The new Ford Fiesta has lost some of its quirky design features and some of its sharp dynamics in the interests of being a more appealing car to a broader customer base – so should it still be on your supermini shortlist?
The previous generation Fiesta received widespread acclaim for its impressive driving dynamics; for the new model to appeal to a wider audience, have compromises been made?
The new Fiesta has lost the quirky design details of its predecessor and it now looks more conventional. We think that it looks good overall, but the rear now looks somewhat bland.
The interior has also had attention, and the small, fiddly switches that were a feature of the centre console on the last model have gone. It feels like there’s sufficient space for front seat occupants, but there’s not a huge amount of rear seat legroom.
Our test car had the 1-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 100PS, and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The new Fiesta combines a comfortable ride with enjoyable handling and well-weighted steering. It’s the sort of supermini that you would want if you’re regularly driving down A and B-roads in the countryside. The Ford EcoBoost engine is generally responsive, it has the potential to be economical, and it’s mostly refined and quiet, however the car feels underpowered with the 100PS power output. There’s also turbo lag which results in some hesitancy with take-up at low revs, which is common with downsized 3-cylinder, 1-litre engines from a range of manufacturers.
Selecting the gear we wanted wasn’t always a slick process with the 6-speed manual gearbox in our test car, with first gear being especially clunky. There’s also no clutch foot rest.
Although the Fiesta is more of an all-round car than some superminis, road and wind noise are both evident on motorway journeys.
The small, fiddly buttons that were a feature of the centre console on the last Fiesta have gone, and a large touchscreen has appeared. This included a reversing camera on our test car, which was useful, but there was no satnav. However you can use your phone to view Google maps on the screen, which works adequately, although ultimately you don’t have the level of control that you do on most in-car satnav systems.
The official combined NEDC fuel economy figure for the Ford Fiesta 1.0 100PS EcoBoost Titanium 5-Door is 65.7 mpg – which is excellent for a petrol-engined car – and this equates to 97 g/km CO2. We achieved some excellent economy results, including 85mpg at a constant 50mph, and 51mpg at 70mph on the motorway. Overall, after a week of mixed driving, we averaged 51.8mpg, which is respectable for a downsized petrol engine in real-life driving. It’s worth noting that a Ford Fiesta Diesel achieved 122 mpg in real-life driving in the 2017 MPG Marathon.
The Ford Fiesta 1.0 100PS EcoBoost Titanium 5-Door costs £16,795. Our test car had the following options: Metallic Paint (£495), Driver Assistance Pack (£200), Door Edge Protectors (£86), Advanced Auto Park Assist (£500), Electric Rear Windows (£175), B&O PLAY Audio (£300), and 17″ Alloy Wheel Style Pack (£350). All the options totalled £2,106, taking the total price of our test car to £18,901.
There are a lot of different Fiesta models to choose from (over 70), starting at £13,165 and rising to £21,675. Trim levels include Style, Zetec, ST-Line, Titanium, Titanium X and Vignale, and there’s a range of petrol and diesel engine options, but these primarily consist of the 1-litre petrol EcoBoost engine and the 1.5 TDCi diesel engines with different power outputs.
Ford is facing challenging market conditions, as today’s car buyers want premium brands and SUVs rather than large saloons such as the Mondeo. There’s also continually increasing demand for electric cars, with diesel sales on the decrease, and Ford is behind the curve in this area too. So it’s all the more important that the new Fiesta hits the mark, and based on our test of the 1-litre 100PS model, we’d say that it succeeds in being an attractive all-rounder. The styling inside and outside shouldn’t offend most buyers, and the overall driving experience is refined and enjoyable. If you drive it carefully, then you can enjoy good economy, but as with all downsized petrol engines, if you drive it hard, the fuel economy will suffer. We’d personally prefer the 125PS engine rather than the 100PS engine tested, as it offers more performance, yet the fuel economy is identical. However perhaps the best news is that the base underneath this 100PS Fiesta bodes extremely well for the forthcoming Fiesta ST, which, like the last Fiesta ST, promises to provide the sort of appealing combination of performance and efficiency that Green Car Guide has been seeking out for the last 12 years. In the meantime the Ford Fiesta 1.0 100PS EcoBoost Titanium 5-Door gains a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.