2014 Ford Fiesta SFE Three-Cylinder: Real-World Fuel Economy


Small engines and small cars go hand in hand, but the available direct-injected turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder in the 2014 Ford Fiesta SFE is positively miniscule, dropping 0.6 liters displacement versus the standard four-cylinder engine. Its small size has the fuel economy ratings to match with EPA-rated 31/43/36 mpg city/highway/combined compared to the 1.6-liter SFE’s 28/38/32 mpg.

Related: 2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost SFE: Quick Drive

The EPA ratings are impressive for a non-hybrid, but ratings don’t mean much if they can’t be duplicated on real roads.’s observed fuel economy over a few weeks of testing was right on par or higher than the Fiesta SFE 1.0-liter EcoBoost’s ratings.

Buyers can opt for the $995 EcoBoost three-cylinder in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Something you can’t opt for is an automatic transmission as the 1.0-liter only pairs with a five-speed manual transmission. Our hatchback test car with optional equipment, including the engine, Comfort Package with heated seats and auto climate control plus Ruby Red paint totaled $18,585 with destination charge.

MMS ID 62350 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration

That may seem high for a subcompact hatchback, but so was the fuel economy. One editor observed 47.8 mpg according to the onboard trip computer after a 400-mile trip. The trip’s breakdown of 60 percent interstate, 25 percent state and county highway, and 15 percent city driving allowed an average speed of 46 mph. Another editor averaged around 50 mpg after resetting the trip computer on a 20-mile drive and even saw high 50s mpg, though notes the route was seemingly downhill most of the way.

Once in traffic, observed mileage stayed around the EPA city rating of 31 mpg with a few dips below in stoplight-to-stoplight Chicago rush-hour traffic. A 23-mile round-trip drive deep inside the neighborhoods of Chicago netted mileage of 27.2 mpg while averaging 14 mph, a brutal drive returning fairly respectable numbers for a non-hybrid in the mostly 1st- and 2nd-gear commute.

Like the ratings suggest, highway driving is the most rewarding style for the Fiesta. It’s almost diesel-like in how the fuel economy jumps as soon as speeds start climbing. photos by Evan Sears

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Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: Email Joe Bruzek

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