2013 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback
Power: 120 hp, 112 lb-ft.
Engine: 1.6L 16-valve Duratec® I-4
Fuel Consumption: 29 city/39 highway

Suffering from hatchback envy is common plight for American auto enthusiasts. While our European counterparts are drooling over AMG version A-class Mercedes, we lament underpowered subcompacts. Then, out of nowhere at the Los Angeles Autoshow, America was given promise. In 2014, the Ford Fiesta ST will hit U.S. roads. It'll be the cheapest new car you can get with Recaro racing seats and drive 197 horsepower.

In other words, the diminutive car will get some balls. And, American drivers with hot hatchback dreams will be satiated. 

Let's step back. What is Ford working with exactly? To find out, we drove the 2013 Ford Fiesta SE. Most folks probably have low expectations for the Fiesta. The American public, on the whole, dismisses smaller, cheaper cars with frightening regularity. Bluntly, most American's should reevaluate perceptions. 

The 2013 Ford Fiesta is a snappy subcompact with terrific gas milage—a combined 33mpg—that benefits from a 1.6L 16-valve Duratec® I-4 engine that provides 120 horsepower. What does this mean? Well, in a nutshell: You can drive for hours and drive with confidence. 

The powertrain remains the same from the 2012 model year, but there is noticeable improvement to the steering. Curvy country lanes are a joy—the future promise of the ST previewed in oh-so-close fashion—which reminds that, despite yearning for forbidden European fruit, a worthy hatch has been in our backyard the whole time. 

Few cars beat the fiesta for fuel economy. And, if you're brave enough to battle the stigma of the hatchback, few cars offer as much fun in their respective segments. The Fiesta's bigger brother, the  Focus, has been a firm favorite. Like the Focus, the Fiesta surprised us. And it did so for all the same reasons—fun, fun, and fun. Sure, we're still eagerly anticipating seat time in the ST. After all, if we have a blast with the current model, we'll obviously have more fun with more horsepower. 

This is a subcompact with character and proof positive that maximum fun can be pulled from even the smallest vehicles on American roads. It is also a car that proves its name, even without special badging, is no mistake.