Ford throw down the gauntlet
All-new version of the best-selling Fiesta is going to be a hard car for the competition to challenge, finds Matt Allan
The Ford Fiesta has been Britain’s best-selling car for the last eight years, with a million of the outgoing model sold in the UK.
So in developing the new Fiesta Ford had to be careful not to spoil a winning formula.
To the casual observer the car doesn’t look all-new but this model is 7cm longer and 1.3cm wider than the old one. Closer inspection reveals a simplified body with fewer creases and bulges. It’s a clean, simple look that improves on the previous model.
While the exterior is a subtle refinement the interior is massively different. The old Fiesta’ s cabin felt old-fashioned and poorly thought out and virtually every rival offered something better.
Now it’s right back up there with the best of them. The cluttered, button-heavy centre stack has been replaced with a simple clear arrangement. Higher-spec models have an eight-inch touchscreen boasting the latest Sync3 system while lesser models have a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Sync 3 or a 4.2-inch screen with MyFord Dock for mobiles.
Whichever screen is present, the arrangements around it are logical and easy to use and the reshapedand feels a big step up in design and quality.
Around the cabin everything feels built to last, the seats are firm but comfortable and it feels spacious, although some rivals offer more rear space.
Refinement is a real strength, with excellent sound insulation and a smooth ride.
Higher end models get all sorts of goodies, including heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and that big touchscreen. But even the most popular Zetec trim features 15-inch alloys and the 6.5-inch touchscreen.
The Fiesta’s biggest strength has always been the way it drives and it still leads the pack. Composed dam ping means poor surfaces don’t ruin the ride but it maintains enviable body control. Quick and accurate steering engages the driver and make it a fun thing to pilot..
The flexible 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has been carried over in 99bhp, 123bhp and 138bhp tunes and now comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s a 1.1-litre non-turbo petrol and a new 1.5-litre diesel with 84bhp or 118mpg and a claimed combined economy of 88.3 mpg.
The 99bhp 1.0-litre is expected to remain the big seller. It’s quiet and smooth and delivers a good amount of pull. The 123bhp doesn’t feel much quicker and economy and emissions figures are virtually identical.
The Fiesta range starts at £12,715 for a 1.1-litre Style. Most popular is expected to be the manual five-door Zetec with the 99bhp petrol, which will set you back £15,445.
Whichever trim buyers go for they’re getting an excellent machine. Everything that made the old Fiesta such a success is still present and its biggest problem has been comprehensively dealt with. With a package as good as this it’s hard to see its best-seller title being lost any time soon.