2014 Ford Fiesta SE
2014 Ford Fiesta SE
2014 Ford Fiesta SE. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Tom Sedens

I spent a week driving Ford’s 2014 Fiesta, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that its name means “party” in Spanish. Why would they do that? There must be something behind this, and so I set out to determine what kind of party the Fiesta driving experience is.

Budgeting for the Fiesta is relatively painless – this trim level starts at a low $16,599.

Dragging this little party around is a 1.6L four-cylinder that puts out 120 hp at 6,350 rpm and a mere 112 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. All that jam makes its way through a five-speed manual transmission and on to the front wheels.

The Fiesta isn’t the kind of guest that will empty your fridge in the first hour – it’s rated at 7.4 L/100 km (32 mpg) in the city and 5.2 L/100 km (45 mpg) on the highway. I ended up with an average of 7.4 L/100 km (32 mpg) during my week, while spending most of my time in slow-moving commuting. Not bad at all!

The Fiesta’s exterior, while highly familiar, gets slightly refreshed from the outside. There’s a revised hood and front fascia including the new corporate grille and some fresh headlights. The back end also got spruced up with some vastly improved taillights, and I thought that overall, this small car is a decent-looking one. The appearance package adds handsome 16-inch painted aluminum wheels and fog lights.

When it comes to the Fiesta’s interior, it comes across as decidedly upmarket versus the competition – at the base price anyway. Materials include some soft-touch surfaces, interesting textures and some funky styling. All in all, it’s a pretty dark place to be but like any good party, the Fiesta lets you customize the interior lighting, allowing you to choose from a number of colours.

The seats are relatively comfortable fabric thrones, manually adjustable and heated. The steering wheel is decent, and has controls for cruise, media and hands-free functions, and there is a small driver information screen between the two large gauges.

The entertainment in this Fiesta is by way of a shrunken 6.5-inch MyFordTouch screen (versus the 8-incher in other Ford applications) in the centre stack – it handles your sound system, phone functions, navigation and vehicle settings.

2014 Ford Fiesta SE2014 Ford Fiesta SE2014 Ford Fiesta SE
2014 Ford Fiesta SE. Click image to enlarge

Those tightly grouped touchscreen buttons that many find irritating on the normal MyFordTouch screen are even tighter here, often making it difficult to tap the right one the first time. Add the slow response and the fact that the screen required me to stretch my arm to even reach it, and you’ve got a less than satisfying system on your hands.

Below the screen is a pod of hard buttons and a knob to control media functions; its layout is extremely good. Simplicity rules here, and it works very well. Underneath that, an automatic climate control system keeps you and your guests comfortable.

The Fiesta has remote keyless entry and uses a good ole’ key to fire it up. One of the options on my review car was the outside keypad, allowing you to punch in a combination and get into the car without a key. Cool little innovation that Ford has stuck with over the years, but my gosh, why does the Fiesta’s have to be so ugly? I didn’t enjoy looking at that black plastic afterthought-tumor stuck onto the door every time I walked up to the vehicle.

You’re probably waiting desperately to know how many guests are invited to this Fiesta. Well, technically speaking, five. Three guests could join you in the back seat, but only two are allowed to have legs. Well, adult-sized legs anyway. The centre console has an extended storage area (with a cupholder and 12V plug) that juts back toward the rear middle seat, making it all but impossible for someone to sit there comfortably. The two primary back seats are comfortable but small – head- and legroom are at a premium for my 5’10” size. There are two sets of LATCH anchors for kid’s seats. Our three kids were pretty cramped back there.

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