Ford Lowers MPG Rating for 6 Models, Compensates Owners

New MPG ratings announced.

If you do not think that the auto industry is responsive to customer feedback, think again. Last week, the Ford Motor Company announced that it had lowered the fuel economy ratings for select 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles. The move followed complaints from customers and a subsequent investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ford C-MAX Hybrid

Six Models Affected

The six affected models include hybrid, plug-in hybrid and one gasoline-powered model, the Ford Fiesta. In only one example was there no change in combined city and highway driving, yet for one vehicle the discrepancy came in at 8 mpg on the highway (Lincoln MKZ Hybrid).

The automaker said that through internal testing that it had identified an error that resulted in wrong data being submitted to the EPA. The EPA was notified and the automaker cooperated with the federal agency to issue new ratings.

“Ford is absolutely committed to delivering top fuel economy and accurate information,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “We apologize to our customers and will provide goodwill payments to affected owners. We also are taking steps to improve our processes and prevent issues like this from happening again.”

2013 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid

Goodwill Payments Forthcoming

Those goodwill payments will cover six models, but not for every vehicle. For example, the fuel economy ratings for the 2014 Ford Fiesta equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and paired with a manual transmission were unchanged. Thus, no payment will be made to those customers.

Ford will be sending checks ranging from $125 to as much as $1,050, depending on the model. The smaller amount is for people that leased a Ford Fiesta with a three-cylinder engine and the manual transmission. The larger payment goes to owners of the 2013 and 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. That hybrid suffered the most significant hit as its combined fuel economy dropped by 45 mpg to 38 mpg following new testing.

Other affected models include the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid and the Ford Fusion Energi. Ford’s Energi line denotes plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) instead of standard hybrid.

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Internal MPG Testing Conducted

The Ford Motor Company reviewed its entire line up of Ford brand and Lincoln brand vehicles besides the affected models. In a related press release, Ford noted that its testing involves a number of factors. The error was found with “the Total Road Load Horsepower or TRLHP. That represents the “vehicle­ specific resistance level used in vehicle dynamometer testing that determines fuel economy ratings.”

The company said that “TRLHP is established through engineering models that are validated through vehicle testing, including physical track tests referred to as coastdown testing.”

Ford insisted that using such engineering models is common in the industry and are also consistent with EPA regulations. The error was attributed to a process change which the company has since corrected.

The goodwill payments will cover the cost difference customers pay when filling up at the pump. The lease payments will come in for less as customers will keep those vehicles for a shorter period of time. For purchase customers the payment is based on approximately five years of ownership.

Auto Industry Reacts

Ford is not the only automaker forced to recalculate its fuel economy ratings. Hyundai and Kia had to make adjustments to fleet figures in 2013 when several models failed to meet its own fuel projections. Like Ford, the two Korean manufacturers also reimbursed vehicle owners.

Although Ford responded to customer complaints and an EPA investigation, a broader look at the industry reveals that all automakers have been on their toes these past few years.

Starting with Toyota’s massive recalls a few years back and extending through GM’s even larger recalls this year, automakers are quick to identify problems and offer resolutions. They have to too as covering up problems can lead to lawsuits, government fines and a customer base that may move on if they lose trust.

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Green Machine: 2014 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback

Smallest Ford is big on value and fun.

===MPG figures updated June 12, 2014 per the Ford Motor Company.===

2014 Ford Fiesta
A big, open grille provides the 2014 Ford Fiesta with a fresh face.

In 2008, before the US economy nosedived and the American car manufacturing industry nearly folded, the Ford Motor Company announced its One Ford plan. That plan offered a blueprint for sustainability that would completely shift the way that Ford conducted its business.

One Ford had several components including Ford selling most of its vehicles across more markets, including in the United States, which at that time had a paucity of fuel-efficient models to choose from. Six vehicles were promised including the Ford Fiesta, a subcompact model sold briefly stateside from 1978 to 1980, but kept out of the US market for the ensuing three decades.

Demand just wasn’t strong enough to support two small cars with the compact Ford Escort holding sway before giving way to the Focus. American drivers long preferred larger vehicles until fuel prices began to move above $2 per gallon and then stayed above $3 per gallon. Demand soon shifted to smaller cars and Fiesta production shifted to Mexico to meet US demand.

2014 Ford Fiesta
Rear seat access is tight, but manageable, especially if you are young.

2014 Ford Fiesta

The front-wheel drive Fiesta line was reintroduced for 2011 and is now in its fourth model year. It is sold in sedan (S: $14,100) and hatchback (S: $14,600) body styles; the ST hatchback ($21,400) is new for 2014. For 2014, Ford refreshed the Fiesta, giving it a new face and updating its technologies. Both the sedan and hatchback are sold in SE ($15,580, sedan; $16,080; hatchback) and Titanium ($18,300, sedan; $18,800 hatchback) trim levels.

The press fleet loaner vehicle was a 2014 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback. It was finished in Green Envy Metallic Tricoat, a $595 overlay that was hard to miss. It evoked the expected love/hate responses as I went about my driving business with friends and strangers alike sharing their opinions.

After sharing a photo on Facebook, my California friend Pam Stuc said, I like it; its happy and vibrant!!! Makes me wanna dance! Meanwhile, one neighbor expressed her disapproval by offering up one Blech! the moment she laid eyes on it. As for me, I appreciated the safety green look that stood out on one particularly gray day. Nuff said.

2014 Ford Fiesta.
Standard rear storage space measures 14.9 cubic feet.

Competitive Subcompact Segment

The Fiesta has a lot of competition with most every manufacturer having a model in its segment. Chevrolet has the Sonic, Toyota the Yaris, Honda has its Fit, and Nissan has the Versa sedan and Versa hatchback, two very different models. The Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Mazda2, and Mitsubishi Mirage also compete. Each model is front-wheel drive, powered by four-cylinder engines, and EPA rated in the vicinity of 38 mpg. Pricing generally starts out at below $15,000 or less than half the cost of the average new car.

Do you want a bargain? Then look no further. Do you want comfort? You may be surprised what this segment offers.

Indeed, for those wanting to pay for it, a number of amenities not common to the subcompact class are available with the Fiesta. All models come with a basic SYNC infotainment system along with an upgraded voice command; a Bluetooth-enabled system is available. You can also opt for leather-trimmed seats, ambient lighting with seven colors, heated side mirrors, LED parking lights, and a moon roof.

2014 Ford Fiesta
The Fiestas instrument panel and center stack is uncluttered.

Comfort and Convenience

As equipped, the loaner model was priced at $20,325, including $3,480 worth of options. Besides the paint upgrade the Fiesta came with a power shift automatic transmission ($1,095), a navigation system ($795) and a $995 equipment group package that brought in beautiful 16-inch painted aluminum wheels and SYNC with MyFord Touch.

2014 Ford Fiesta
Comfortable seats make for a happy driver.
As far as cabins go, you can fit as many as five people inside, but four is the maximum for vehicle comfort. Access to the hatchbacks rear seat is tight with its sloping hood requiring passengers to shift out side ways while ducking the head. Up front, access and egress is easy, with a pair of bucket seats offering good support. Overall, the comments I received from my family is that the seats were comfortable including the rear split folding seat. Never underestimate the importance of seating comfort when shopping for a new car.

Buy a small, inexpensive car and you shouldn’t expect the trappings found in most larger vehicles. For the Ford Fiesta that thinking holds true, except when it isn’t true.

Light, Bright Interior

The instrument panel is simple with a pair of analog displays flanking a digital read out for the transmission selector and mileage. The interior is laid out with soft touch materials including plastics and bright work trim, with cloth seats standard. The Fiesta SE has secondary and cruise controls on the steering column and features a small color display on top of the dashboard above the center stack.

Ford had young buyers in mind with the Fiesta as evidenced with the blue ring surrounding the inside of the front cup holders. It serves a dual purpose: it looks cool and it makes finding your drinks in the dark much easier. You can adjust it to six other colors too, what changes the instrument panel lighting and the rear seat center lighting.

Ford Fiesta: Little Size, Big Value

View manufacturer details and pricing

On the Road

On the road, the Ford Fiesta moves with confidence. Yes, the engine is raspy, especially when it is cold, while the six-speed automatic transmission shifted smoothly with very little hesitation noted. Having driven numerous small cars particularly over the past year my expectations include that engine noise intrusion is part of the ownership experience and transmissions are hit or miss: some come equipped with wonky continuously variable transmissions, while an assortment of automatics are also offered.

Electric power steering is the name of the game today, having largely replaced hydraulic steering. The Fiestas EPS has been engineered to improve the subcompacts overall steering feel, while providing very good handling and maneuvering.

Another feature that Ford adds to the Fiesta is torque vectoring control (TVC), what minimizes understeer when cornering. TVC applies braking to the inside wheel and sends more torque to the outside wheel for improved grip. It is a feature that the average driver might not appreciate as much as the Fiesta ST lap-running owner.

Having owned my share of small cars over the past three plus decades, I can tell you that cars like the Fiesta are light years ahead of what was available even a decade ago. Notably, Ford has made big strides by making smaller vehicles that are not only desirable, but fun.

2014 Ford Fiesta
It takes some effort to make the rear seats fold down.

Storage and Final Thoughts

There is nearly 15 cubic feet of rear storage area in the hatchback, expandable to 25.4 cubic feet behind the first row seats. The second row, however, only folds down if the first row seats are moved forward. This isn’t a problem for the average driver, but if you are taller and need the legroom, moving your seat up may be one compromise that you’re just not willing to make.

No car is perfect, but the Ford Fiesta offers a welcome departure from what consumers used to settle for when shopping Ford. And with the Fiesta ST also drawing attention to the model line consumer interest also may spread to the other models.

2014 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback

  • Sticker price from $16,050
  • Price as tested: $20,325
  • Seats 5 occupants
  • 1.6-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine
  • 120 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
  • 112 foot-pounds of torque @ 5,000 rpm
  • 3.10 inches bore by 3.20 inches stroke
  • Engine compression ratio: 11.0-to-1
  • 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Wheelbase: 98 inches
  • Length: 159.7 inches
  • Width: 67.8 inches
  • Height: 58.1 inches
  • Passenger volume: 85.1 cubic feet
  • Storage volume: 14.9 cubic feet
  • Towing capacity: Not recommended
  • EPA: 27 mpg city, 37 mpg highway
  • Regular grade gasoline
  • Fuel tank: 12.4 gallons
  • Curb weight: From 2,575 pounds
  • Vehicle assembly: Cuautitian Izcalli, Mexico

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2014 Ford Fiesta SE hatchback photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.

New Engine, Fresh Interior for 2015 Ford Focus

Mid product cycle updates loom large for compact Focus.

2015 Ford Focus
2015 Ford Focus: Crisp styling, a new interior & an EcoBoost option.

The Ford Focus is an instantly recognizable name, with more than 1 million units sold annually worldwide. Ford has said that the Focus is the best selling vehicle in the world, a claim that Toyota disputes. What is beyond dispute is that Ford is not resting on its laurels as it makes plans to release an important model refresh for 2015.

***See Also — AOL Autos: Ford Claims Focus As Worlds Best-Selling Car For Second Year In A Row***

The 2015 Ford Focus will be released in the second half of this year and will be equipped with a standard rear view monitor and a fully revised interior. It will also offer an optional new engine: a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine that is currently available with the Fiesta subcompact.

2015 Ford Focus

Ford announced its plans for the 2015 Focus at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday. About the updated model Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of The Americas said, What makes Focus so attractive to consumers today being great to drive, delivering exceptional fuel economy and value, and offering leading-edge in-car technologies is amplified with the new Focus.

***See Also — Ford: Words Best-Selling Nameplate Gets Even Better: Ford Reveals Sophisticated New Focus with 1.0-liter EcoBoost***

The 2015 Ford Focus will arrive with a refreshed face including a restyled grille and hood, distinctive headlamps and tail lights, an updated lamp cluster, and a restyled trunk lid. For the US market, a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback will be offered.

Inside, the Focus will receive new seat trims, satin chrome detailing, new switches, and an available heated steering wheel. Ford describes the compacts glove box as new and easier to access; a new center console brings in adjustable cup holders.

New Safety Features

Technologies that are not common to the compact segment will be available with the 2015 Ford Focus. Besides the standard rear view camera, customers can choose safety options including lane-keeping assist and blind spot monitoring. All models are equipped with a 4.2-inch color monitor; an 8-inch monitor is included with cars equipped with MyFord Touch.

Ford says that the new Focus will allow drivers to download more than five dozen AppLink-enabled apps from the Apple App Store and the Android market. These apps include real-time data such as acceleration, odometer, and speed. When connected with SYNC AppLink, alerts are available at any time even if the app is not currently active. This means if the driver is listening to her favorite tunes, the app can send out an alert such as warning about a traffic jam down the road.

***See Also — Auto Trends: The Five Top Selling Compact Cars of 2013***

Three-Cylinder EcoBoost Engine

The current Ford Focus is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That engine returns in 2015 and will be joined by a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed transmission.

The smaller engine also brings in gasoline direct injection, variable valve timing, and Ford software enhancements to squeeze more power out of a smaller footprint. In the 2014 Fiesta, the diminutive engine gives the subcompact a 45 mpg highway rating, the top gas mileage for a non hybrid car. At present, the most fuel efficient Focus is rated at 40 mpg on the highway. The new engine should help the Focus deliver at least 43 to 44 mpg on the highway.

***See Also — Tree Hugger: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1-liter EcoBoost Gets 45 MPG on Highway, Beating Some Hybrids and Diesels***

Other changes slated for the 2015 Ford Focus includes suspension and chassis upgrades, including a new shock absorber valve design in a bid to provide a quieter interior, an updated rear suspension to help drivers feel more connected to the road, and a new electronic stability program to improve comfort and to reduce intrusion.

The ambitious Focus overhaul eclipses the generational changes seen in some models. What this signals to the world is that Ford is intent at keeping its top model fresh. And with Ford continuing to push hard in developing countries, the long-term outlook for its compact model line is strong.

Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.

Capacity Constraints Has Automakers Fostering Creativity

Car manufacturers are looking at ways to make use of existing capacity, holding off on building new manufacturing plants as global economic concerns weigh in. Demand for new vehicles is strongest in China and in the United States, two markets that the biggest players must ensure are served properly.

Managing Domestic Capacity

In recent years we have seen domestic capacity straining as consumer demand rises and output peaks. It isn’t uncommon for a manufacturing plant to run three shifts in a bid to squeeze out more models from the same production footprint. Hyundai’s plant in Alabama and Kia’s plant in Georgia are prime examples of manufacturing facilities operating under capacity constraints, as the two Korean automakers work with what they have instead of adding new plants.

Volkswagen PassatThe cost of building a new manufacturing plant is typically above $1 billion, an investment Volkswagen made in recent years with its Chattanooga plant and what Kia invested with its lone American plant. That figure is why adding new plants — even as demand rises — is not on the horizon. Instead, car manufacturers will tap capacity elsewhere, even importing cars from markets previously not tapped to serve the American driver. “Fostering creativity” is the buzzword when it comes to managing capacity.

Importing From France

Toyota will soon import its subcompact Yaris from France, the first time the Japanese automaker has shipped European-built models to Canada and to the United States reports Automotive News. That move will allow Toyota to harness capacity for a new model in Japan and to work with a more stable currency to supply the North American market.

Yen value variations likely have made it difficult for Toyota to make money off of its slow-selling and thin profit line Yaris. Moreover, the next generation Toyota Yaris will be based on the Mazda2, produced in Mexico by Mazda for Toyota, and go on into production in summer 2015. Thus, we’ll see Toyota tap its French capacity for approximately two years before the Mazda-based Yaris replacement becomes available, for another cost savings move.

Toyota Yaris

Imported from France: Toyota Yaris.

Looking to Thailand

Ford is also looking to shift production of its own subcompact model. The Ford Fiesta, built in Mexico and sold in the United States and Canada, will be shifted to Thailand. Ford already builds the Fiesta there, but will also use Thailand to supply the domestic market. Ford will free up capacity at its Cuautitlán, Mexico, to produce an unnamed new model.

Auto Trends believes that the new Ford model will be the Lincoln MKC, a concept compact crossover sport utility vehicle introduced at auto shows earlier this year. Ford needs the cheaper labor Mexican plant to produce this model to maximize economies of scale. That’s become more urgent in recent months as Audi has broken ground on its first North American assembly plant, also in Mexico. With Audi benefiting from lower labor costs, Ford must contain its costs to bring forth this all-new Lincoln crossover and future models. Audi, too, will build crossovers in Mexico.

2014 Ford Fiesta

Hyundai and Kia

Expect further announcements from other car manufacturers to supply the North American market from far-flung manufacturing plants. Capacity constraints for Kia and Hyundai won’t be resolved by building a new North American manufacturing plant, at least not in the short term. Instead, both manufacturers will tap plants outside of Korea and the United States.

Hyundai and Kia capacity.Kia’s Žilina, Slovakia, facility might supply the North American market, although capacity there is nearing its 300,000-unit limit notes Kia of UK. Plants in the Philippines and Vietnam might also be tapped, underutilized facilities that have yet to hit capacity.

Hyundai’s reach is broader than its Kia cousin, with manufacturing plants in eastern Europe, South Africa and India meeting current capacity. This company’s US sales are being hampered by capacity constraints, a problem that might be resolved by tapping its other markets.

Auto Trends and Capacity

Even as car manufacturers’s shift capacity, global overcapacity remains. Toyota does not have the problem that General Motors, Peugeot and FIAT have been facing with too many plants in Europe, but it is in the position to pull from its European plants to supply cars elsewhere. Overcapacity is an ongoing auto trends, one that KMPG addressed in its Global Automotive Executive Survey 2013 report earlier this year.

KPMG noted that sales and production are declining in Japan and in western Europe, but are on the rise in Brazil, Russian, India and China, as well as in Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa. Utilizing plants around the world to meet domestic demand is something that will increase, making it entirely possible that new car buyers will soon find that their vehicles have been built in countries far different from the usual foreign markets.

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The 7 Greatest Top Gear Moments!

There’s something epic about Top Gear. Absorbing a huge budget and sending three hapless English petrolheads around the world on increasingly ridiculous quests, the programme has been keeping its viewers extremely entertained since its relaunch in 2002. It’s a global phenomenon and should be recognised as such.

But through all the drama, the banter, the controversy, the speed, the explosions, the jokes, and the cars, this list represents the very best of Top Gear. It’s what has kept audiences thrilled for all these years, and what keeps us coming back for more. Here’s our take on the seven episodes we reckon make Top Gear the most popular TV show… in the world.

1. The Peel P50 in Television Centre

Top Gear: Peel P50 by Blogpaedia on FlickrIt might not have been the most spectacular but it certainly ranks among the most memorable. Jeremy Clarkson piloted the tiny Peel P50 – the world’s smallest production car – around the streets of London and into BBC Television Centre. Dwarfed by even a Mini Cooper, the Peel P50 was at home in the winding corridors of Britain’s iconic broadcasting hub.

Cars involved: Peel P50

Best bit: Clarkson’s accidental appearance on BBC News

2. Trying to Destroy a Toyota Hilux

It’s well-known that the Toyota Hilux is a robust piece of machinery. They’re popular with farmers, gamekeepers and, as Clarkson pointed out, the Taliban, for precisely this reason. The 90s shape remains one of the most instantly recognisable cars of modern times.

That wasn’t enough for Clarkson and company, however. They wanted to test whether its reputation was earned, and whether the Hilux really was indestructible. To do this they conducted a number of very ordinary scientific tests oh, you know leaving it on a beach while the tide was coming in, setting it on fire, dropping a caravan on it – but it was the final test that makes this episode one of the most brilliant.

The Toyota Hilux survived a huge block of flats being demolished beneath it. After falling to the ground it took only basic mechanical intervention before the engine roared into life – the Hilux in question remains on display in the Top Gear studio.

Cars involved: Toyota Hilux pickup

Best bit: The battered machine’s return to the studio, damaged but still rolling.

3. Driving the Then-new Land Rover Discovery up a Mountain

Looking back, this challenge was rather tame. Appearing alongside the Dodge Viper SRT10 and the Rinspeed Splash back in November 2004, the then-new Land Rover Discovery was a technological marvel. This episode showed Clarkson drive one to the top of Cnoc an Fhreiceadain (Scotland) against a musical backdrop of Holst’s Jupiter. Classic on every level.

Cars involved: Land Rover Discovery

Best bit: The summit

4. Driving to the North Pole

Top Gear has broken a lot of records (and other things) so it’s no real surprise that they were the first to drive to the North Pole. But you’d expect Jeremy Clarkson and James May cooped up in their car to have more hilarious fallings-out.

Instead, they tackled the challenge with a grace and competence not demonstrated in any Top Gear episode before or since. Sure, there were uncertain moments (they could hear the ice cracking beneath the car) and a few times when May clearly wished he was somewhere else (some quality time on the towbar-mounted lavatory seat while Clarkson had the keys was a questionable idea) but the boys were ultimately successful in their quest to drive to the North Pole.

Cars involved: Toyota Hilux ‘Invincible’

Best bit: The fact that Hammond was racing them on a dog sled

5. Crossing the Channel in Amphibious Cars

Top Gear: amphibious carThe boys had been given an amphibious car challenge before. Their task had been to cross a lake in home-made machines that could drive on the public road and also be used in water. Hammond’s ‘Dampervan’ – a bizarre Volkswagen-narrowboat hybrid – began to sink almost immediately and May’s sail-powered Triumph Herald was prone to drifting into reeds. Clarkson’s Toyboata had properly worked, only to be capsized during a moment of exuberance mere yards from the finish. May’s Triumph somehow triumphed.

This time, the boys took their task more seriously. May’s attempt was still rubbish and Hammond’s craft sank again, but after a number of attempts (and a run-in with the port police) the Toyboata prevailed. Clarkson, May and Hammond successfully ‘sailed’ from the old Hovercraft terminal in Kent to a beach somewhere in France – using a modified Hilux and an outboard motor.

Cars involved: Triumph Herald, Volkswagen Campervan, Toyota Hilux

Best bit: The boys arriving on a French beach in front of bemused locals

6. ‘Properly’ Testing the Ford Fiesta

Clarkson frequently laments the letters the programme receives, many of which ask for more sensible reviewing of ordinary cars. In the case of the famous Ford Fiesta test, he responded to one particular piece of correspondence with the proper review to end all proper reviews.

With the needs of the public in mind, Clarkson demonstrates the Fiesta’s prowess at outmanoeuvring baddies in a blacked-out Corvette during a chase through a shopping centre. He then goes on to prove its abilities as a landing craft during a military invasion exercise. Truly informative.

Cars involved: Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Corvette

Best bit: Handbrake turn through British Home Stores

7. The Reliant Robin Spaceship

A truly spectacular piece of television, featuring all the elements that make Top Gear so great – ridiculousness, perseverance, enormous ambition and a truly gargantuan budget. This time, the boys had set their sights beyond the horizon – they wanted to build a space shuttle.

Choosing the Reliant Robin because it looks most like the NASA-built Shuttle, Clarkson, May and Hammond set to work on what would be one of the most spectacular Top Gear failures ever. The project was finished, the launch was set, the countdown began, the ship launched…

Everything appeared to be going smoothly until the Reliant failed to separate from the fuel tank. Rather than gliding gently to terra firma as predicted, the whole ‘spaceship’ crashed into the ground in an enormous fireball.

This episode epitomises the unofficial Top Gear mantra – ambitious, but rubbish.

Cars involved: Reliant Robin

Best bit: The explosion, obviously

Author Information

This article was written by Alex Johnson, a freelance writer and Top Gear fan working on behalf of MORE TH>N car insurance. MORE TH>N might not cover all the vehicles mentioned in this article – especially the amphibious ones ????

Image credits

Peel P50 by Blogpaedia on Flickr

James May’s Amphibious Car by bombhead on Flickr.

Seeing is Believing: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

Something odd has happened along Mitsubishis supposed exit from the US new car market: it has updated its Outlander crossover SUV, has shown us a PHEV version of the same and this Japanese car manufacturer just introduced an all-new Mitsubishi Mirage at the New York International Auto Show. Perhaps rumors of Mitsubishis demise have been exaggerated after all.

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage makes its global debut.

The newest model, however, does not guarantee Mitsubishis success in the ultra-competitive domestic market. Indeed, it will take a lot more than an all-new Mitsubishi Mirage to stem the brand’s losses. In 2012, its sales fell by more than 20 percent in a market that grew by about 14 percent. Just 57,790 vehicles were sold reports Bloomberg Businessweek, far below the 345,000 Mitsubishi models driven off of dealer lots in 2002.

Subcompact Car Segment

The front-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Mirage is a five-door hatchback with room for five. Mitsubishi promises to serve up the most efficient model in the subcompact car segment, delivering a projected 37 mpg around the city and 44 mpg on the highway for a combined 40 mpg.

Those fuel economy numbers are better than what its competitors now offer including the Volkswagen Golf TDI. Cars such as the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa will have to play catch up, with tiny Mitsubishi now setting pace. Who would have thunk?!

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage gains a mileage edge by serving up a 1.2-liter three cylinder engine. Thats the type of motor offered in mini cars such as the Smart Fortwo, an engine that makes 74 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 74 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. You can pair this engine with a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.

Standard equipment includes a tilt steering wheel, power windows, power door locks, automatic climate control, power side mirrors, keyless entry, a rear spoiler, a four-speaker audio system and a 60/40 split rear seat.

When upgrading from the Mitsubishi Mirage DE to the Mirage ES, a number of amenities are added including front fog lamps, 14-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a proximity key, push button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control.

Various packages will be offered including trim upgrades, a navigation system and rear parking assist.

Pricing will be announced before the model’s fall 2013 release.

Generous Safety Features

Mitsubishi will outfit every Mirage model with a host of standard safety features. Seven airbags including a drivers knee airbag a tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are standard. In CVT-equipped models, hill start assist is added. Other safety features include stability control and traction control.

The hatchbacks handling benefits from electric power steering, what Mitsubishi says aids fuel efficiency. EPS also gives the driver a communicative steering feel and sharp 15.1 feet turning radius the best in its segment.

Mitsubishi Mirage Warranties

All 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage models will be backed by a 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. A new vehicle limited warranty has you covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. Rust protection coverage and a roadside assistance plan are also provided.

See Also — Mitsubishi Cancels Galant Replacement Model

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.