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Auto blogFri, 07 Jun 2013
The 2014 Ford Fiesta is in showrooms now with refreshed styling and new performance ST model, but it's what isn't yet available that should help the Fiesta stand out from the growing crowd of subcompacts. Aside from the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost model coming later this year, Ford recently told us that a new Fiesta SFE trim level is on the way that should put the updated Fiesta at the top of its class for fuel economy.
The new Fiesta SFE will hit an estimated 41 miles per gallon on the highway when equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission. The current listing on fueleconomy.gov shows the 2014 Fiesta getting up to 29 mpg city and 39 highway, but the SFE will get minor aero tuning and a recalibrated engine controller to help bump the highway figure past rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan Versa - both of which top out at 40-mpg highway. There's still no word as to when the small 1.0-liter EcoBoost will show in the US, but Ford has indicated that engine's fuel economy isn't expected to be released until October.
This really was a matter of when, rather than if. Volkswagen will apparently be the first manufacturer to phase out naturally aspirated engines in favor of turbocharging its full slate. VW is kind of responsible for ushering in this push towards small-displacement, turbocharged engines that's taken the industry by storm. When it dropped its direct-injection, 2.0-liter turbo in the 2005 GTI it demonstrated that strapping an iron long to an engine can enhance the powertrain as a whole. VW made fuel economy gains, while also giving a linear, non-laggy turbo experience that it has replicated, model-after-model, to this day.
Speaking with The Detroit News, Volkswagen's executive Vice President of Group Quality, Marc Trahan, told the paper that, "We only have one normally aspirated gas engine, and when we go to the next generation vehicle that it's in, it will be replaced. So three, four years maximum."
Really, it's hard to get teary-eyed about either of these engines going away. VW has access to smaller powerplants that could easily match the performance of the 2.5 five-cylinder and the 3.6 V6, while gobbling up less fuel and providing a better driving experience. What we are sad about is that a similar statement about the extinction of NA engines came from the Vice President of Powertrain Engineering at Ford, Joe Bakaj. We'd certainly get teary-eyed over a world without Ford's excellent 5.0-liter V8.
Put on your space suits and diving bell helmets, for it's time to step into a time capsule. The 50th anniversary of a historic model, like, say, the Porsche 911 this year, is certain to bring flights of nostalgia. This historical trip with the 1965 Mustang, though - preliminary hype for next year's anniversary, we know - is a swell museum exhibit for anyone who enjoys bygone days of the automobile.
Lee Iaccoca gave a speech to motoring journalists on April 1, 1964 at the New York World's Fair to introduce a sporty car for younger drivers. His opening line: "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to one of the proudest moments of our lives." The company was so excited by what it had made that the Mustang was Ford's first "International Press Introduction," being introduced to some 2,000 journos around the world on the same day in the US and 11 European cities. Even through its difficult points, no one at the time could have known how well the Mustang would acquit that pride.
After the intro, the press drove Mustangs 750 miles from New York to Dearborn, MI, reading press kits that touted features like the "vertical, three-sectional taillights/turn signals," "170" six-cylinder engine with 101 horsepower and the available Cruise-O-Matic transmission.