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2014 Ford Fiesta SE: Driven

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No matter what you’ve started to consider in a next new car, there are two things that taking a quick spin in a 2014 Ford Fiesta can make abundantly clear.

The first is that small cars don’t have to be so soulless and appliance-like. The second? Low-price new cars don't all feel

The 2014 Fiesta, for example, has the lowest bottom-line sticker price that this editor has encountered this past year—just $16,845 as tested, for a five-door Fiesta SE hatchback.

And it’s a blast to drive, with the sort of endearing character that you’ll only otherwise find less practical (dare we say more gimmicky) cars like the MINI Cooper and Fiat 500.

ALSO SEE: Toyota Hit With $1.2B Recall Fine; How Will It Affect Shoppers, Owners?

There's something very...festive in the engine bay

We found the 120-horsepower four-cylinder engine to be zippy and smooth. Provided you’re not determined to wring out the last 1,000 rpm of its revband, it isn’t too noisy either. When accelerating or tapping into power it felt responsive yet refined enough in the 3,000 to 4,500 rpm range, which the neat gear linkage of the five-speed manual and its light clutch made easy.

The only thing we would like to make different is to have the accelerator be more linear; as with many low-priced cars, it’s artificially progressive—making it feel as if it might have more power to those who drive gingerly. But it can make the car harder to drive smoothly at times at low speed.

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