The Ford Fiesta 1.0L and Mini Cooper are two amazingly fun to drive hatchbacks in the subcompact class. Both have been redesigned for the 2014 model year, with the Mini gaining an update to its familiar looks, and the Fiesta gaining new technologies as well as a handsome new front end. Both Ford and Mini have also announced their first Three-Cylinder Engines, making their debuts in the Fiesta and Cooper Hatchback respectively. This is a big deal considering that compact and lower segments have held an industry standard of Four-Cylinder engines. Ford is continuing the new tradition of making EcoBoost powered engines that perform better than their competitor’s engines with more cylinders. While these cars provide a completely different image and perception in the marketplace, when you compare them you will realize that this is not entirely the case.
Put a Blue Candy Fiesta next to a red Mini and the first thing to stand out would definitely be the amount of stripes and Union Jack flags on the Mini. Yeah, it’s cool, we’ll admit that. But all this “look at me, I’m hip” flair comes at a price. A big price actually. Like $200 for flags on the mirrors, $100 for the hood stripes, $50 for caps on the tires with flags… now it makes sense how a compact can cost almost as much as a Ford Fusion Titanium. The little Fiesta seems to not have much to celebrate in comparison. But then if you look at the Fiesta it all makes sense. This isn’t a car that has to prove anything. It’s fun, it’s efficient, and it knows it. Think about the name, Fiesta. This thing is a blast to drive! The Mini has been the pretty much the same thing since it was released in 2003; it’s like the automotive equivalent of a Rolling Stones Greatest Hits album. The same songs are on it as the last one, it just has a different cover.
These two cars both are subcompacts, both have Three-Cylinder engines, and both are fun to drive, so how are they different? Well other then the huge price difference, the new 1.0L EcoBoost seems to have a big technological advantage. This engine is literally small enough to fit in a carry on suitcase, produces 123 horsepower, is turbocharged, and can get a combined rating of 36 MPG. This is a huge technological achievement from an engineering standpoint, as well as fuel efficiency. To add to the fun to drive status, as well as increase fuel economy, the 1.0L is only available with a 5-Speed Manual transmission. The 1.5L Three-Cylinder from the Mini has 11 more horsepower, but it requires premium fuel and doesn’t match the fuel economy of the Fiesta.
The Mini is only a two door hatchback, and that compromises both interior room and access to the rear seats. The Fiesta comes in either a 4-Door Sedan, or a 5-Door Hatchback. For an even comparison, we’ll choose the hatchback, which gains two extra doors and an extra seat over the Mini. The rear cargo area also is larger and easier to access in the Fiesta thanks to its 14.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up. The Fiesta also has Ford’s SYNC technology which can give you turn by turn directions, play music and make phone calls hands free, and do much more. Features like this cost extra in the Mini and put it at a price that is thousands over the Fiesta. Heated Seats, Electronic Temperature Control, and Heated Side Mirrors are available through the Fiesta’s comfort package.
So when it comes down to it, these two subcompact go-carts are fuel efficient, and stylish. But at the end of the day, technology and value seems to triumph over a badge on the hood and some pricey options. So when the hip Mini driver realizes he can’t pay for his Mocha-hipster-nonfat-latte because he had to have $50 stickers on his wheels, you can feel confident in the fact you are getting a peppy hatchback, with more space, better gas mileage, and plenty of money left over in your pocket to get that one latte… or 50.