Ford has long bragged that its 2011 Fiesta would chart new territory in terms of fuel economy, but nothing was official -- until now. After passing its subcompact off to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Fiesta has officially been rated at 40 mpg in highway driving cycles.
That figure, of course, assumes you've spent an extra $1070 and opted for Ford's new six-speed dual clutch PowerShift transmission. When mated to the Fiesta's 119-horsepower, 1.6-liter I-4, the dual-clutch allows the Fiesta to earn a 29/40 mpg (city/highway) rating from the EPA. Fiestas equipped with the five-speed manual achieve equally impressive figures, as the EPA rates the three-pedal car at 28/37 mpg (city/highway).
Regardless of the transmission, all 2011 Fiestas do utilize independent valve timing on both the intake and exhaust strokes, aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off, electric power steering pumps, and engine accessory management controls to help eke as much fuel efficiency from the 1.6-liter four-banger as possible.
For the time being, the dual-clutch Fiesta is the most fuel-efficient offering in its class, trumping the likes of the Toyota Yaris (29/36 mpg, manual transmission), the Honda Fit (28/35 mpg, automatic transmission), the Nissan Versa (28/34, 1.8L/CVT), and the Chevrolet Aveo (27/35 mpg, manual).
"We worked hard to deliver class-leading fuel economy," Steve Pintar, Fiesta's chief engineer, said in a statement. "To be the only vehicle in the segment to deliver 40 mpg is something we feel consumers will appreciate."
Buyers will be able to attain that vaulted 40-mpg EPA rating on any Fiesta model, but the least expensive route is to add the PowerShift gearbox to the Fiesta S sedan. Vehicles so equipped will start at $15,065 (including $750 in destination fees) when they roll into U.S. showrooms later this summer.