The astonishing success of the current generation of Ford Fiesta has been based on two convergent facts: first the sixth generation of Fiesta was good enough to lead the class from the moment of its introduction in 2008; second that introduction coincided with global economic meltdown forcing mass downsizing in the European car market. 

Suddenly people who’d never even considered a shopping car found themselves eye to eye with the Fiesta. And perhaps to their surprise, they liked what they saw.

At its launch in 2008, this latest incarnation was as distinctive as the previous version was not. It was a genuinely handsome car, but like most modern Fords, ubiquity softened the impact of its design. 

It was given a nose job in 2013 as part of a number of visual tweaks, and new engines were introduced to ensure it continued to cut a dash. But while the success of the huge trapedozial grille treatment has been widely debated, the addition of the three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine has been roundly praised.

Predictably for a car that has become the UK’s top seller, the range is vast, overlapping the smaller Ka at the bottom and the larger Focus at the top.

Aside from the new three-pot Ecoboost engine in two power outputs, powerplants include 1.25, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrols and 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesels. Trim levels are the familiar Studio, Edge, Zetec and Titanium, all of which are available on the in three and five-door models. There are also the low-CO2 Econetic models to look out for.

Perhaps the Fiesta’s biggest trump card is its big-car feel. At its 2007 launch, no other cooking supermini felt as solid or grown up, and its ride shamed cars from a class or two above. Handling offered a verve that even some hot hatches failed to match.

Years on from the car’s original launch, does the Fiesta still match the best in the supermini class? Read on for the full review to find out.

Looking for a used Ford Fiesta? Visit PistonHeads Classifieds

Top 5 Superminis

  • Ford Fiesta
    Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

    Ford Fiesta

    1
  • Mini Cooper
    Its various improvements make the new Mini more desirable and practical than ever before

    Mini Cooper

    2
  • The Mazda 2
    The Mazda 2 name dates back to 2002. This latest version showcases the firm's Skyactiv technology and 'Kodo' styling

    Mazda 2

    3
  • Volkswagen Polo
    The Polo is a polished, mature-feeling, spacious supermini

    Volkswagen Polo

    4
  • Renault Clio
    Distinctive styling details are taken from the showstopping Renault Dezir concept car

    Renault Clio

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    3 May 2016
    New entry-level 1.8 TFSI engine takes over from Audi's 2.0 TFSI as the cheapest way into a TT Roadster, but is it necessarily the best choice?
  • First Drive
    3 May 2016
    Audi's SQ7 is silly fast, and makes a silly noise, at a silly price – but contains tech that will prove incredibly influential
  • First Drive
    2 May 2016
    There's lots of work yet to be done, but the Aston Martin DB11's hardware has been signed-off. To experience it, we've driven a prototype
  • First Drive
    1 May 2016
    If you like Minis, going quickly and basking in the sun, then you're in luck; we've driven Mini's new John Cooper Works Convertible on foreign roads
  • Lotus Elise Cup 250
    First Drive
    29 April 2016
    The fastest, most track-focused and most expensive Elise ever made. It's simple, raw and immersive