Small isn’t always beautiful, and that’s perhaps why the Ford Fiesta has grown bit by bit in the 40 years it’s been on the scene. Now, it’s bigger and better than ever, as a motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
I don’t think anybody craves a Fiesta, but I bet many people have owned or driven one at some point in their life. This is because the car is easy to drive; it’s cheap to run and it’s simple to find one to lease or buy. What’s more, in the case of used Fiestas, if they ever go wrong, there’s always someone around who can fix them.
In my younger motoring years, I drove an old 1979 Fiesta 1300S. It was silver with black ‘go-faster’ stripes, concluding with a proud ‘S’ on the rear flanks. In truth, it was more bronze than silver, due to rust. But it was an awesome car that got me through a year of cash-strapped student-life. That was back in the early 90s, but nothing much has changed, in terms of what the hatchback from the brand with the blue oval offers. Indeed, the all-new Ford Fiesta, now in its eighth incarnation, stills suits pretty much any lifestyle.
The range of Fiestas now encompasses the Fiesta Titanium, the sporty Fiesta ST-Line and the luxury-oriented Fiesta Vignale. And the compelling all-new Fiesta is supported by an assortment of technologies and features. Across the line-up, these include hands-free parking, technology to detect pedestrians, a panoramic glass roof that opens, and a top sound system from Bang & Olufsen.
At first glance, the new Fiesta isn’t all that different, but step around to the rear and it’s a different story. Bigger, flatter tail-lights give the hatchback a more mature appearance than before. And, crucially, it soon becomes obvious that the Fiesta is now larger. Not only is the hatchback 12mm wider and 71mm longer, but there’s also a further 4mm in the car’s wheelbase; all of which means more room in the cabin.
I couldn’t drive every new Fiesta at its media launch in Spain – that would have been greedy. So, I went for the admired ST Line trim, with the most potent 140ps variety of the established 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine. ST Lines get an additional measure of magnetism, thanks to a body kit with side skirts, deep front bumpers and a spoiler on the tailgate.
Step inside, and there’s now more legroom for rear seat occupants. The boot is also bigger than before at 292-litres. Certainly, you’ll see that everything has been changed in the cabin. Most of the cheap-to-touch plastics are gone, the random shower of buttons has disappeared, and the dated, one-colour screens have been replaced. It’s a much classier deal inside the Fiesta now, with only the scratchy plastics around the electric window buttons preventing you from thinking you’re in an Audi A3 or VW Golf. There are padded, soft-to-the-touch, materials in most places and the rest of the car feels hewn-out-of-granite. This Fiesta is going to be able to withstand years of abuse.
The most noticeable bit of tech in the cabin is the massive touchscreen that is sat on top of the dashboard. It looks a bit stuck on, and maybe it could’ve been incorporated better, but it’s clear and intuitive to use. You can also hook up your smartphone via the increasingly popular Android Auto and Apple Car Play. My ST Line was also kitted out with the aforementioned Bang & Olufsen audio system.
But what’s the new Ford Fiesta like to drive? Well, I haven’t tested it on UK roads, but the undulating tarmac of North-Western Spain gave me a good idea of what to expect on these shores. The ST Line trim level rides low and harder, and that translates into a splendid, flat, cornering experience. The suspension isn’t so stiff that you’re uncomfortable, though. My car sopped up the odd Spanish pothole and multitude of ‘sleeping policemen’ I seemed to find along my urban test routes delightfully. The driving position is excellent, with good wheel and seat adjustment, and the pedals and gear lever are placed so you never feel ‘off-centre’ in your seat.
The all-new Ford Fiesta 1.0T 140 ST-Line is very hushed on the move, with only the thrum of the three-cylinder engine breaking the silence – and then that’s only when hooning the car. When not in boy-racer mode, the cabin induces a feeling of tranquillity. But, as I’ve more than hinted, the hatchback is no slouch, with 0-62mph arriving in 9.0 seconds, on to a top speed of 125mph. More importantly, you can squeeze a claimed average of 62.8mpg out of the tank. Visibility is top-notch, too, and when any point-and-squirt speedy action is over, three-point-turns and parallel parking area a piece-of-cake, due to the good visibility and the dexterity of Ford’s steering.
The Fiesta is one of the most important cars for the UK, and it’s plain to see that the marque eight versions of the hatchback aren’t going to disappoint. The 1.0T 140 ST-Line is a hoot to drive on the straights and through corners, yet it’s practical, quiet and economical. It basically ticks all the boxes – and more, if a small family car with a bit of ‘zing’ is what you’re after. The all-new Ford Fiesta is on sale now, so come and talk to us at Perry’s to find out more about the car.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Acceleration √
- Handling √
- Kit √
- Efficiency √
- Plastics around electric window switches X
Fast Facts (1.0T 140 ST-Line – as tested)
- Max speed:125 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 62.8
- Engine layout: 999cc three-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 140
- CO2: 102 g/km
- Price: £17,595