Nic Cackett
18 January 2013

What is it?

Our first drive of the facelifted Fiesta - Britain’s biggest seller - on home turf. Despite the car's newness, some 17,000 buyers have already placed a deposit on a 2013 model.

Who can blame them? There are detailed alterations in the fine print, but to these eyes it’s an already good-looking supermini made prettier. Beneath the finery Ford has now fitted arguably the best engine of last year.

Not all will buy the 1.0-litre Ecoboost model, of course - the venerable 1.25 and 1.6-litre Duratec and two versions of diesel Duratorq are also available. The three-cylinder EcoBoost is now the headliner, and of its three sub 100g/km CO2 variants this, the 99bhp mid-ranger with five doors, is predicted to make up the bulk of sales.

Ford won’t let you buy an Ecoboost engine in its entry-level Style spec, but a new range-topping Titanium X level has been added to the other end of the range. Satellite navigation migrates to the supermini for the first time (albeit as a cost option) and better tech, including the innovative, parent-friendly MyKey, help to make it seem younger and better equipped than ever.

What is it like?

First, if only to make the early adopters sweat, here are the niggles. The Fiesta’s interior has been spruced with new buttons, rehashed door cards and fresh trim materials. But the architecture still smacks a little too much of shiny surface gloss rather than ageless appeal. While that won’t trouble deposit-paying parents today, their offspring might find the cabin dates too quickly for their liking.

It’s a noisier space, too, thanks to the offbeat presence of the Ecoboost. As we discovered with the B-Max recently, refinement turns out to be more of an issue on Ford’s smaller platform than it is aboard the larger Focus – the vibrations inherent in the irregular three-pot rhythm register more vividly here.

It’s installation has also required the electric power steering to be retuned. Despite brimming with the usual suppleness when in use, it now suffers from a touch too much artificial weight on the straight-ahead (particularly as the front end is now lighter than ever). Finally, slightly fickle throttle mapping makes it easy to spill forward on the engine’s initial torque delivery when really all you require is a constant velocity.

Quibbles galore, then? Well, no, not really. The blemishes are all sheltered beneath the familiar Ford polish. The Fiesta’s appeal, perhaps even more so than the Focus, is underwritten by its dynamics. And, for all its thrummy grumble, the new motor is a compelling counterpart.

It’s predictably less giving at the top end of its lower output (and lacks an overboost function), but the same 125lb ft appears at 1400rpm and keeps the five-speed, 1101kg supermini remarkably tractable. While its accelerator pedal could do with a little more consistency, the engine's underlying energy means its happy to push on at all engine speeds.

Crucially, this ensures the Fiesta is eminently usable whether it is on the motorway in its leggy top gear or scurrying down a B-road in any of the preceding ratios. The chassis remains as well suited to the UK’s roads as any conceived since its 2008 debut. The car, which delivered 55.6mpg on the 70-mile journey home, conceals its compromises incredibly well.

Should I buy one?

Certainly. Doubtless those with a more committed driving style, or perhaps buyers from the class above, will appreciate the extra power afforded by the higher output version – which neatly shrinks the 0-62mph time beneath 10 seconds – but as a family runaround (the Fiesta’s starring role) this 99bhp version deserves its expected popularity.

Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0-litre EcoBoost 100PS

Price £14,245; 0-62mph 11.2 seconds; Top speed 112mph; Economy 65.7mpg; Co2 99g/km; Kerb weight 1101kg; Engine Three-cylinder, 999cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 99bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 125lb ft at1400-4500rpm; Gearbox Five-speed manual; Fuel tank 42 litres; Boot 276 litres; Wheels 15-inch alloys

Join the debate

Comments
44

I dont doubt it drives OK,

1 year 40 weeks ago

I dont doubt it drives OK, but how can a mear 1100KG car take over 11 seconds to 60 when you have 99 bhp, and plenty of low down torque?

That aside, i dont like the look of the revised Fiesta in the photos, but they look much better on the road (oddly). That only leaves the interior as a downside.

Are you Troy Queef in disguise?

1 year 40 weeks ago

Nic, sorry but your reviews are unreadable after a few sentences.

With this engine, the Fiesta

1 year 40 weeks ago

With this engine, the Fiesta is now all the supermini most people will ever need.

Personally, the interior still leaves me cold but as a package it really is quite complete.

Strange as it may sound, I am looking forward to seeing the test of the non turbo version of this engine in the Fiesta.  Whilst it won't be as all round accomplished as the turbo models (in either power output) it could be a sweet little car (I have a soft spot for non blown three cylinders).

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Another review where the

1 year 40 weeks ago

Another review where the language is over flowery so that I have to read the paragraphs more than once to get what's being said. It makes it hard work!

Also, to me, it gives the impression that you can only get this engine in top spec trims, which is not the case. Its probably going to be the popular choice in the Zetec trim level.

Drivel

1 year 40 weeks ago

" the wind-in-your-sails impression of latent energy makes it keen to push on at all engine speeds."

What does this drivel mean!?  I would have assumed that a career in automotive journalism would require some degree of mastery of the English language and, more importantly, the ability to write with clarity.

This isn't helpful.  It's not big and it's not clever - just write clearly and simply please - I doubt anybody's impressed and quite a few are likely to be annoyed.

"Ford's facelift of the

1 year 40 weeks ago

"Ford's facelift of the Fiesta improves on what was already a handsome car"

Do you think? I think the new front end is ghastly.

No Thanks ...

1 year 40 weeks ago

So ... You are trying to convince us to buy a £14K plus car with a ghastly, plasticky interior; a noisy, vibrating engine; and dull steering ... No thanks ...

@Artill - It doesn't seem

1 year 40 weeks ago

@Artill - It doesn't seem that fast but maybe it's because it's not shod with wide sports rubber like a true hot hatch. You only need a moment's wheelspin off the line to drop the 0-60 times by a second or two. I'd guess that once it's in it's stride it feels pokey enough. But I agree on paper 11 secs is an unexciting figure.

Evo_ermine wrote:@Artill -

1 year 40 weeks ago

Evo_ermine wrote:

@Artill - It doesn't seem that fast but maybe it's because it's not shod with wide sports rubber like a true hot hatch. You only need a moment's wheelspin off the line to drop the 0-60 times by a second or two. I'd guess that once it's in it's stride it feels pokey enough. But I agree on paper 11 secs is an unexciting figure.

Apparently Ford have decided to fit this new Fiesta with higher profile tyres across the range to improve ride quality.

Just read the captions to the photos and it directly states that you can only get this engine in top spec (pricey) trim. If the reviewer isn't sure he could perhaps buy a copy of What Car? where they've just tested it in Zetec trim..... 

Come on Autocar, please get the basic facts right!

New front end is ugly, as is

1 year 40 weeks ago

New front end is ugly, as is the dash. Obviously it will sell well, but I can't help feeling the motoring press's opinion of the Fiesta places it much higher than the reality.

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Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

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