FIRST, an admission: there are quite a few unworn items hanging forlornly up one end of my wardrobe, with sale tags still attached.
Pristine pieces include a shirt bought at such a discount that burntorange and brown stripes seemed an attractive combo, and jeans so cheap I kidded myself dropping two sizes would be easy.
Yep, I am a total sucker for an apparent bargain.
So a declaration I was absolutely smitten with the Ford Fiesta CL prompted knowing nods from my partner, who assumed its low price coloured my judgment.
There’s no disputing this little ripper is value for money. The base model includes airconditioning, CD sound system, power steering, electric windows, two airbags, anti-skid brakes and remote locking.
More importantly, though, the Fiesta is a great drive.
The peppy 1.6-litre engine made buzzing around inner-city op shops and vintage stores even more of a joy than usual.
The CL accelerates brilliantly, corners neatly, and has a particularly nifty gearbox.
It’s slim shape slips into the squeeziest of parking spots, making me wish I could do the same in those useless skinny jeans!
There’s a bit of a blind spot when reversing, though.
Thoughtful touches such as parking and interior lights that illuminate when you unlock it add to the impression of safety — great for women out late on their own.
As well as being practical, this beauty is more stylish than its boxy competitors, with modern curves inside and out.
The dashboard is perhaps a bit too space-age — I struggled to figure out the radio toggle and an off-putting sprawl of other buttons, but Gen Y would probably get it.
The cheap fabric seat coverings and some plastic fittings on the trim are minor quibbles, though by no means deal-breakers.
There’s absolutely no danger this little number will sit unloved in the driveway of any bargain hunter — even if you do opt for the rather hideous metallic lime green colour they call ‘‘Squeeze’’. Likes: Frugal; well equipped; handles beautifully. Dislikes: A full set of airbags and electronic stability control are $1000 extra; nasty seat covers; airconditioning is a bit limp.