Ford today announced that its new 2011 Fiesta that goes on sale early this summer has earned class-leading EPA ratings of 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway when fitted with the optional six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission. Those figures give the automaker's high-profile subcompact a five-mpg edge on the Honda Fit's freeway figure and put it four up on the Toyota Yaris. Even in base form with a standard five-speed manual gearbox, the 2011 Ford Fiesta boasts still-respectable 28/37-mpg EPA ratings.
While the new PowerShift dual-clutch automated transmission is one key to the Fiesta's mileage-maxing potential, Ford's new 1.6-liter Duratec engine with its Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) package deserves the lion's share of credit here. Developing a solid 120 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque in all Fiesta models, it's also fitted with a super-efficient accessory drive system and deceleration fuel shutoff that further optimizes economy without impacting real-world performance.
"We worked hard to deliver the class-leading fuel economy Ford is becoming synonymous for," said Steve Pintar, Fiesta chief nameplate engineer. "To be the only vehicle in the segment to deliver 40 mpg is something we feel consumers will appreciate." While Ford may be first to reach that economy benchmark, it's likely the Fiesta's bragging rights will be relatively short lived. GM is already on record as predicting its new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO that hits showrooms in the fall also will arrive with a 40-mpg EPA highway number.