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RAY MASSEY: New Ford Fiesta is frugal but fun


New Ford Fiesta Titanium 5-door 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Price as driven: £18,950

How easy it is to take the Fiesta for granted. It’s almost part of the fabric of our roads.

More than 4.5 million of us have bought one in the 41 years since its launch in 1976, with a million sold since 2008.

And it has been the nation’s bestselling car annually for the past eight years.

In the ultra-competitive world of small hatchbacks, if you snooze, you loose. But believe me, you won’t feel like having a siesta with this new model . . . 

Seventh-generation: More than 4.5 million of us have bought a Ford Fiesta in the 41 years since its launch in 1976, with a million sold since 2008

Seventh-generation: More than 4.5 million of us have bought a Ford Fiesta in the 41 years since its launch in 1976, with a million sold since 2008

Seventh-generation: More than 4.5 million of us have bought a Ford Fiesta in the 41 years since its launch in 1976, with a million sold since 2008

First the good points:

I had to check I really was driving the frugal, turbocharged, 1-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost model in this eighth-generation car. They’ve squeezed a lot of juice from a small engine.

It’s a taut, tight drive; zippy and nippy round town and on the highway, thanks to a stiffer chassis offering 10 per cent more cornering grip.

The highly efficient 100 bhp motor goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.2 seconds, to a top speed of 113 mph.

A slick, smooth six-speed manual gearbox adds to the driving fun. It punches its way along the motorway, eager to overtake, but also crawls smoothly in traffic. 

Style: The new Fiesta is little different from the model it replaces so you won't stand out from the crowd

Style: The new Fiesta is little different from the model it replaces so you won't stand out from the crowd

Style: The new Fiesta is little different from the model it replaces so you won’t stand out from the crowd

Handling: It's a taut, tight drive; zippy and nippy round town and on the highway, thanks to a stiffer chassis offering 10 per cent more cornering grip

Handling: It's a taut, tight drive; zippy and nippy round town and on the highway, thanks to a stiffer chassis offering 10 per cent more cornering grip

Handling: It’s a taut, tight drive; zippy and nippy round town and on the highway, thanks to a stiffer chassis offering 10 per cent more cornering grip

Nippy: The highly efficient 100 bhp motor goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.2 seconds, to a top speed of 113 mph

Nippy: The highly efficient 100 bhp motor goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.2 seconds, to a top speed of 113 mph

Nippy: The highly efficient 100 bhp motor goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.2 seconds, to a top speed of 113 mph

That sharp driving experience is assisted by electronic stability aids. Ford claims the new Fiesta is the ‘most technologically advanced small car on sale’, thanks to 15 high-tech features, including blind-spot alert.

It’s easy on the pocket too, with an average economy of 65.9 mpg (up to 78.5 mpg cruising and 52.3 mpg around town), and low-tax CO2 emissions of just 97g/km. The Eco button adjusts engine and throttle to save even more fuel.

For more oomph from this mighty 1-litre engine, try the 125 and 140 bhp versions. There’s also a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with five-speed manual gearbox, too.

Tech: There's lots of standard kit, including a 4.2 in digital instrument cluster, traffic sign recognition, an 8 in tablet-style central touch screen for entertainment

Tech: There's lots of standard kit, including a 4.2 in digital instrument cluster, traffic sign recognition, an 8 in tablet-style central touch screen for entertainment

Tech: There’s lots of standard kit, including a 4.2 in digital instrument cluster, traffic sign recognition, an 8 in tablet-style central touch screen for entertainment

Cleaner: The new Fiesta has an average economy of 65.9 mpg (up to 78.5 mpg cruising and 52.3 mpg around town), and low-tax CO2 emissions of just 97g/km

A slick, smooth six-speed manual gearbox adds to the driving fun. It punches its way along the motorway, eager to overtake, but also crawls smoothly in traffic

Inside there’s good headroom and a welcome sense of space. Plus I felt comfortably supported in sports seats clad in a tasteful fabric pattern.

The Fiesta has great ergonomics — always a Ford strong point. It’s practical, with a place for everything and plenty of cubbyholes.

There’s lots of standard kit, including a 4.2 in digital instrument cluster, traffic sign recognition, an 8 in tablet-style central touch screen for entertainment, Ford’s satnav and smartphone links.

For more oomph from this mighty 1-litre engine, try the 125 and 140 bhp versions. There’s also a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with five-speed manual gearbox, too

Now the bad points:

You won’t stand out from the crowd. Styling is conservative, and it looks little different from the model it replaces.

The fetching deep-impact blue ‘premium’ paint is an extra £495.

The door interior feels a touch hollow and plastic — and out of kilter with other quality interior improvements.

It’s still a bit of a squeeze in the back, despite an extra 16mm of legroom and new, softer, slim- back seats.



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