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