Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta Review

The Ford Fiesta is a small car that you can really enjoy driving. It’s cheap to buy and run, stylish to look at and available with lots of high-tech kit, although alternatives are roomier

8/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Great fun to drive
  • Quiet for a small car
  • Nippy 100hp petrol engine

What's not so good

  • ST-Line models bumpy in town
  • Alternatives more spacious
  • Infotainment isn’t the slickest

What do you want to read about Ford Fiesta?

Overall verdict

The Ford Fiesta is a small car that you can really enjoy driving. It’s cheap to buy and run, stylish to look at and available with lots of high-tech kit, although alternatives are roomier

For many years, the Ford Fiesta has been one of the top-selling cars in the UK, and with this latest version it’s easy to see why: it’s a good-looking, good-value small car that gives you the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it has some high-tech features you normally only find on more expensive, bigger cars, but at the same time you can enjoy all the benefits of a small car: it’s economical, nippy and easy to manoeuvre.

It’s well over 40 years since Ford started selling the Fiesta, but this most recent model only arrived in 2017. It’s an alternative to other big-selling small cars, such as the Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio, Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo, and is available as both a three- and five-door hatchback. In due course, the range will also expand to include the Fiesta Active, a more rugged-looking version of the car, with SUV-inspired looks.

Even without that, there’s plenty of variety in the way the regular hatchback looks. In Zetec guise, the Ford Fiesta looks smart but unassuming, Vignale models get a fancy chrome grille and ST-Line versions have a sporty makeover, with more aggressive bumpers and a little spoiler on the boot. If you want your Ford Fiesta to look as cool as possible, then get the three-door version, but go for the five-door if you need to regularly use the back seats.

The Ford Fiesta’s interior doesn’t look quite as trendy – if you want a small car that feels properly funky then the Citroen C3 is a better bet. But, on the plus side, the Ford Fiesta’s dashboard is covered in soft-touch plastics that feel way more expensive than the rock-hard materials you’ll find in a SEAT Ibiza, and the Ford’s top-spec eight-inch colour infotainment system is really bright and sharp. However, its menus are a bit fiddly to navigate – unlike the system in the VW Polo.

What you might not expect from such a relatively inexpensive small car is the Bang & Olufsen sound system, which is a fairly cheap option on much of the range. It sounds far better than the stereo in any other car of this size and price, and it’s worth buying if you like your tunes and like them loud.

Things are pretty rosy for anyone in the front seats, but you won’t be blown away by the Ford Fiesta’s back-seat practicality. In fact, the rear seats are fairly cramped, even in five-door models, and the VW Polo and SEAT Ibiza are much better bets if you’re going to carry passengers regularly.

The Ford Fiesta’s boot isn’t as big as the Polo’s or Ibiza’s, either, but there’s still room for a big suitcase. Mind you, it’s worth remembering the Ford Fiesta is a small car, so you can’t expect to get all that much stuff in the boot.

The Fiesta is a lot of fun to drive for a small car – but you certainly won’t be smiling so hard if you’re asked to sit in the back seats

Mat Watson
carwow expert

What the Ford Fiesta lacks in practicality it more than makes up for with the way it drives. The Ford Fiesta’s one of the most fun small cars to drive, thanks to its accurate steering and heaps of grip. It’s safe, too, though, and has lots of optional kit including adaptive cruise control to help keep you a set distance from the car in front without touching the pedals.

Mind you, it’s not all about going quickly, and the Ford Fiesta is still impressive if you tend to drive more sedately. The cabin is quiet and most models get a six-speed manual gearbox that helps keep engine noise down at motorway speeds. The suspension does a good job of ironing out bumps in the road, too, although it’s worth noting that the sportier ST-Line version’s suspension does feel a bit less comfy than other models around town.

Without doubt, the stars of the show are the Fiesta’s superb turbocharged petrol engines, although you only really need the 100hp version of the 1.0-litre. Not only is it more than capable of getting you up to speed, it’s also pretty economical and has a sporty, rorty sound when you accelerate.

When you take the Ford Fiesta’s reasonable price into account, it’s a superb small car, especially if you’re happy to prioritise fun and technology over outright practicality.

Read more in-depth info on the Ford Fiesta in our the interior, driving and specification reviews sections on the following pages.

What's it like inside?

The Ford Fiesta’s interior is smart looking and logically laid out but the nicest materials are reserved for expensive top-spec Vignale models

The stereo in B&O models is so powerful it can wake an entire neighbourhood in just seconds

Mat Watson
carwow expert

How practical is it?

There's sufficient room in the back seats but a SEAT Ibiza is more spacious

The Ford Fiesta’s boot and back seats might be much roomier than the old model’s but it’s still not quite as spacious as some similarly-sized alternatives

Space in the back is just about OK for adults but the optional panoramic sunroof will cause nothing but discomfort for your taller passengers on long journeys

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
292 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,093 litres

Even entry-level models of the Ford Fiesta have a height-adjustable driver’s seat and the steering wheel also moves for rake and reach, so getting comfy isn’t a problem.

Vignale models come with a height-adjustable passenger seat and lumbar adjustment for both front seats, while Titanium and ST-Line X cars can have that kit plus a panoramic sunroof as part of a £600 pack.

Beware, though – the glass roof eats into rear headroom, which isn’t super generous to begin with. Space in the back isn’t terrible – a six-foot-tall passenger can fit, but they won’t want to be crammed in there for too long. Really, you’re better off looking at a more-spacious SEAT Ibiza if you’re planning to carry adults in the back.

If you’re going to be using the back seats regularly then go for a five-door Ford Fiesta. They’re a £650 option, but make back-seat access much easier. The Ford’s Isofix points are marked clearly but getting the top of the seat through to the rear door opening is a little bit awkward.

The Ford Fiesta has a number of smaller storage areas for hiding away your day-to-day clutter. The glovebox is big enough for a bottle of water and the door pockets will take a bottle, too. All versions get two cupholders, all but Style models have a place for your sunglasses in the headlining, and ST-Line models and above have a centre armrest with a small storage area underneath it.

 

The Ford Fiesta’s 292-litre boot is bigger than the old model’s, but it’s still a good bit off the 355-litre load bay you get in a SEAT Ibiza. It’s practical though, particularly if you go for the £75 adjustable boot floor, which eliminates the load lip – making it much easier to slide heavy items into the boot.

It’s also handy when you’ve got the rear seats folded down, giving you a completely flat floor, so it’s much easier to make full use of the Fiesta’s 1,093-litre capacity. All Ford Fiesta models get rear seats that fold down in a 60:40 split, meaning that you can have a passenger in the back as well as a long load poking through from the boot.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

A small car that’s great to drive

The Ford Fiesta’s a lot of fun to drive on a country road, yet it’s also quiet on the motorway and easy to manoeuvre in town. ST-Lines are a little uncomfortable in the city, though

Okay, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost's 100hp doesn't sound like much, but it's a perfect amount of power for the Fiesta

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The Ford Fiesta’s available with a choice of seven engines, including five petrols and two diesels.

The choice is simple, really – the 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol is the engine to have. Even the 100hp model feels nippy, getting from 0-62mph in a perfectly respectable 10.5 seconds and sounding pretty sporty doing it. Its eager performance is a great match for the Fiesta and official fuel economy of 65.7mpg means it will be cheap to run, even if getting that exact figure will be nigh on impossible – expect closer to 45mpg in the real world.

The same engine can be had with incremental performance boosts to 125 and 140hp. That added shove will make sense if you regularly drive on the motorway. For example, the 100hp model can accelerate from 31 to 62mph a full 2.5 seconds quicker than the 100hp model, a useful difference when you’re joining the motorway with an HGV barreling up the slow lane.

In fact, the petrol engines are so good, there’s little reason to choose one of the diesels unless you do galactic miles. If you do spend all your time on the motorway, though, you can choose from 1.5-litre diesel models with either 85 or 120hp. Both should be able to clear fuel economy of 80mpg, but they cost more than the equivalent petrols and don’t feel quite so nippy to drive.

The Ford Fiesta is a great car to drive for the price. You get a great idea of how much grip you have, allowing you to use the pin-sharp steering to dart into bends safe in the knowledge that it has the grip needed to fire you out the other end intact.

If that sounds like your type of driving, then it’s worth considering an ST-Line model. They have lowered, stiffened suspension – so less lean in corners – and bigger wheels with grippier tyres.

The ST-Line trim makes less sense in town because it reduces the Ford‘s ability to absorb short, sharp bumps, although it is still reasonably comfortable. Small back windows don’t help visibility when you’re glimpsing over your shoulder on busy streets, but the Ford Fiesta’s compact size means it’s still easy enough to reverse park and you can have a rear-view camera for £250 if you’d like a bit of help.

An automatic gearbox is a £1,350 option but (unless your licence dictates) there’s no need – the Ford Fiesta’s controls are so well weighted that it’s not that much of a pain to operate the clutch in town and it’s easy to drive smoothly.

City driving has always come naturally to the Fiesta, it was on the motorway that the old model started to feel out of its depth. Now, though, you get a six-speed gearbox (except on 1.1-litre petrol models), which means the engine’s quieter and there’s only a little wind whistle at 70mph.

A lot more frustrating is the fact that the Ford Fiesta doesn’t come with automatic emergency braking as standard, although the price is very reasonable and includes active cruise control which matches the speed of cars in front and accelerates when the way is clear. You also get headlights that dip automatically when they sense traffic coming the other way.

Read about prices & specifications

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