A lit­tle car living up to its big ti­tle

Chris Knap­man finds out what it’s like to live with Bri­tain’s best-sell­ing car, the fan­tas­tic Ford Fi­esta

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Cars -

At the time I didn’t re­alise the sig­nif­i­cance of my ac­tions. That by nom­i­nat­ing the Fi­esta as the Tele­graph’s Car of the Year 2014, it would tip the re­sult in its favour, and thus put me be­hind the wheel of a test car not for a week or two but a full year, day in, day out, through rain or, well, mostly just rain so far ac­tu­ally. The idea be­hind this, and in­deed all of our long-term tests, is to bring you an even richer pic­ture of what a par­tic­u­lar model is like to live with, and thus bet­ter in­form you when the time comes to choose your next car. True to that, much time was spent weigh­ing up where the sweet­est spot in the Fi­esta range lay in terms of value for money. By re­mark­able co­in­ci­dence, this turned out to be ex­actly the same spec that we rec­om­mend to read­ers on our de­tailed re­views web­site (shame­less plug alert num­ber one), tele­graph.co.uk/cars. In Septem­ber, three months af­ter I placed the or­der, a 1.0-litre petrol Eco­boost in Zetec trim was de­liv­ered, to which I’d added power fold­ing mir­rors and rear prox­im­ity sen­sors (both use­ful for on-street park­ing), metal­lic paint, an alarm, DAB ra­dio and ac­tive city brak­ing, which will au­to­mat­i­cally per­form an emer­gency stop, should I for­get. All of which in­flated the car’s base price of £14,545 to £15,740. If that sounds ex­pen­sive for a small car, bear in mind that dis­counts are read­ily avail­able (wit­ness a fel­low Fi­esta driver who just picked up a higher-spec Ti­ta­nium model with sat­nav for £13,500) and you are re­ally just pay­ing mar­ket rates. Which, in turn is one of the rea­sons the Fi­esta has been the UK’s best-sell­ing car for seven con­sec­u­tive years. You can find out in more de­tail how I’ve been get­ting on with our Ford, as well as read weekly up­dates about the cars run by my col­leagues, by check­ing our long-term test pages at (shame­less plug num­ber two) tele­graph.co.uk/ cars/long-term-tests. You will see that de­spite a cou­ple of nig­gles, the over­all pic­ture is so far very pos­i­tive, with the com­bi­na­tion of good pack­ag­ing, lively per­for­mance and a ride and han­dling bal­ance that is bet­ter re­solved than on 90 per cent of the other cars I test all count­ing in its favour. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the lit­tle Ford is one of the most en­joy­able cars to drive this side of £50,000, which is all the more im­pres­sive when you re­mem­ber it’s not a flame­spit­ting hot hatch, but a per­fectly stan­dard su­per­mini. My ex­pe­ri­ence with the fuel econ­omy has not been quite as glow­ing. The fig­ures range from as low as 36mpg to as high as 44mpg, nei­ther of which sits very well against a claimed 60.1mpg. For that I blame a com­bi­na­tion of lots of short jour­neys from cold and Mrs K’s heavy right foot, which hope­fully won’t be within strik­ing dis­tance when she reads this. The only thing our lit­tle fam­ily oc­ca­sion­ally strug­gles with is the limited boot space, which means we can’t use the Fi­esta for week­ends away. I’m aware that’s like buy­ing shoes that you know are a size too small and com­plain­ing when they don’t fit. Which is why my vote for Car of the Year 2015 goes to the Bent­ley Fly­ing Spur. Ford Fi­esta 1.0T Eco­boost Price as tested: £15,740 Power: 99bhp 0-62 mph: 11.2sec Av­er­age mpg: 60.1 Rat­ing:

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