With the 2014 model comes a new MyFord Touch system with 6.5-inch touchscreen to set navigation, communication, and entertainment functions. Ford’s MyKey, which allows owners to configure maximum speed and audio volume limits, as well as mute the audio system until seat belts are fastened, will be available for the new Fiesta.

First Drive:  2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 litre EcoBoost ford first drives
2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Click image to enlarge

The European-spec test cars were all identically equipped Titanium models, the top trim level for the Fiesta, and were nicely equipped with comfortable and durable-feeling cloth seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield, keyless entry, alarm system, power rear windows, rain sensing wipers and an eight-speaker Sony Ice Pack audio system.

While it is too early for detailed option lists, photographs and the cars on display at the LA auto show would suggest that there is a 2014 Fiesta to fit every budget. If you want leather upholstery, two-tone interior, chrome accents, and automatic climate control, it will be available. Even subcompacts can be luxurious.

And fun to drive. While the Fiesta wasn’t designed to be a sport compact (see the sidebar, 2014 Fiesta ST, about that), it has been designed to be fun – and safe – to drive. We followed the Mulholland Highway through the mountainous region west of Santa Monica on our way to Camarillo for dynamic testing. This famous road twists and turns through the hills above Malibu and provides an excellent test of a vehicle’s agility.

The Fiesta’s practical front MacPherson strut and rear twist beam with coil spring suspension provides a comfortable ride and better than expected handling. The car cornered flat with little understeer, providing a pleasant and confident driving experience. The road was littered with rocks that day, including some large pieces that needed to be avoided. It was not unusual to round a corner and find a seven- or eight-inch rock in the middle of the lane. But with a weight of just 1,100 kg (2,427 lb.), well-balanced electric-power assisted steering and sure brakes, the Fiesta nimbly avoided the obstacles and stopped quickly when that was the only alternative.

First Drive:  2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 litre EcoBoost ford first drives First Drive:  2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 litre EcoBoost ford first drives First Drive:  2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 litre EcoBoost ford first drives
2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Click image to enlarge

Active safety features include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, four-wheel antilock brakes, tire pressure monitoring system and anti-theft engine immobilizer, while dual stage driver and front passenger airbags, driver knee airbag, side impact and side curtain airbags round out the passive side.

Ford anticipates that the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine would add about $1,000 to the cost of a Fiesta equipped with the base 1.6-litre engine. While hybrids would get better fuel economy, the additional cost is generally far greater. The 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost is a good choice for buyers looking to optimize both fuel economy and driving costs.

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