Ford’s popular Fiesta has been on sale for more than 40 years, and consistently tops the UK’s best-seller list (in fact it has retained pole position since 2008). The full range of Fiestas on offer includes an SUV-style Active model, a more sporty ST-Line version and premium Vignale model. In fact, with the different trim levels taken into account, there are more than 20,000 possible iterations of the Fiesta. We’ve tested one of the most popular versions, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost Titanium hatchback.
What’s the spec?
You can pretty much have a Fiesta in any colour or interior style you like. Unlike some of its rivals, the Fiesta can still be ordered as a three-door or five-door hatchback. As for specification levels, are you ready? It goes (deep breath): Trend, Titanium, Titanium X, Active 1, Active B&O, Active X, ST-Line, ST-Line X, ST-2, ST-3 and Vignale, and you can spend anything from £15,995 to £21,520 before you weigh up the options.
All models, even the base Trend spec, get lane-keeping alert, rear seatbelt reminder, hill-start assist, air-con and electrically operated and heated door mirrors, which is quite an amazing list for £15,995. The top end gives you lashings of leather, wood trim and every conceivable driving aid.
Tell me about the exterior and interior
With each new generation of Fiesta, the styling has got a bit meaner, a bit more serious. We love the latest version, with the big Ford family grille and sleeker silhouette. There are more paint colours than you can shake a stick at, and inside the trim choices continue.
Ford has always dealt with dark textiles, plastics and leathers, and the result is a subtle cabin that aims to keep all tastes catered for. That’s unless you go for the ST-Line version, which bigs up its sporty styling with splashes of primary colours on the seats and round the instrument dials.
The infotainment system uses Ford’s Sync 3 technology, which has good functionality but the graphics seem quite plain and old-fashioned. Our satnav took a while to load, too.
There’s generous leg space for such a small car for four adults, and the boot space is a pleasant surprise.
How does the Fiesta drive?
This is the Fiesta’s big selling point. You don’t have to be a petrolhead to feel like there’s some serious quality engineering at play here: the cabin is quiet at motorway speeds, there are no nasty shakes or cheap rattles and everything closes, clicks and connects smoothly.
The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine we tested is the best small petrol engine on sale right now. It comes with various outputs - in ST-Line specification it will deliver 138bhp; we had the 100bhp version which is a good balance between power and decent fuel economy; the 125 horsepower version might be the better buy for a bit more oomph. Such is the way the engine works, however, it feels more powerful than the figure suggests.
Equally good are Ford’s five- and six-speed manual gearboxes, which have a lovely short, slick movement between the gears.
In a nutshell
Based on the new model, there’s no reason why Ford’s Fiesta shouldn’t continue to dominate the car charts in the UK for another 10 years. It has a near-perfect blend of good looks, great performance, generous standard kit and decent pricing. We’re looking forward to an all-electric Fiesta, which, given the mild hybrid technology about to be added to the range, is just a year or two down the line.