5 It has to bring the tech and im­prove the pack­ag­ing

CAR (UK) - - Analysis -

THE LAST FI­ESTA was still rid­ing high in the charts right to the end, but many of its ri­vals had out­classed the Ford in spe­cific ar­eas. Like cabin plas­tics that were ordinary in 2008 but ap­peared ex­traor­di­nar­ily poor a decade later. Or a messy, but­ton-heavy cen­tre con­sole. And a screen so small and so far away even Pa­trick Moore would have found it dif­fi­cult to fathom. Not to men­tion rear seat space that would shame some city cars, or a dis­mal lack of safety kit.

The new one is light years bet­ter. All but the most ba­sic £12,715 Style model get a beau­ti­ful high-res­o­lu­tion touch­screen mea­sur­ing ei­ther 6.5in or 8in across with Ford’s Sync 3 mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem, Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto. It’s bright, sim­ple to use, of­fers pinch-and-zoom func­tion­al­ity, and re­sponds to voice com­mands.

Zetec brings that plus a heated screen and al­loys, Ti­ta­nium adds cruise, key­less start, auto lights and wipers and sat-nav, or you could go the sporty route and chose ST-Line trim. Or spend over the odds on a top-spec Vig­nale.

What­ever you buy it’ll have seven airbags, au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing, lane-keep­ing as­sist and Ford’s MyKey, which lets you sti­fle the en­gine and hi-fi to keep kids alive when they take the car at night. Higher spec ver­sions bring a drowsi­ness de­tec­tor, road­sign recog­ni­tion, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing and cross-traf­fic alert. An op­tional Driver As­sis­tance Pack adds pedes­trian de­tec­tion, auto high beams and adap­tive cruise for only £200, but we found the sys­tem ir­ri­tat­ingly over-ea­ger.

The cabin plas­tics are bet­ter, but still de­press­ingly brit­tle in places. Why spend money mak­ing the dash-top soft-touch when you’ll never touch it, but fin­ish the door pan­els in hard scratchy plas­tic you no­tice ev­ery time you get in or out?

Re-shaped seat backs helps lib­er­ate a lit­tle more rear knee room but the rear pack­ag­ing is still tight.4

Spec your way up into the realms of stitched leather and avoid some poor plas­tics

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