As Britain’s most popular car ever, the Ford Fiesta is a true icon. With a history spanning more than 45 years, this supermini has been the choice of car for many people over the years.
Even all these years – and seven generations – later, the Fiesta remains a popular choice, and though buyers might increasingly be favouring SUVs these days, it remains as relevant as ever.
With the most recent generation of Fiesta first launching in 2017, it’s now time for a mid-life update. Styling changes include a reworked front end, with the main revisions being a redesigned grille incorporating the Ford badge and new LED lights.
The Fiesta also gets a tech makeover, with a raft of new features introduced – including Matrix LED headlights, a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and additional driver assistance technology. But can these changes keep the Ford Fiesta at the top of the pack? Let’s get behind the wheel and see.
The Fiesta line-up begins with a small 74bhp 1.1-litre petrol engine, which comes paired to a five-speed manual. It’s a great option for new drivers, but its 14.5-second 0-60mph time is rather slow.
The rest of the engines focus on Ford’s 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine. A 99bhp model is the first, comes with a six-speed manual transmission, and is able to hit 60mph in 10.6 seconds.
Our pick of the line-up, though, is the 123bhp version, which also uses fuel-saving mild-hybrid technology. Available with a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic, it’s able to accelerate from 0-60mph in a reasonable 9.2 seconds. Yet, at the same time, it’s also the most efficient Fiesta in the line-up – Ford claiming an impressive 56.5mpg and 114g/km CO2 emissions.
Ride and handling
The Fiesta has always been among the best cars to drive in the supermini class, and that hasn’t changed here. It’s a brilliantly set up car, particularly in ST-Line form where it gets a sportier suspension setup that helps to keep it flatter through the corners. The steering is also precise, adding to the sense of driver enjoyment, while the turbocharged engines are fantastic – particularly the mild-hybrid that almost feels boosty.
However, despite the sporty feel, the Fiesta remains a fantastic car to drive on a daily basis. Refinement is excellent, and it has no trouble sitting at motorway speeds and keeping up with traffic. For maximum comfort, you might be better off avoiding an ST-Line model, but otherwise, there is little to complain about.
All Fiesta models now feel modern inside, with an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included across the line-up, and all but the entry-level Trend trim also get satellite navigation and FordPass Connect to access a raft of online services. Top-spec models also get the new digital instrument cluster, though we reckon versions without this feel no worse off. It’s a shame the Fiesta doesn’t benefit from the same SYNC 4 system as found on the new Focus, however, as this would lift the cabin further.
The rest of the interior doesn’t quite have the same wow factor as others in this segment, particularly the Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio, but with decent rear seat space and a 311-litre boot, it’s roomy enough for a small family car.
Choice is key to the Fiesta’s appeal, with a wide choice of trim levels offered. The Trend model isn’t particularly lavishly equipped, but gets everything it needs to, including LED headlights, air conditioning, cruise control and an eight-inch touchscreen.
Upgrading to the Titanium brings satellite navigation, keyless start and rear parking sensors, with a Titanium X trim adding 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control and heated front seats.
If you want a sportier look, the ST-Line is the one to go for, with equipment mirroring the Titanium, but gaining smarter 17-inch alloy wheels and a more aggressive bodykit. The ST-Line X then packs larger 18-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, a reversing camera and a digital instrument cluster.
For those wanting more of an SUV look, the Active model will appeal, with its raised ride height and chunkier looks giving it a unique design.
Reflecting the Fiesta’s step upmarket, it’s not quite the bargain it once was. Prices now start from £18,655 for the entry-level Trend model, but for the better engine, you’ll need to pay £19,405.
ST-Line and Titanium models (the versions to go for) both start north of £20,000 too, with top-spec versions costing more than £26,000. That’s a lot of money for a Ford Fiesta.
Despite relatively small updates, the Ford Fiesta remains one of the top contenders in the supermini class. It’s as good to drive as ever, while its practicality and pleasant interior mean it will be a hassle-free car to live with.
With some strong engines under the bonnet, it delivers a great mix of performance and efficiency too. Though a bit expensive in top-spec form, and not quite as modern as some rivals, it remains a very capable small car.Enquire on a new Ford Fiesta