The Ford Fiesta – Britain’s best-selling car for many of its 40 years in production and one of the most important models on the market. It is the benchmark for other manufacturer to match, and a moniker that carries a lot of weight with it.
The latest generation of the Fiesta – the Mk. 8 – was released earlier this year, with the ST-Line heading the range – with it including many of design cues from the sporty model.
Unlike the upcoming ST, it can come with an economical diesel engine, which may attract customers who want the style of the ST but the running costs of a standard supermini.
But can the Fiesta keep its crown, or is it vulnerable to the ever-improving pack behind? We find out…
Our test car came with a 1.5-litre diesel producing 118bhp and 270Nm of torque. That means a top speed of 121mph and a 0-60mph time of 8.8 seconds – not exactly swift, but fast enough. But the important figures about this engine setup is its potential to achieve 80.7mpg and emit less than 90g/km CO2 – meaning lower running costs.
This engine is paired to a six-speed manual gearbox – while the petrol units available to the ST-Line can also be fitted with an automatic transmission with the 99bhp unit. Also on offer are 112bhp and 123bhp models.
Ride & Handling
As you would expect with the Fiesta, the latest version is great to drive – plain and simple. When cornering at higher speeds it feels easy to control, has light steering and you can feel how easy it is to place. This was highlighted on the Welsh mountain roads we tested it on. The suspension keeps up, too, which other popular hatchbacks fail to achieve – meaning a settled and assured ride.
In town, the electric power steering seems to overtake a bit too much, meaning you don’t get as much feel – but this is easy to get used to. When on the motorway, it can cope with the long stretches and feels perfectly comfortable when needed to cruise. So, when it comes to the Fiesta, comfort is one of the multiple guarantees.
Interior & Equipment
One clear upgrade over the previous model is the interior feel, as Ford has given the ST-Line a more premium feel with a leather, flat-bottomed steering wheel and softer materials for the trim to make it feel more welcoming.
Passenger space is good as well, but the sweeping roofline will limit headroom for taller occupants who may not want to be in the back seats for too long. Legroom can also be a limiting factor for six-footers. In terms of the boot, the Fiesta has 292 litres with the rear bench up, and 1,093 litres with the seats down – plenty of space for moving things around.
Available with two specs, ST-Line and ST-Line X, this Fiesta comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime-running lights, Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, DAB radio and sports suspension as standard.
In the X spec we reviewed, Ford adds LED taillights, tinted rear windows, part-leather seats, rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming rear-view mirror – with a few optional extras thrown in, such as the Bang and Olufson-engineered ‘B&O Play’ sound system (a £300 extra) and a panoramic sunroof.
From base spec, the ST-Line costs £19,975 – which for a hatchback of this size, equipment and performance is a reasonable amount. But with optional extras added, the model we tested cost £21,535. For how the car drives and the features on offer, that isn’t to ridiculous at all – consider the Audi A1 costs much more to be in a similar spec.
Running costs are low too, thanks to the low emissions and very frugal diesel setup – so if you’re looking for a cheap-to-run hatchback with great design features and optional extras, the ST-Line could fit into that role perfectly.
There isn’t more to add that hasn’t been said about the Fiesta. It’s fun, reliable and has plenty of great features on offer to make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Although the steering can feel numb around town and the SYNC system has been irksome in the past, the Fiesta ST-Line is more than capable of helping the Fiesta become the market’s best-seller yet again – and for quite an affordable outlay too!