By Steve Berry
IF you’re in the market for a small car – or super-mini as they’re called these days – then there’s never been more choice; but if you were asked to name a few small cars, you’d probably start with the best-selling of them all: the Ford Fiesta.
So, I’ve taken the nation’s favourite small car to see if it is still worthy of the plaudits – or are there really are better alternatives out there for the money?
For this seventh generation Fiesta Ford have adopted the old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude when it comes to the cars exterior; and who can blame them? The Fiesta has been the best-selling car (small or not) in the UK for the last zillion years.
This doesn’t mean to say the Fiesta isn’t an appealing car to look at but familiarity does breed contempt – although in the little Ford’s case it’s more anonymity than contempt.
Sure, it’s a little softer around the edges than the outgoing car but the familiar wedge shape is still there which gives the car dynamism and is obviously a popular trait.
However, other than the more rounded look, horizontal rear light clusters and a Mondeo-type front end, you’d be hard-pushed to tell the new Fiesta apart from the outgoing Fiesta.
Inside is where you’ll notice the greatest difference and the good news is that it is much improved and includes some great tech as well as a bang-up-to-date looks.
It is a little “button-heavy” when compared to the C3 but those buttons are logically laid out and all have a quality feel to them that is reassuring. In fact, all the materials used in my £16,795 Fiesta Titanium model had a decent feel – something which is lacking, to varying degrees, in other cars.
The driving position is spot-on and the leather-clad, multi-function steering wheel feels fantastic. You won’t struggle to get comfortable either as the driver’s seat is adjustable for height and that wheel has both rake and reach adjustment.
The Fiesta is well equipped too when it comes to driver aids and driver entertainment with its excellent Ford SYNC 3 8in touchscreen which includes Sat Nav, Emergency Assistance, DAB Radio and Apple CarPlay along with Android Auto.
Its Quickclear Heated Windscreen may be enough on its own to convince some buyers who don’t have access to a garage but there are other gems too, like traffic sign recognition, automatic high beam, keyless, push-button start/stop, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
Useful options include advance auto park (£500), pop-out door edge protectors (£85) and the driver assistance pack (£200).
Rear accommodation is about on-par with rivals, which means you can take a couple of adults in varying degrees of comfort.
Knee room is good if you’re less than 6ft and head room is fine unless you’re sat in the middle seat where you’ll find yourself having to stoop a little.
Boot space is adequate and in-line with main rivals, with 303 litres available when the split-folding rear seats are upright and 984 litres when the seats are down.
However, the Fiesta’s greatest selling-point has always been the way it drives and I’m happy to report this is still the case. The 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine is a joy to use and although 100 PS and 170Nm of torque is adequate, the little Fiesta makes it feel like you have much more power under your right foot.
It’s also a very satisfying drive dynamically, managing the 0-62 mph sprint in a respectable 10.5 seconds. You can have a lot of fun as it holds onto the road so well for a small family hatchback and the gear-change is slick and satisfying from the 6-speed box.
All in all, the new Fiesta most certainly represents the best all-round package and that tried-and-trusted EcoBoost engine is a belter. It may not be the most inspiring to look at but it has a classy interior and definitely makes the most sense if you enjoy your driving.
AT A GLANCE:
Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.0 litre EcoBoost
OTR Price: £16,795
Engine: 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder petrol
Power: 100 PS
Transmission: 6-speed Manual
0-62mph: 10.5 secs
Top Speed: 113 mph
Economy: 65.7 mpg