Ford Fi­esta ST-Line

The Herald Magazine - - NEWS - AN­DREW MACKAY

THERE are a re­mark­able 72 vari­ants of the new Fi­esta, the eighth gen­er­a­tion, and with a start­ing price of £13,000 it puts some em­pha­sis on Ford’s de­ter­mi­na­tion never to be run­ner-up. I’ve been driv­ing the ST-Line model, which sits nearer the top of the chain – but this is not a per­for­mance car as un­der the bon­net is a 1.5-litre three­cylin­der diesel en­gine with an out­put of 120ps. The Fi­esta ST, an en­tirely different model, is fit­ted with a 200ps diesel.

Fords are among the lead­ers when it comes to plat­forms that deliver smooth rides. I was there­fore not sur­prised to be in a new Fi­esta that dis­played some pol­ish over the rough, weather-af­fected roads. It has a sports-tuned sus­pen­sion, which does not trans­late into a hard, crash­ing ride. And on 18in five-spoke al­loys there was hardly any road wheel noise. In fact, for a small car it was a no­tably quiet run­ner.

The en­gine was eco­nom­i­cal but it was hope­lessly un­der­pow­ered and on the many tight corners or sweep­ing, up­hill bends my left hand was con­stantly at­tached to the gear­stick. It sim­ply lacked any kind of agility and was of­ten an­noy­ingly gut­less when pulling away.

Later, on the mo­tor­way it was supremely quiet, per­form­ing ef­fec­tively; in fact, it was among the best small cars I’ve driven on the mo­tor­way.

The new model is longer and wider and this helps with interior space. The driv­ing po­si­tion, ped­als, sports seat and steer­ing wheel made my jour­ney com­fort­able. A large, tablet-style touch­screen sits on top of the dash­board, it is easy to use and the satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion is among the best and eas­i­est to op­er­ate I’ve come across.

The ST-Line car comes with lots of cos­metic dec­o­ra­tion to in­di­cate its sta­tus but my model had a num­ber of op­tions such as panorama sun roof (£600), rear park­ing dis­tance sen­sors (£200) and the ex­cel­lent and worth­while blind spot in­for­ma­tion sys­tem with cross traf­fic alert (£350) which warns you about move­ment around the car. All the ex­tras amounted to around £3000.

Ford is once again on to a win­ner with the new Fi­esta. Its plat­form, han­dling, ride and econ­omy plus tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances give it an over­all lead against its com­peti­tors.

One thing I’d cau­tion with this model is that the fuel flap has a green la­bel on it, which sug­gest un­leaded fuel. It is pos­si­ble to put petrol in this diesel car – it might be an idea if deal­ers or the com­pany it­self re­moved this mis­lead­ing la­bel and pre­vented po­ten­tial mis­fu­elling.

The lat­est, eighth gen­er­a­tion Ford Fi­esta comes in STLine trim and is both longer and wider

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