2013 Ford Fiesta: Ideal First Green Car For New Drivers?

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2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

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If you're looking to buy your son or daughter a first car, the choice on offer might seem a little overwhelming at first.

With gas prices on the increase, you may be tempted to get them something with good gas mileage, without spending too much money to buy it.

The good news is, cars like the 2013 Ford Fiesta meet that criteria, and still manage to offer modern standards of safety, performance and roadholding that small cars never used to offer. We'll be featuring others soon, but first we'll kick off with the Fiesta.

You can read more on the 2013 Ford Fiesta here

First off, the Fiesta represents good value. Pricing starts at $13,200, and for that you get a Fiesta Sedan in S trim. The specification is fairly basic, but you get the choice of a five-speed manual transmission, or for another $1,095, the more efficient six-speed automatic.

You also get manual air conditioning, plenty of airbags, safety systems galore, and the all-important stability control to help keep the kids on the blacktop.

A 1.6-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine doesn't sound particularly advanced compared to some of the technology we've featured recently, but in the relatively light Fiesta body it's enough to return 29 mpg city, 38 highway and 33 combined on the EPA cycle.

Spend the extra on the automatic transmission and highway economy rises to 39 mpg, and for an extra $695 (or $395 on the Fiesta hatchback) you can have the SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package--but only if you spend $16,060 on an SE sedan with the auto transmission.

This makes the Fiesta a 40 mpg car on the highway, but you'd have to decide whether the extra cost is worth it for 2 mpg more on highway mileage alone--particularly as drivers of the manual transmission Fiesta have been averaging 36 mpg on the EPA's fueleconomy.gov site.

If your son or daughter did 10,000 miles per year--to college and back, for example, and trips away at the weekends--then the difference in fuel cost--at an average of $3.75 a gallon--would only be $50 per year between the regular car and the SFE. And that's  if 100 percent of their driving was at highway speeds.

Realistically, the difference in fuel efficiency and emissions is negligible, but whichever Fiesta you get it should prove to be a fun, safe and efficient first car.

And if you really want to put your kids in a green Fiesta, you may want to wait until Ford's advanced 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost hits U.S. shores.

We'll be looking at more first green car choices in the coming weeks, so keep checking back for more.


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Comments (6)
  1. Kids in college should get an used car these days...

  2. I agree with the sentiment - my own first car was a used car (a Fiesta, funnily enough), but some people will want the peace of mind of owning a brand new, warrantied vehicle. Not to mention something with modern standards of safety - something my own Fiesta didn't have!

  3. When you said, "First Green Car", you meant the color...right? Because that is the only thing I see green about that Ford Fiesta.

  4. I'm sure you can appreciate that with mid-to-high-30s MPG and a relatively small gasoline engine, it's still in the top few percent of economical and less-polluting vehicles on the road, and it's certainly one of a fairly limited choice of affordable green vehicles.

  5. Just a thought,regarding the Green Cleaner Electric cars, what is the fuel used to generate the electricity for these cars to plug into? Is this electricity generated from coal fired or natural gas power-plants, and if so what effect does this have on the total Cleaner Green environment package around the world, especially in countries where green houses gases are a problem that they are not willing to solve?

  6. @Shirley: Good question, complex answer, but in U.S. any car below about 40 mpg is worse on carbon than an electric car charged on even the dirtiest grids (ND and WV) in the nation. For other countries, it's less clearcut. See recent study from Union of Concerned Scientists, and 2007 joint study by Electric Power Research Institute + Natural Resources Defense Council.

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