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Nuts and Bolts: 2014 Ford Fiesta

Bottom line: The 2014 Ford Fiesta is a pleasant little car well worth the look. For people who have difficulty reconciling modest bank accounts with their need for speed, there is the new Ford Fiesta ST with a turbocharged (forced air) 1.6-liter, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine (197 horsepower, 214 pound-feet of torque) for the base price of $21,400. Ford’s engineers say that model also can run on regular unleaded gasoline with fuel economy close to that of the sub-ST Fiesta cars.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Nothing to complain about here. The car is one of the best local commuters available.

Head-turning quotient: It’s very high especially with that “ruby red metallic” paint job. The only problem is that so many people felt a need to touch it — leaving fingerprints all over the Fiesta Titanium’s body when I returned it at the end of the drive week.

Body style/layout: The 2014 Ford Fiesta is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive economy subcompact available as a sedan or a hatchback. A new ST model is available for people who want more power with their economy. Other versions include the S, SE and the upscale trimmed Titanium.

Engine/transmission: The car comes with a 1.6-liter, inline four-cylinder, 16-valve gasoline engine with variable valve timing. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. The model driven for this column was equipped with an optional six-speed automatic that also could be operated manually.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity with rear seats raised is 14.9 cubic feet. That capacity nearly doubles with rear seats lowered. Put it this way: With those seats lowered, my assistant, Ria Manglapus, had enough space to cart her son, Q, and his stuff off to his first year of college. Fuel capacity is 12 gallons. Regular grade gasoline is recommended.

Mileage: Highway mileage with car loaded top to bottom with freshman college stuff averaged 35 miles per gallon. City mileage with driver only in the automatic transmission car was 26 miles per gallon.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilate front, solid rear); four-wheel antilock brake protection; electronic brake-force distribution; emergency communications/air bag deployment notification; electronic stability and traction control; side and head air bags.

Price: The base price of the 2014 Ford Fiesta Titanium with six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability is $18,800 with a dealer’s invoice price of $18,095. Price as tested is $21,485 including $1,890 in options (onboard navigation, premium sound system and other items) and a $795 factory-to-dealer destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $20,578.

— Warren Brown