I bet actual EPA data won't show up until early summer. There very well could be cars sitting at dealerships waiting for the EPA data so they can be sold. I have been to the dealer before to check out new models and seen the EPA numbers missing from the window sticker and the cars on hold until the numbers are published. This was a number of years ago, so I don't know if the EPA has stepped up their research. My guess is that by the time the cars start shipping, the actual numbers will be available. I have no clue about crash numbers. For me, neither data sets influence my car buying.
MPG is very important if not the most important number I am looking at. As for the crash test data, if the car does not hold up well in a crash, my insurance rates could end up higher and that could wipe out any fuel savings from the MPG figure.
For me, the only things that matter are handling, performance, design, engineering, and the smile it puts on my face when driving it. The emotional feeling that connects me to the car outweighs any published number, including HP and performance numbers. I just happen to be lucky and have that connection to a car that gets great mileage.
MPG is an important number for me, but not so important that I'll just get any car that's efficient. That's why I've waited so long to get a small car. Unlike any car before it, Fiesta combines best-in-industry MPG with best-in-industry style. The fact that it appeals so strongly to my right and left brain makes it a no brainer for me.
Frankly, I'm just beginning to look more intently into buying a car in this segment. For a while I was thinking of buying a 2009-up Jetta TDi. Given VW's hit-or-miss (largely MISS) reliability of the last couple of generations of their cars, I decided to wait a little bit and see how the current generations shake out. Frankly, being used to driving trucks and SUVs for the last several years, anything that gets much above mid-20's for mpg is a big step up for me. Luckily these days, there are many cars that will get that....including many that are larger, more comfortable, and not neccessarily any less fun than the Fiesta should be. It's sort of like a balancing act for me...I can't tell yet if the cheaper price of the Fiesta, combined with the supposed 40mpg hwy capability will rule out over spending a little more for another car that I may like better and be more comfortable in. For example, perhaps a Mazda 3 or maybe waiting for the 2011 Focus. I was also eyeballing a few 1-2 year old Civic Si's.
When it comes to this "B" segment of cars there is NOTHING else that even comes close to sparking my interest (Fit, Versa, Yaris, etc). I guess I just need to do a little "soul searching" and thinking. The fact I HATE fwd with an almost-passion doesn't help. Unfortunately, there are no viable RWD alternatives. Not to mention, I can see this, just like every other Ford car, eventually becoming subject to substantial factory and dealership discounts after the initial demand dies down a bit, assuming it does that is. I've never been the type that has to have new things first on my block. If I need to wait it out a bit before deciding the Fiesta is the car for me, so be it.