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?
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.