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Fiesta will be rated at 29/40 city/highway

Ford has been hyping its Fiesta subcompact for quite some time now. The American auto giant has been previewing European versions of the vehicle across the country for the past year and has blitzed the airwaves with Fiesta "commercials" during American Idol.

Now with production having kicked off in Mexico, Ford is proud to announced that its latest vehicle is EPA certified for up to 29 mpg in the city and an impressive 40 mpg on the highway. That 40 mpg number is for a Fiesta equipped with the 6-speed, PowerShift semi-automatic transmission. Ford has touted the 40 mpg figure before as a preliminary estimate, but now the numbers are official.

For those that like to row their own gears, mileage isn't quite as impressive. Fiestas equipped with a manual transmission will only get 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

For comparison, the most efficient versions of the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris are rated at 28/35 (city/highway) and 28/36 respectively.

"The new Fiesta is yet another car in Ford's lineup that delivers class-leading fuel economy," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering. "From Super Duty to Fusion Hybrid and the new Mustang V-6, Ford is committed to fuel economy leadership with every new vehicle it introduces in all segments."

"We worked hard to deliver the class-leading fuel economy Ford is becoming synonymous for," said Fiesta chief nameplate engineer Steve Pintar. "To be the only vehicle in the segment to deliver 40 mpg is something we feel consumers will appreciate."

Pricing for the Fiesta starts at $13,320 for the base sedan and creeps all the way up to $18,190 for an SES hatchback equipped with the PowerShift transmission. All versions of the Fiesta are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 120 hp and generates 109 lb-ft of torque.

The current four-cylinder engine is expected to be replaced shortly with a three-cylinder EcoBoost engine which should further increase fuel economy both in the city and on the highway.

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RE: Geo Metro 20 years ago..
By porkpie on 5/17/2010 8:49:30 AM , Rating: 4
Goku, sorry but you have things in reverse. It's not that the manual transmission is somehow worse than your average manual, it's that this automatic transmission is considerably better than a standard automatic.

In the past, automatics always rated lower efficiency than manuals because they were heavier, and had a certain amount of energy-wasting slippage. This automatic, however, is essentially, however, a manual tranmission with shifting controlled by a computer. The slip is gone, and so is most of the additional weight. And since the computer determines when to shift, efficiency is higher.

Can you do square roots in your head as fast as a calculator? No? Then don't be surprised that a computer can pick optimum shift points better than you.

RE: Geo Metro 20 years ago..
By goku on 5/17/2010 6:53:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well firstly, the higher EPA fuel economy numbers in the semi-automatic over the manual have nothing to do with the semi-automatic transmission's computer. The reason being, these vehicles are tested under all the same conditions. The only reason it would get better fuel economy than the manual is because it is geared higher than the manual since the auto manufacturers have concluded that the only people who would buy a manual are buying one for performance and not economy. Assuming this semi-automatic transmission is as efficient as the manual transmission (no pumping losses or anything of the sort) then they should be dead even in fuel efficiency, assuming they're geared the same.

If there are any gains to be made with the semi-automatic transmission's computer, it will be in real world conditions like when you have inexperienced drivers leaving the car in a higher gear than necessary for the given load and speed. Since the efficiency losses of the automatic are eliminated with this more advanced transmission, for most people, they'll see improved fuel economy compared with them rowing their own gears since people at times can be absentminded, let alone aren't knowledgeable enough about their own car.

So while this semi-automatic transmission will benefit most people, there will still be a segment of the population that would be better served with a manual, such as performance enthusiasts who want to be in control and "hypermilers". One reason for rowing your own gears is that while the computer has a lot of sensors to read from and can calculate quickly, it can't predict or see what is up ahead like a person can.

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