Compact cars are poised to become a huge market segment for American automakers, if they can get the cars right. Ford got off to a good start with its Fiesta subcompact, but sales have slowed down substantially. Ford is hoping to rekindle interest in the 2013 model with a refreshed look and, more importantly, a tiny turbocharged fuel-sipping 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine.
A Small-But-Important Car First let me note that while these changes are technically for the European-market Fiesta, under the “One Ford” plan every market gets basically the same car. So what we see here for the Europeans is most likely what America, and other Ford markets are going to get.
The most obvious changes are on the outside, with what many people are describing as an“Aston Martin-like” front fascia that is an obvious evolution of Ford’s current design language. It certainly is a slicker look for the feisty Fiesta, a huge improvement if you ask me.
Ford has also sought to make the interior more comfortable, as well as adding technology like Active City Stop, a system designed to prevent low-speed collisions. It makes sense for Ford to launch the new Fiesta in Europe, where sales are much stronger than those in the U.S. The Fiesta is important to Ford’s global efforts.
Big Changes Under Da Hood
But the biggest change is under the hood. Ford will start offering the Fiesta with its fantastic three-cylinder, 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine. The engine comes in two flavors, sporting either 99 or 123 horsepower while delivering what Ford claims is best-in-class fuel economy. In the Focus, this engine delivers 49 mpg on the European cycle. In the smaller, lighter Fiesta, Ford might be able to break the 50 mpg mark, though Ford is so far staying tight-lipped in regards to emissions and fuel economy.
But if Ford could break 50 mpg in the Fiesta, it would give their subcompact a huge advantage over other cars in this segment. And lest I forget to mention, this tiny turbo engine has proven power potential, having powered a Formula Ford race car around the famed 13-mile Nurburgring North loop in just 7 minutes and 22 seconds. That’s faster than most Lamborghinis.
More details will be released at the “official” debut this Thursday at the European version of Ford’s “Go Further” product event. Looking forward to it!