Ford Fiesta review

Find out more about the Ford Fiesta in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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  • Pros
  • - Fantastic to drive
  • - Broad number of trim levels
  • - Lots of standard safety kit
  • Cons
  • - Quite pricey
  • - Practicality not up there with the best superminis
  • - Firm ride on ST-Line versions
  • MPG
    46 - 74
  • CO2
    96 - 138 g/km
Model Review

 

Few cars are as recognisable to the general public as the Ford Fiesta, which is UK’s best-selling model by some margin and has been for some time.

 

The Fiesta has been around since 1976 and is now in its seventh generation. Ford has been onto a winner with its hatchback for some time and has extended its appeal even further through sportier variants, formerly known as ‘XR’ and ‘RS’, now referred to as the ST.

 

Ford has made the Fiesta appeal to all generations. From those having them as first cars to boy racers, small families and pensioners. The Fiesta is almost universally agreeable, so it’s unsurprising that the model is now the UK’s best-selling car ever, with over 4.5 million being registered to British buyers to date.

Latest model

 

The seventh-generation Fiesta was unveiled in June 2017, with its key improvements coming from the tech department.

 

The updated model adopted an evolutionary design over its predecessor, with a stylish —not fussy—design.

 

An eight-inch touchscreen is fitted to all versions, apart from the entry-level Style trim, and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well as emergency assistance.

 

Another key area improved on the new Fiesta is its arsenal of driver assistance technologies. Even the standard models come with lane-keep assist and automatic lights, while those higher up the line-up come with high-beam assist and traffic sign recognition.

 

The usual broad range of trim levels are also offered, including the sporty-looking ST-Line, which tends to appeal to younger buyers. It is also offered in Active which is essentially a Fiesta crossover, and range-topping Vignale guises —the latter of which serves as Ford’s premium sub-brand.

 

Value for money

 

Unsurprisingly all the extra kit fitted to the updated Fiesta means that prices have risen quite significantly; it now looks quite expensive compared to certain rivals.

 

Prices for the entry-level Style start from £13,965, although standard equipment isn’t especially generous. It gets Bluetooth and air-conditioning but misses out on a touchscreen and alloy wheels. That said, the standard safety kit is impressive on a car of this cost.

 

Prices jump as you go up the trim levels, all the way to £21,695 for the range-topping Vignale, which is just too much money for a non-performance Fiesta.

 

You can pick up old Fiestas for just a few hundred pounds, although our focus here is on the latest model. Prices for these start from around £8,500, which will buy a 2017 car in Zetec trim with around 10,000 miles on the clock. Six-month-old examples start from around £10,000, which again will buy you a well-specced Zetec model. ST-Line variants are the ones most in demand, with nearly-new examples starting from £12,000.

 

Looks and image

 

The latest Fiesta is an evolution of the previous model, so it’s not a radical car in terms of design. A stylish front grille, longer wheelbase and distinctive daytime running lights are undoubtedly the highlights in terms of design.

 

One interesting thing about Ford is that —unlike most manufacturers —it changes its styling slightly on each trim level. This adds a bit of extra flair to the models, as well as making it easier for consumers to differentiate between each version. ST-Line versions are the most style-led, with their honeycomb pattern grille, revised front, and rear bumpers and 17-inch alloy wheels.

 

The interior design has come on leaps and bounds compared to the last Fiesta, particularly with the fantastic Sync 3 eight-inch touchscreen, which comes as standard on all models minus the entry-level Style. Ford has added plenty of soft-touch plastics, while the use of different materials and colours also helps to add some extra flair to the cabin. It also feels far more refined inside, too, because of an acoustic windscreen and revised suspension to help reduce road noise.

 

But perhaps most importantly, what’s the Fiesta like to drive? This has often been where Ford’s supermini has excelled, and the latest model certainly won’t disappoint. The new model is grippier than before, while steering improvements make the Fiesta a sheer joy to drive on the road. Sharp handling can make the Fiesta feel like a hot hatch, even with the basic engines. And speaking of engines, the Fiesta is aided by some fantastic powerplants, particularly the highly acclaimed turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which is offered with three different power outputs.

Video Review

Space and practicality

 

Ford has put significant effort into ensuring that the latest Fiesta has improved interior space, most notably gifting the seventh-generation model with a longer wheelbase than its predecessor. The Fiesta is also one of the few superminis available with a choice of three-doors or five, and although the three-door is less practical, it’s the more stylish of the two.

 

The seating position is very comfortable with lots of adjustment, while the lengthier wheelbase results in more legroom than before. It no longer falls short of rivals in this department. There are plenty of storage spots dotted around the cabin, too, as well as a big glovebox.

 

The boot size isn’t the largest, though, and is about the same size as the last model, with 292 litres of luggage space on offer. Dropping the rear seats increases this to 1,093 litres, and although the boot has quite a high lip, a variable (flat) floor can be added as an optional extra.

 

Ford has also worked hard where safety is concerned, and it shows with the Fiesta’s five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP meaning it’s one of the safest cars in its class. Lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist are included as standard, with Titanium models adding traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and a driver attention alert. It’s a bit disappointing that automatic emergency braking is an optional extra, though.

 

Engines

 

A good range of petrol and diesel engines are available on the Fiesta.

 

Starting with petrol, the entry-level engine is a naturally-aspirated 1.1-litre, which comes with either 69bp or 84bhp. The most popular engine is the turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which can be had with 99bhp, 123bhp or 138bhp. The latter is the fastest engine in the range, minus the ST hot hatch, with a 0-60mph time of 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. The 99bhp petrol unit is the only engine available with the option of an automatic gearbox and the entry-level unit is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, while the EcoBoost gets a six-speed manual.

 

On the diesel side, there’s just one unit available with two outputs. It’s a 1.5-litre engine producing either 85bhp or 118bhp – the latter accelerating to 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds thanks to its impressive amount of torque. This comes paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, too.

 

Running costs

 

All engines fitted to the Fiesta are efficient, which should mean that running costs are affordable. The petrol model’s fuel economy figures range between 48.7mpg and 60.1mpg, with the 99bhp EcoBoost automatic being the least efficient, and the 123bhp version of the same motor proving to be the most frugal. CO2 figures range between 110g/km and 130g/km.

 

The diesels make the most sense to high-mileage drivers, with the 1.5-litre engine being particularly efficient. The claimed fuel economy figures range between 64.2mpg and 74.3mpg, with low CO2 emissions between 96g/km and 111g/km.

 

Insurance premiums should also be low on the Fiesta, and the 69bhp 1.1-litre engine makes a lot of sense as a first car thanks to its insurance grouping of two. Top-spec ST-Line and Vignale versions sit in group 15.

 

Servicing costs will also be affordable, and because Ford has the largest automotive dealer network in the UK, you’ll never be far away from your local dealership.

 

Things to look out for

 

The latest Fiesta has only been on sale less than two years at the time of writing, so its reliability has not yet been fully tested. There are yet to be any major complaints from owners, the only thing that has cropped up in ownership surveys concerns the EcoBoost engine, which doesn’t return the figures claimed by Ford.

 

One recall was issued in August 2018 for 2017MY Fiestas to address the driver’s seat, as bolts can become loose. It’s worth checking paperwork on a car you’re looking at to see if it’s had this recall work carried out.

 

Rivals

 

The supermini market is one of the most crowded and popular sectors in the UK, so there’s no shortage of rivals for the Fiesta. Key competitors include the Seat Ibiza, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Vauxhall Corsa. Other rivals worth looking at include the Peugeot 208, Suzuki Swift, Renault Clio, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Mazda2.

 

Depreciation

 

As the Fiesta is such a popular model, it means that there’s never any shortage of used cars for sale on the used market. This means that the Fiesta depreciates quite heavily, although that only makes the model more desirable on the used market.

 

Things to look out for

Potential Fiesta buyers should keep an eye out for electrical faults and clutch issues.

Consumer reviews on the Fiesta are overwhelmingly positive. Many owners say that they love driving the car, calling it a ‘pleasure’. However, many also mentioned that they had found either one or the other being problematic.

These problems would appear to be the most common on the Zetec. However, this is possible because it is the cheapest, ‘go-to model’, with the most owner experiences to be found online.

Owners of higher spec models such as the Titanium and ST were found to have experienced similar electrical faults, although they noted that Ford was quick to sort the issues.

Rivals

There are a lot of long-running rivals to the Fiesta in the B-segment. These include the Peugeot 208, Mazda 2, Honda Jazz, VW Polo and Citroen C3. The Alfa Romeo Mito, Dacia Sandero, Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Swift have also entered the market more recently.

The Fiesta sits in the middle of the range when it comes to pricing, but its impressive spec makes it stand out.

All versions feature alloy wheels, a six-speaker CD/radio, remote locking, electric windows and mirrors plus air conditioning as standard.

Depreciation warning

The Ford Fiesta tends to hold on to its value reasonably well, with depreciation of around 50 to 60 per cent generally seen after three years on basic models. The sportier STs hold their value slightly better thanks to their desirability.

Which Fiesta to Pick

Summary

  1. Britain’s best-selling car by some margin
  2. Superb to drive
  3. Excellent safety kit
  4. Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating
  5. Available as a three- or five-door
  6. Not as practical as rivals
  7. Quite expensive
  8. Stylish looks
  9. Strong trim and engine line-up
  10. Still one of the best superminis on sale