Ford Fiesta review
The Ford Fiesta is one of the best-selling cars in the UK for a reason. It’s great value, fun to drive and efficient, although it could be roomier.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is one of the best-value small cars around. Not only is it very affordable, the Fiesta is also brilliant to drive, comfortable, well equipped and easy to live with.
It goes up against the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa, the Peugeot 208 and the Volkswagen Polo, but there’s a reason the Fiesta is continually one of the most popular cars in the UK: it just works perfectly for so many Brits.
There’s plenty of choice within the Fiesta range, too: not only can you buy it in three and five-door hatchback forms, there’s a rugged Active version and the sporty Fiesta ST hot hatchback too. We’ve reviewed those two models separately.
Entry-level Fiestas are smart enough, but it’s higher up the model range where things get interesting. The ST-Line Edition cars have a sporty look based on the Fiesta ST’s upgrades, while the Vignale Edition has a focus on luxury – it’s all chrome trim, leather upholstery and comfort here.
We like the Fiesta’s interior design, which isn’t as funky as something like a Citroen C3 but uses soft-touch plastics and good quality materials, so it feels well-built. Plus, Ford’s 8-inch SYNC3 touchscreen infotainment screen looks good and is easy to use.
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
The Fiesta is spacious enough in the front, but the rear seats are a bit cramped. Three-door models aren’t very good for taking along passengers, but at least the five-door has better access. If you need to carry people in the back, though, a VW Polo or SEAT Ibiza would be a better option. The Ford also has a smaller boot than these alternatives.
The Fiesta is all about driving, though. The ST model is known for being a lot of fun, but even the most basic Fiestas are fantastic to drive, with great control weights, a good amount of grip and lots of composure on twisty roads.
The Ford’s six-speed manual gearbox is excellent. It has a slick shift action that adds to the fun, but it’s also nice and easy to use around town. Comfortable suspension and seats mean that it’s reasonably relaxing when you want it to be as well.
The engine range is mostly made up of 1.0-litre petrol engines. We reckon the 100hp version is the best because it has enough power for this small, light car to get up to speed easily, while also being fuel efficient and fun to use.
The Fiesta undercuts the VW Polo when it comes to equipment. Not only is it cheaper, it gets more toys as standard – including that 8-inch screen, which comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Safety kit is good too, with a lane-keeping aid and hill start assist even on entry-level cars.
If the Ford Fiesta is good enough for millions of Brits, it’s bound to be worth your attention too, right? Head to our Ford Fiesta deals page to find one that’s right for you. You can also watch our video review of the Fiesta ST hot hatch by clicking the video below.
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.
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.
Titanium X and Vignale models come with a height-adjustable passenger seat and lumbar adjustment for both front seats, while Titanium and ST-Line Edition cars can have that kit plus a panoramic sunroof as part of an inexpensive options 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, and 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 the SEAT Ibiza or VW Polo 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 cost extra, 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, 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 shy of the 355-litre load bay you get in a SEAT Ibiza. It’s practical though, particularly if you go for the cheap-to-add adjustable boot floor, which eliminates any load lip and thus makes 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.
The Ford Fiesta is 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, though.
The Ford Fiesta is available with a choice of four engines – all three-cylinder petrol units. There’s a 1.1-litre 75hp non-turbo petrol at the start of the range that could be good for young drivers but the rest are all variants of the 1.0-litre petrol EcoBoost engine.
Okay, the Fiesta ST uses a 1.5-litre motor, but that’s really a different model as it’s much more powerful and it’s still a three-cylinder petrol.
The 1.0-litre range includes 100hp, 125hp and 155hp variants – but the 100hp model is all you really need. The latter two have mild hybrid technology to boost efficiency but it doesn’t make much difference to the way they drive, and the 100hp model is efficient, cheap to buy and good on fuel anyway.
There’s a 7-speed auto gearbox available on some models but it’s really not worth paying extra for unless you really need it, as the manual is excellent to use.
The Ford Fiesta is a great car to drive. 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 stability needed to fire you out the other end intact.
If a focus on driving fun is at the top of your priorities list, then it’s worth considering an ST-Line Edition model. They have lowered, stiffened suspension – so they lean less in corners – and bigger wheels with grippier tyres.
The ST-Line Edition 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 a little extra cost if you’d like a bit of help.
An automatic gearbox is a pricey option but (unless your licence dictates) there’s really no need to go for it – the Ford Fiesta’s controls are so nice to use that it’s very 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 have a five-speed), 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, apart from on top-spec cars. That said, the price for that model 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.
The Ford Fiesta’s interior is smart looking and logically laid out but the best quality is reserved for expensive top-spec Vignale models.
Ford Fiesta colours
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.