Rais­ing the bar

Has taken the lat­est in­car­na­tion of Ford’s hugely suc­cess­ful Fi­esta for a spin. So has it man­aged to eclipse the pre­vi­ous car?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

Is this the most im­por­tant new car of 2017? The Blue Oval’s sec­onds­mall­est model has been the best-sell­ing car in Bri­tain since 2009, and has con­sis­tently ap­peared in the top 10 since it was launched in 1976.

The Fi­esta’s po­si­tion is un­der threat, though, with the mar­ket for more pre­mi­um­badged com­peti­tors such as the Audi A1 and DS 3 grow­ing ever stronger.

Ford’s an­swer is to fight back with ar­guably the plush­est Fi­esta yet, com­plete with oo­dles of new tech­nol­ogy and a top-spec Vig­nale model that tips the scales at an eye­wa­ter­ing £19,345 in its cheap­est guise.

Looks and im­age

In­te­rior qual­ity too has taken a dras­tic step up. There are soft-touch plas­tics aplenty and switches have a re­as­sur­ing feel to them, while Vig­nale spec cars get quilted leather seats and a leather­trimmed dash­board.

Space and prac­ti­cal­ity

The Fi­esta’s di­men­sions have grown ever so slightly over the old model, but you’d be hard­pushed to spot the dif­fer­ences. Boot space, mean­while, is now a re­spectable 303 litres against the old car’s 290 It bests that of the Nis­san Micra and Re­nault Clio, but still short of the Honda Jazz’s 399-litre ca­pac­ity. Euro NCAP is yet to test the new model, but thanks to buck­ets of new safety tech­nol­ogy the Fi­esta is ex­pected to achieve a five-star rat­ing. Un­sur­pris­ingly for a Ford, the driv­ing po­si­tion is pretty much spot on and – in most trims at least – there’s plenty of seat ad­just­ment to help you get com­fort­able.

The ST-Line trim in 1.0-litre 138bhp guise is the sporti­est Fi­esta avail­able un­til the full­fat ST ap­pears next year, and makes for a pretty de­cent “warm” hatch.

As ever, the char­ac­ter­ful 1.0litre EcoBoost is a joy to rev all the way to the lim­iter, but with 180Nm of torque de­liv­ered at as low as 1,500rpm it feels just as flex­i­ble at less fran­tic en­gine speeds too.

Park­ing is now even eas­ier thanks to an op­tional park as­sist sys­tem, which can han­dle ne­go­ti­at­ing the car in and out of both par­al­lel spa­ces and typ­i­cal su­per­mar­ket per­pen­dic­u­lar bays.

Value for money

There’s no hid­ing that Ford is push­ing the Fi­esta into more pre­mium realms, par­tic­u­larly in Vig­nale spec, but thank­fully most trim lev­els don’t see much of a price jump over the pre­vi­ous model.

A three-door Zetec with the 98bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost, for ex­am­ple, costs £120 less than the equiv­a­lent old Fi­esta de­spite a few bits of ex­tra kit. Ford has added more tempt­ing op­tions than ever, though, and many are lim­ited to higher trim lev­els than you might like.

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