Not too long ago, if you bought a small car, you settled for a very basic vehicle. After all, if you were buying small, you were assumed to be, shall we say, cost-conscious. If you had more money, you’d buy a bigger, more luxurious car, right?

Not necessarily. Many people — especially in Canada — simply prefer a small car, and a significant number of them also want it to be well-equipped. In fact, some want it to be loaded. Voila! A whole new market segment!

For instance, at a starting price of $23,849 including freight/PDI, you can buy a diminutive, subcompact 2016 Ford Fiesta “Titanium” hatchback (a sedan is also available) with a six-speed automatic transmission, heated seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, the new SYNC3 touchscreen interface, Sony audio, satellite radio, leather upholstery, rear-view camera, push-button start, heatable mirrors with integrated blind spot mirror (although not a camera-based system), keyless push-button start, capless fuel filler and more.

Our tester added a $1,200 power moonroof and an $800 navigation system that increased the price to $26,049 plus taxes. Heck, you could buy a very nice mid-size car for that kind of money! But then you’d be in a different market segment: bigger, less maneuverable, less fuel-efficient, arguably less fun to drive.

No, for buyers in this segment, cars like the Fiesta Titanium have it all, and less.

Under the hood of this front-wheel drive, four-door hatch is the standard 1.6 L four-cylinder engine with twin-independent variable valve timing making 120 hp at 6,350 rpm and 112 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm (not to be confused with the turbocharged “EcoBoost” version of this engine found in the Fiesta ST). The six-speed, twin-clutch “PowerShift” automatic transmission is a $1,250 upsell from the standard five-speed manual.

Fuel consumption is rated at a frugal 8.7/6.4/7.6 L/100km city/highway/combined. In combination with the low fuel consumption, a 46.9 L fuel tank (generous for a subcompact) gives you very good range. A bonus for those concerned about emissions is that this engine enables the Fiesta to be rated as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV), which is as good as it gets regarding tailpipe and evaporative emissions from gasoline-powered cars.

Brakes are front disc, rear drums; suspension is front independent coil and rear twist beam with coil springs (kind of old school, actually, but the results have proven effective in smaller cars).

The Sriracha Option: 2015 Ford Fiesta ST

Our tester’s two-tone Medium Light Stone interior contrasted nicely with the striking Kona Blue exterior and may add to a feeling of spaciousness within (black upholstery is optional). Regardless, it’s surprising how much room is in a Fiesta, especially for front seat occupants, and how comfortable the seats are once the driver settles in behind the wheel. The front seat passenger likewise is treated to lots of leg and shoulder room (and headroom, too, despite the presence of the moonroof). Door panels and dashboard are all trimmed with soft-touch materials, headlights activate automatically and interior illumination of switches, door handles and power window controls make them easy to find and use, including the helpfully illuminated drink holders in the center console.

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