|Model tested||Ford Fiesta 1.0T Titanium 5-door|
Ever since it was launched way back in 1976, the Ford Fiesta has dominated the UK sales charts. It’s easy to see why: keenly priced, fun to drive, well-equipped and with a dealer in every town, there’s also a wide model range with plenty of engines and trim levels. An all-new Fiesta recently arrived in showrooms but you might not have noticed as it doesn’t look much different from its predecessor. But this new car is bigger than before, more highly equipped, safer and built to an even higher standard. In short it’s an absolute cracker; here’s why we love it so much.
You can’t accuse Ford of not trying here, as much of the dash is a bit over-designed. The instrumentation in particular is busy and so is the multi-function steering wheel, so it takes a bit of familiarisation. It looks attractive though and the build quality is excellent; it all gets off to a great start when you close the door and it shuts with a pleasing thud rather than a clank.
Also impressive is the amount of cubby hole space, as there are spots all over the place where you can store odds and ends. There’s plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, the seats are supportive and even the rear seats are comfy – they don’t lack head or leg room either. Considering this isn’t a particularly small car the amount of boot space seems disappointing, but at 292 litres it’s competitive in the class.
The driving experience has long been a Fiesta highlight, and it’s no different with the new car. The only fly in the ointment is that the engine isn’t as flexible as you might expect; it won’t pull happily until there’s around 1500rpm on the dial. But other than that the Fiesta is as superb as we’ve come to expect. The steering is excellent, and so are the ride and handling. There’s good all-round visibility although the thick A-pillars and small door mirrors don’t aid things, but the Titanium X (from £18,595 in five-door form) and the Vignale (from £20,445 in five-door form) comes with rear parking sensors and blind spot warning is available as an option from the Zetec upwards. All of the controls are really nicely weighted; the six-speed manual gearbox has a pleasant action and refinement levels are impressive; the Fiesta feels like a large car at motorway speeds, apart from a bit of road noise.
The Fiesta range starts at £13,165 for the 1.1 Style three-door and goes up to £21,675 for the Vignale 1.5 TDCi five-door. Realistically you’ll want at least a Zetec edition (one above the Style, priced from £15,895 in five-door 1.0T guise), while our Titanium test car carries a £700 premium for niceties such as a bigger touchscreen and instrument displays, automatic lights and wipers, power folding door mirrors, climate control and traffic sign recognition.
However, the Zetec comes with air-con, a heated windscreen, alloy wheels, multi-function steering wheel and 6.5” touch-screen display. The entry-level 1.1-litre engine is best avoided, which leaves only the 1.0T petrol or 1.5 TDCi diesel to choose between. Both are excellent units but only the 1.0T is available with an automatic gearbox; the diesel comes in six-speed manual form only.