Hi-mpg.org gets 47 mpg with a Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta SE

2011 Ford Fiesta SE Sedan (Photo: Ford)

Over the weekend, hi-mpg.org had the pleasure of piloting a brand new 2011 Ford Fiesta from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs and back. The sedan was the SE trim level (base MSRP: $14,520) equipped with the optional 6-speed dual-clutch Powershift automated transmission (no torque converter) and standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine.

The EPA estimated gas mileage for this trim level is 28 mpg city and 37 highway. How much did we achieve at the end of the 283 mile journey? According to the car’s onboard trip computer, 47.3 miles per gallon!

The trip computer's average mpg for the 2011 Ford Fiesta SE Sedan after 283 miles of driving.

The trip included 272 miles of highway driving and 11 miles of city driving. Our driving technique did not include drastic hypermiling measures like no-slowing “death turns” or drive-like-a-grandma 55-mph cruising. In fact, we were passing many cars and was typically going at least the 75 mph speed limit on I-70.

Instead, while we were driving more steadily and non-aggressively than most American drivers—never flooring the throttle, coasting to red lights from an earlier distance, using cruise control, etc.—we weren’t doing anything completely out of the ordinary. Yet it is another example of how it is easily possible to exceed the EPA estimates, which we believe (particularly the post-2008 EPA test methodology) are overly conservative.

Granted, trip computer calculations are generally a little optimistic (typically returning an average MPG yield that’s 3-6% higher than actual in our experience). But if we assume the trip computer was even 10% too optimistic, we were getting at least 42 mpg.

The Ford Fiesta—with its quick-turning steering and high-tech interior made from high-quality materials—was also a hoot to drive. We will be posting a report on this fine domestic Hot Green Machine soon.

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