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April 1, 2014

Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Mid-cycle facelifts are mostly just that, facelifts. More often than not, carmakers slap on a new grille, bumpers, and rims, stand back, congratulate themselves, and call it a day; saving the best bits for the next-generation model. But that’s not the case over at Ford. Yes, the Fiesta has also undergone the ubiquitous nose lift late last year (a radical one at that), but more importantly, the main mechanical bit, the engine, has been completely stripped out; all for the better.

The Ford Fiesta, though stylish, fun-to-drive, and smart as it is, is never considered to be fuel-efficient. It may have arrived on the scene with a radical gearbox—a 6-speed dual clutch automatic, but its Achilles’s Heel is the 1.6-liter motor. No matter how you spin it, it’s not exactly a glowing example of a fuel economy. And I would know; I drove the Fiesta 1.6 Sport extensively, averaging just 8.62 km/L in the city. Heck, I even drove it around the Philippines in a contest with Jollibee two years back, and found out that refueling when gasoline stations are far apart is a pain. Thankfully, this motor’s finally bitten the dust and replacing it is an innovative turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder.

Ford is calling this the “small engine that can”. We’ve all heard that the engine block’s just the size of an A4-sized sheet of paper and that it has 25 percent fewer moving parts. Yes, all that scientific stuff’s good but what does that achieve in reality? In a nutshell: it’s awesome. It sounds cliché and all, but if there’s one thing this engine does is that it raises my confidence in three-cylinder engines. On paper, it produces 125 horsepower (same as the outgoing motor). Above all, it produces 18 Nm more torque (170 versus 152) over a broader range (1,400 to 4,500 rpm as opposed to peaking at just 4,050 rpm). This means the Fiesta EcoBoost feels livelier, sportier, and like the Philippines, more fun. Mash the throttle and it’ll send this hatchback flying to the tune of Barbra Streisand. And mind you, this engine’s also capable of overboost, pushing the torque figure to an even 200 Nm. Although it doesn’t dig you into your seats the way a Mustang would, it does feel like having a large engine under the hood, a two-liter Focus, for instance.

In-between mashing throttles though, this three-cylinder engine is remarkably quiet and smooth. Given the inherently unbalanced nature of a 3-cylinder engine, achieving this is a feat on its own. I could get all technical with you talking about the deliberately unbalanced counter-rotating flywheel and all, but what’s important is that this engine is as smooth as Anne Curtis’s underarms. There’s no uneven engine note or vibration whatsoever and it sings a wonderfully growly note. It’s an International Engine of the Year awardee, after all. For all intents and purposes, it feels like a four-cylinder engine, except of course in fuel economy. Ford reckons the EcoBoost engine should equate to a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy. In my four days with the Fiesta, that figure is way conservative: the EcoBoost actually does 35.33 percent better (13.33 km/L versus 8.62 km/L in traffic). On the highway, it runs 100 km/h at just 2,100 rpm resulting in 18.87 km/L—a figure that some say is rather pessimistic. A side note though, the EcoBoost requires a diet of 95-octane fuel.

Another weak point of the Fiesta is the roughness of the dual clutch transmission, especially when crawling in traffic. Sadly, this is still the case, but I’ve driven enough dual clutch-equipped Fords to know that the best way to eliminate shift shock is to be gentle with throttle inputs. That said, at least the Fiesta now rectifies the biggest omission from before: the lack of a manual shift override. The new Fiesta now has Select Shift which allows you to manually select a gear up or down. Mind you, there’s still no paddle shifter around, so you’ll need to move the gearlever to ‘S’ and then use the gearshift buttons to toggle up or down. This is rather counterintuitive, I know, but it’s better than having no manual override at all.

Aside from the new powertrain, the refreshed Fiesta now aligns itself to Ford’s new design direction. As everyone rightfully points out, it’s very Aston Martin-like and I’ve got no qualms about that. It’s more upscale and sportier. The new face also successfully hides the fact that the Fiesta’s gained a few millimeters upfront for improved crash and pedestrian safety. The hood’s also got a “power dome” built in. The rest of the exterior though is still the old Fiesta with the exception of a new alloy wheel design (which also surprisingly swaps the old Continental tires to Hankook ones) and new tail lamp clusters.

Inside, the Fiesta’s a mix of the new and familiar. The same basic cabin’s still the same but with a slew of welcome changes headlined by Ford SYNC. Replacing the old voice-activated system, Ford SYNC is far more intuitive and responsive when browsing through my 643-song iPod playlist or calling the wifey. Plus, this system can actually read out text messages if you choose it to. With all this tech though, I’d just have to nitpick this one time and point out that Ford SYNC is supposed to promote “having your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road”—safety first, after all. But the lack of steering wheel buttons means there’s a need for you to toggle through four-way directional key on the center console to navigate through SYNC’s options. Ford should have adopted the same system on the Explorer or even Focus that uses two four-directional controls on the steering wheel. Other than that, the rest of the interior’s pretty premium feeling with new high-gloss metallic inserts on the steering wheel, Piano Black accents on the center console, and even cross-stitched leather on the most supportive seats in the sub-compact class. Other convenience features include Ford Power Start keyless engine start/stop, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic climate control. And most importantly, the instrument panel now has a dimmer switch! In other words, it’s like having executive car features for just P 898,000.

The Fiesta has become Ford’s best-selling nameplate locally and regionally. Building on the success of the Fiesta through its sporty design, excellent safety, and smart technologies, the introduction of the EcoBoost engine adds class-leading fuel economy without any sort of performance compromise. Bar none, the Fiesta EcoBoost brings the most smiles in the sub-compact car class and can save you a lot in terms of ownership. It most certainly isn’t the perfect car out there—it’s still a bit clunky in stop-and-go traffic and it’s a bit cramped. However, if you’d want a fun little grocery getter for less than a million bucks; you should consider the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost in a heartbeat.

2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost
Ownership Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0
Year Introduced 2013
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact
The Basics
Body Type 5-door hatchback
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.0
Aspiration Turbo
Layout / # of Cylinders I3
BHP @ rpm 125 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 170 @ 1,400-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 6AT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 3,969
Width (mm) 1,722
Height (mm) 1,469
Wheelbase (mm) 2,489
Curb Weight (kg) 1,131
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Twist Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires 195/60R16
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric/Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. How many seconds does it take for it to reach 100km/h in a standstill?

    1. According to Ford official specs: 0-100 km/h in 9.4 seconds.

    2. Sounds too optimistic. Most 2-liter compacts (which make 30 more horsepower with only about 100 kg more weight) take even more time than that.

  2. We love our Fiesta EcoBoost. The torque delivery is linear yet powerful -- almost like a TDCi Focus.

    That 9.4-second to 100 figure feels realistic.

  3. This is the one i want but the wifey doesn't agree due to small trunk space :(

  4. Performance? Sure.
    Fuel efficiency? Fine.
    Affordability and value for money? ...

    There are other options out there that strike a better balance between these criteria. And that's not even counting Ford's notorious aftersales service.

    1. Yeah, not sure about the new engine's maintenance and durability.

    2. He forgot to mention that the EcoBoost features a cast-iron engine block to increase thermal efficiency (50% ignition warm-up) at the expense of additional weight.

    3. Yes I know about the cast iron block. Didn't want to get too technical with the story though.

  5. Cast iron is used so that the 3 cylinders can be made with thinner, stronger and more durable walls compared to an equivalent aluminum block plus the cylinder head is actually still aluminum.

  6. " smooth as Anne Curtis' underarms.." Whoa!

    Kahit ano pa, it's still a 1.0 engine. Tapos naka turbo charge pa. Mukhang questionable ang durability. Baka high maintenance din like the mentioned actress. Doubter here.

    1. By the way, this engine has won the "Engine of the Year" awards, 3 years in a row, yes it's been available in Europe for a few years now on their C-segment cars like the Focus and C-Max.

  7. Time will tell if the engine is reliable. So far, wala pa naman negative comments sa net. Still selling like hotcakes sa european market din

  8. Ford and Mazda are unreliable vehicles. Now you see them in the streets, a little less than a year later, pooffff it vanishes straight to the junkyard. Ford Mazda might sell more if they would just be smart and realistic to price their vehicle offerings at its actual market value, AT ONE HALF THEIR PRICE OFFERINGS.

  9. Ford Quezon Ave.
    Quezon Avenue cor. Apo St.
    Brgy. Sta. Teresita
    Quezon City, Metro Manila 1114

    Re: Compensation for Unutilized Days

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing this letter to demand payment from you to compensate for the days that my car (2011 Ford Fiesta PQS-165) has been unutilized.

    On 1 September 2014, my wife turned-over the unit to you, for the repair of its bumper and left side door/mirror. The unit was duly acknowledged by Mr. Revic Villalon, whom we had several communications (thru phone and email) to follow-up the status of the repair.

  10. On 29 September 2014, I called-up your office to follow-up again the status and I have learned that Mr. Villalon already resigned from your office and all his accountability were passed-on to a certain Ms. Jheng. My brother, Ryan Ayad, visited your office and spoke with Ms. Jheng, and committed that the car will be released on Friday, 3 October 2014 and my youngest brother, King Ayad, also called-up and spoke with Ms. Jheng, who informed that the car “might be released” on Friday, 3 October 2014. Having no assurance that the car will be released on the said date, I called-up again and spoke with Ms. Jheng. I was informed that she already ordered a “windshield” on Saturday, 27 September 2014, I was surprised that she ordered something which is not the supposed replacement of my car’s damages.

  11. On 20 October 2014, Mr. Rey Pahed, confirmed the following chronology of events, who failed to point-out what happened for the 38 days (just to obtain approval from MAA Insurance Co., an in-house insurer) from 30 August 2014 to 7 October 2014:

    Date Claims submitted 30 August 2014
    Date LOA arrived 7 October 2014
    Date Parts Ordered 7 October 2014
    Date Parts Arrived 14 October 2014
    Date Unit Lined-Up for Repair 8 October 2014
    Date Target to Finish 22 October 2014
    Date to Release 24 October 2014

    On 21 October 2014, after several communications (over phone and email) I received the following email from Ms. Leila of Ford Group Philippines, Customer Relationship Centre:

  12. “Dear Mr. Ayad,

    Good morning!

    We regret to inform you that the request for compensation or payment for inconvenience and other damages that may have been imposed during the restoration of your Ford Fiesta that were involved in a collision was denied by Ford Quezon Avenue’s Management due to the following reasons:
    1. Insurance Claims – length of time for the insurance for Letter of Approval is an Insurance Company policy that Ford Quezon Avenue has no control over it except to follow up. Please be advised that even though it is an in-house insurance, it is a different company, run by different Management and different Policy.

    2. Parts Arrival – Parts availability were hampered by the Port congestion that was not in their control.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that as per Ford Quezon Avenue they will do their best to complete the restoration of your Ford Fiesta this coming Friday, October 24, 2014 or earlier.

    I will also assist you in checking the status of repair until your vehicle is released.

    Thank you and we hope for your understanding.”

  13. I am really not convinced by these reasons, I keep on insisting Ford Quezon Avenue to disclose what happened from 1 September 2014 to 7 October 2014, because the real reasons for the delay can be revealed during this period. Further, I emphasized that MAA is an in-house insurance company of Ford Quezon Avenue and I had some claims in the past and those did not take them thirty-eight (38) days to approve.

    I sent a confirmation letter to MAA Insurance Company, to validate your claim that the real cause of the delay was due to their delayed approval/LOA, which they immediately responded, on 28 October 2014, as follows (email from Mr. Jerome L. Astorga, Claims Manager of MAA):

  14. “Hi Ludovico,

    I received this letter forwarded by my staff coming from you.

    We would like to first and foremost apologize for the undue delay you experienced however, we would like to assure you that on our end we were able to process the claim as soon as the documents was received and well within our service standards.

    I would like to run through the events as they have happened on our end.

    Your incident happened on Aug. 18, 2014.

    We received the first set of documents last Sept. 8, 2014, where we requested the estimate immediately since they are had a delay in reporting the claim to us.

    They replied with the additional documents, Photos, and Estimate which we received only on October 2, 2014, almost a month after our request.

    We already sensed the urgency but the estimate had to channel to me for approval which was given to me Monday October 6, 2014 in the afternoon after negotiation with the Dealership.

    We had the letter of authority sent and given on October 7, 2014, within our Service Level Standards of 3-5 working days since October 4-5, 2014 is a Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

    It is unfortunate that this incident happened but as you see in the timeline we are not to blame for the delay since we processed the claim upon receipt of the documents necessary for it.

    It is also vital that you be informed that the estimate was made on August 27, 2014 by REVIC VILLALON but only sent to our office on October 2, 2014. This is clearly important since they had this estimate that they could have forwarded to our office early on or since the initial report last September 8, 2014.

    We have the documents with us should you need a copy please send us a request letter and we will be happy to send you a copy.

    I hope have sufficiently answered your query. Please feel free to call us should you need anything else.”

  15. This email disproves your claim that the real reason of the delay was caused by the insurance company. On the contrary, it proves my claim that you, Ms. Jheng, acted on this only after our initial conversation on 29 September 2014. Had she known that there were documents submitted to MAA before this date, she should not have ordered something (windshield) which not the supposed replacement of my car’s damaged parts. Further, this is a strong and valid confirmation that the reason for the delay was caused by you, Ford Quezon Avenue.

    It has been nearly two (2) months since my wife turned-over the unit along with all necessary documents to you, and it should have been repaired and released a week after. Therefore, I believe that it is right and just to demand payment from you, for the inconvenience and distress brought about by the incident.

  16. Uly, I'd like to know your thoughts on the transmission issues with the Fiesta. I'm not talking about the jerkiness of the DCT, but rather the TCM/PCM failures as well as the need to replace the clutch packs so early.

    Quite a number of Fiesta owners have experienced the problem (with varying degrees of having it solved by their respective dealers) and this is a serious point of concern for me.

    The Fiesta is a great car with a great engine, lovely handling, and complete features. But its reliability is a big concern that your review does not cover.

    Would you honestly still recommend the Fiesta for someone looking for a great drive under 1M, despite its transmission issues?

    Thanks. -GGG

    1. Hi GGG,

      Yes, I've heard about the DCT issues, but I cannot verify them 100 percent whether it affects all Fiesta models or those of a particular model year.

      I'm sure though that all Fords go through rigorous product testing worldwide, and this includes the durability of the dual clutch transmission.

    2. My thoughts too - that the DCT would've gone under rigorous testing before getting launched.

      But there are about 3 dozen individual cases of Fiesta issues over at the FCP forums alone. At first I was a skeptic of this, but apparently it's a very real concern.

      Equally alarming is that some of the owners who already replaced their TCMs still had recurring failure that required further replacement. Once out of warranty, dealers are more than eager to charge them north of 70k to have it replaced, with no guarantee that the problem won't recur in the near future.

    3. I believe most of Fiesta Powershift models affected were the early models, there was a software updates to fix these. I beleive some of those who had problems had their cars serviced outside the casa, so they never got the software updates.
      New Fiestas shoud already have the latest software in them.

  17. Hi, im going to get a fiesta ecoboost this year/ my only concern is the DCT/ do they still have the issue with the dct and tcm? do this 2015 model already equipped with updated transmission that doesnt have these reliabilty concerns ? i really need your advise :) thanks

  18. Can somebody help me, I'm getting 5km/l on my fofi 2015... i am not sure if it is due to traffic or my driving habit. I usually travel from cubao to ortigas only.

    1. Remember fiesta's trip meter is using l/100km :)


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