- - Friday, August 29, 2014

The 2014 Ford Fiesta is fun to drive and easy on the eyes too. Either in a sedan or hatchback, the interior is well-appointed with features that go beyond the subcompact genre.

New features include the ST trim level with a stronger engine, translating into a sportier drive. Also added — the turbocharged three-cylinder engine and a chance to opt for the MyFord Touch interface.

The Ford Fiesta’s competition includes the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio.

Available in two body styles and four trims, the Fiesta offers options for a four-door sedan and a four-door hatchback with S, SE or Titanium trim levels, as well as an ST sporty model in the hatchback only.

With the S trim, you get 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, power locks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and six speakers with a CD player. There are also the all-encompassing Ford Sync functions. On the hatchback, you also get a rear windshield wiper.

The SE offers additional goodies like keyless entry, power windows, exterior mirrors with side lamps, cruise control, a trip computer, 15-inch aluminum wheels, metallic interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a front center console with an armrest.

The SE Appearance package provides 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a rear spoiler on the sedan only, upgraded cloth seats, leather-wrapped shift knob and the MyFord Touch interface with a touchscreen and Sync Services. There is also the Super Fuel Economy package, which includes special tires, wheels and aerodynamics.

SE buyers across the board can choose the turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine or opt for the add-on Comfort package with additional heated front seats and side mirrors and automatic climate control.

With the Titanium trim level, you get everything standard mentioned in the SE Appearance and Comfort packages and chrome exterior trim with a black grille. There is also a rearview camera and parking sensors with leather upholstery inside and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

If you opt for the Fiesta ST hatchback, you get all the SE goodies with an edgier exterior, fog lamps, dual exhaust tips, six-speed manual transmission with sport-tuned suspension, and snappier steering and brakes. The ST interior includes automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry and the MyFord Touch interface with special cloth sport seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-trimmed pedals and unique floor mats.

There are several stand-alone options: With all but the S trim, you can opt for a sunroof or navigation system, and with the ST, you can include a molten orange paint job or gray 17-inch wheels with red brake calipers.

Under the hood, the 2014 Ford Fiesta offers a base 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. Five-speed manual transmission comes standard, but there is a six-speed automatic available that has a shift ability for increased efficiency of the engine.

With the SE trim, you get the turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine offering 123 horsepower and 125 pound feet of torque. The ST turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out 197 horsepower and 214 pound feet of torque.

Safety features include antilock brakes that are front disc, but with the non-ST trims, you get the rear drum and for the ST it’s four-wheel disc. There is also efficient traction and stability control, hill launch assist, an integrated blind-spot mirror, front side, side curtain and a driver knee airbag. With Sync features you can add a 911 Assist. With the Titanium model, you also will add a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

When all is said and done, the 2014 Ford Fiesta is one snazzy subcompact with hip, metallic accents; a cushy dash; and a sturdy feel all around. Also note the ambient lighting in the SE, Titanium and ST trims.

With 12.8 cubic feet on interior space, the sedan keeps up with the competition, but the hatchback offers a bit less space and the seats don’t completely fold down.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta is fun to drive around town, especially with the ST trim’s sportier seats. A real find in this class, the Fiesta makes no bones about getting on the highway with ease and getting you where you need to go with tight handling and smooth efficiency.

Should You Need to Know: The audio with the Sync system adds to the 2014 Ford Fiesta package and integrates cellphones, making available voice-prompted commands and emergency assist.

Miles Per Gallon: The Hatchback SE I drove provided 32 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway.

Cost: The 2014 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE price tag was $18,900 with a five-speed manual transmission.

For more auto tips and information follow Rita on Twitter @RitaCook13.

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