It’s a strange phenomena in the automotive business, but the least expensive vehicles in their lines seem to draw the most heated competition across the board.
In the big ticket car selling game, it makes sense. While some makes and models go to war around the world, the affordable rides invite everyone to play. The Ford and Chevy wars will stand as long as Dearborn and Troy exist outside Detroit. BMW and Mercedes-Benz will always keep a wary eye on each other in Europe, while refusing to Lexus play in their games.
However, whether they’re making cars in U.S., Europe, Japan or Korea, most companies want that small, low price choice to offer younger drivers and those on a budget a chance to buy new and get to know the product line. In the end, the long term thinking is, “…Get them to drive one young, they might drive them for the rest of their lives.”
We end up with a series of small, fuel efficient hatchbacks and sedans under $20,000 with a mix of features, statistics and capabilities. They’re all on display here at NYIAS 2014. From the Toyota Yaris to the Nissan Versa, the Hyundai Accent to the Kia Rio, major international automakers build serviceable, cheap cars hoping the buyer will drive, enjoy and trade up the line next time around.
After putting the through its paces during a week long road-test, I still defy an average driver to pick out the difference between the Fiesta EcoBoost we’re talking about here and any little, traditional four cylinder car.
The one way speed of the I found the pep of EcoBoost engine adequate, but you have to stand on it a bit to pass in freeway conditions. During a part of the road test, I visited another automotive journalist and was able to keep up with his $65,000 Mercedes.
Depending on your chosen trim level, the Fiesta can include the very effective Ford Sync in dash system — an all-around infotainment system elevating the car to the top of the entry level feature listings.
By using more high tech materials and a compact design for the engine, Ford saved space and weight. The EcoBoost turbocharger also reduces poundage, helping the Fiesta score a projected average mileage of 47 mpg from a gasoline driven car. That number has been out there for a while, but it remains spectacular. Those mileage numbers make this baby Ford the best domestic choice amongst the entry level cars.
Priced around $15,500, the 2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost not only lets drivers own a considerable bit of mobile kit for a modest price, it still offers a strong alternative to a hybrid likely to cost more than $10,000 more.