Before heading out for the New York Auto Show. You'll recall which i had a quick preview drive a few months ago; this time around, I got to spend a full week with the car and I drove a 2014 Ford Fiesta with the 1. liter EcoBoost engine.
We now have EPA fuel economy figures, and they are generally pretty remarkable,. That's what's changed because the preview drive: 32 MPG city and 45 MPG highway, and 37 MPG combined. For comparison, the Mitsubishi Mirage is rated at 37 MPG city/44 MPG highway/40 MPG combined. (This opens up Mitsu's report that the Mirage is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid non-diesel car to debate.) We have a price: $995 to the SE EcoBoost package, which brings the cost of the car (including destination) to $17,240 for the sedan and $17,840 for the hatchback. As announced, there is no automatic version.
Though both the Fiesta as well as the Mirage have three-cylinder engines, the driving experience is extremely different. The EcoBoost engine's secret is its turbocharger: Give it the beans and the turbo boosts output to 123 horsepower, and it certainly pulls similar to a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine -- additionally it uses fuel accordingly. Despite incredibly tall gearing (the Fiesta is certain to get to 60 MPH in 2nd gear), it's very hard to stay out of the boost, and the engine is quite anemic at low RPMs.
It's a different experience compared to normally-aspirated Mirage, which doesn't give you a range of boost or non-boost; it's simply slow all the time -- though not as slow as the Fiesta at low RPMs. Credit goes to the Mirage's featherlight weight and slightly larger engine.
So, have you considered real-world fuel economy? That'd be mean, so here you go, even though i was going to get you to wait until the full review: 38.2 MPG, slightly superior to the EPA combined figure. That was a mix of roughly 50% in-town and 50% highway driving, and it's a couple of MPG below we're averaging in our long-term Mirage. However the Fiesta helped me work harder. I had to make a conscious effort to upshift early (and as smooth as the engine is, it's easy to forget and leave it in a lower gear) while keeping my foot out of it. The Mirage will give you no choice; you have to be aggressive with the pedal just to keep up with traffic, plus it still gets 40 MPG.
I'll follow-up with a full review and my assessment of the 1. EcoBoost engine in a few days -- meanwhile you should check out my first preview drive and my review of the 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.6.