 Ford Fiesta ST Photo Gallery

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The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST finished third in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "Everything about the ST is feisty and full of energy," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the Fiesta ST up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

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Shoppers may face legitimate sticker shock when they're shopping for a new car. TV and radio advertisements may lead them to believe that new cars all get at least 35 mpg for less than $15,000, but the price of entry for even a modestly equipped new car is well above that.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

That's why we've taken the cars with the lowest sticker prices and added a dose of reality. A vast majority of buyers never consider buying a car with a manual transmission (often the standard equipment on inexpensive new cars), so right out of the gate the car they're shopping for costs significantly more than they thought it would. Opting for an automatic transmission can cost $1,000 or more.

By David Thomas | July 21, 2014 | Comments (8)

Recall Alert: 2014 Ford Fiesta

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Vehicles Affected: About 175 model-year 2014 Ford Fiesta subcompact cars manufactured between Oct. 25, 2013, and Feb. 27, 2014, at the Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico

The Problem: Fuel tanks may be missing an adhesive layer, without which a tank could leak fuel from a seam; a fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could cause a fire. Ford said no accidents, injuries or fires have resulted from this problem.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel tank for free.

What Owners Should Do: The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | July 9, 2014 | Comments (32)

Reduced MPG in Six Ford Models Matches Cars.com's Results

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If Cars.com editors' observed mileage is any indication, more drivers should see real-world fuel economy figures that match the new EPA numbers on six Ford models.

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

Ford announced June 12 that it would reduce EPA mileage on six vehicles – the 2013-2014 C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2014 Fiesta – because of an error in EPA mileage tests. The revisions, which downgrade EPA combined mileage as much as 7 mpg on the hybrids, will appear on new-car window stickers this week.

We've tracked mileage in four of those six cars, and our results fall a lot closer to the revised numbers than what they used to be. We haven't spent enough time behind the wheel of the Fusion Energi or MKZ Hybrid to report on mileage yet, but here are the rest:

By Kelsey Mays | June 16, 2014 | Comments (8)

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

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Ford announced today that it is revising fuel economy ratings for six models and compensating owners of about 200,000 vehicles after internal testing revealed errors in its evaluation process. Vehicles affected include the 2013-14 C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids, and the gas-only 2014 Fiesta; the 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is also affected. Ford said it notified the EPA after learning of the discrepancy, and it worked with the agency to retest the vehicles and determine the correct ratings. The automaker said it has reviewed its entire lineup to determine which models required further testing, and that no further adjustments are planned.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

The testing error was specific to a component of engine-power testing called Total Road Load Horsepower, a measure of resistance. Ford said it has validated the revised TRLHP for affected vehicles through physical testing and put checks and balances in place for future testing. The automaker also said it has notified its dealers and new fuel economy labels will be available in about six days; vehicles will continue to be sold in the interim. Customers can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

Ford said it will pay owners of the affected vehicles the difference in estimated fuel costs between the old and revised ratings; lease customers will be reimbursed at a lesser rate than owners. The specific differences in fuel economy and the amount to be paid in reimbursement to owners, are as follows:

By Matt Schmitz | June 12, 2014 | Comments (6)

Cars.com Hits the Racetrack

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Forget kid in a candy store; these "kids" got to spend the day someplace much sweeter: the racetrack. The Cars.com Editorial team took its annual pilgrimage to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for the Midwest Automotive Media Association's spring rally.

More Photo Galleries

With two days of track, street and off-road driving and nearly 100 cars available for testing, there were plenty of favorites from the event. Continue below for a gallery of the highlights.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 9, 2014 | Comments (1)

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