From £9,715
Has everything it needs to be the new class leader

Our Verdict

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

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

What is it?

The seventh-generation of the Ford Fiesta – and the latest incarnation of a car that has done much to define small-car motoring in Britain since the original was launched in 1976.

Underneath the new model shares platform components with Mazda’s lightweight 2, as part of what Ford calls its Global Product Development System. But while the MacPherson strut front suspension and twist-beam rear suspension have been carried over, Ford engineers have altered bushings and spring and damper rates. European Fiestas will also get a stiffer twist beam at the rear, designed to aid handling.

As always, Ford will be offering a comprehensive choice of engines, from a basic 1.25-litre petrol all the way to the 1.6-litre TDCI diesel that we’re testing here, in range-topping Titanium trim. Spec includes air-con, 15in alloy wheels, projector headlamps, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps and trip computer – but then, it should be generous to justify the pricetag.

What’s it like?

It’s been a while since a Fiesta could genuinely claim to be a class benchmark, but this one can.

Inside, the new Fiesta feels like a class above many of its key rivals, and it feels at least two generations beyond the outgoing model.

The interior is nicely finished, attractive and spacious; Ford has based the car’s infotainment system and controls on a mobile phone, and the centre console is great to use.

The seats are supportive and comfortable, and while you sit some distance back from the steeply raked windscreen, frontal visibility is excellent. The prominent C-pillars do affect the view out of the rear three-quarters, though.

The dashboard has still a couple of hard plastic surfaces but they’re strategically placed so you’ll hardly notice. And everything that is on full display is soft to the touch and made of few enough pieces for us to suspect that it’ll stay rattle-free. Even in the early production car that we sampled, fit and finish felt excellent.

On the road the 1.6-litre diesel engine is not exactly silent under hard acceleration but it pulls hard enough. And once you’re up to cruising speed the noise deadening works a treat; we’d have no problems taking the Fiesta on long journeys, given this level of refinement and cabin quality.

Ford has been brave with its suspension set-up, and some may find the ride a bit busy around town, but in truth it delivers a fine all-round package that’s one of the Fiesta’s greatest assets. The steering is sharp and accurate, the five-speed gearbox is slick and the handling is beautifully balanced.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely, although we’re not sure that we’d opt for the range-topper, great though it is. Like all superminis, the Fiesta is going to make most sense in the middle of the range, where keen equipment is combined with competitive pricing. But, on first impressions, it looks like it’s got what it takes to be a class leader.

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Join the debate

Comments
10

25 August 2008

I really like the look of the new Fiesta! It will look rubbish as a base model, like a couple on the stand at the London Motor Show. That interior really does make the Corsa, Clio Ibiza Punto, Polo, 206 etc look extremely dull and boring!

26 August 2008

I have to disagree with the looks. I think the front looks cheap, there is nothing groundbreaking here, it just appears like a basic car. In 12 - 18 months this will be as dull looking as the last one. Like the Mondeo, journos banged on about its looks and styling, well on the road they look very average and very few part with their own money to buy one. In 12 months go to the car supermarkets and pick these up with very healthy discounts, just like you can the mondeos. Then it might make sense.

v8

26 August 2008

£14000 FOR A FIESTA !

26 August 2008

[quote v8]£14000 FOR A FIESTA ![/quote]

I assume by that you think it is a bit high for a Fiesta! Baring in mind this is a top spec version I don't think it is that bad actually, a diesel Corsa SXI costs £16,155!

I think they are trying to offer something for those people who want to downsize but not lose out on comfort and gadgets, there will be big demand for smaller cars in the next few years.

26 August 2008

Why does Ford continue to offer the 90bhp version? Little/no CO2 and fuel economy benefit. The 110bhp version of the engine would place the car well above the competition and compensate partly for the £14,000 asking price (despite being "fully loaded")

27 August 2008

[quote v8]£14000 FOR A FIESTA ![/quote]

Ahh, but on a Ford Finance package that will only cost you £120 per month.......

 

 

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

v8

27 August 2008

fair enough it got all the toys, buying a diesel car for economy and costs £14000, you can buy a New 1.2 petrol clio for £5995

28 August 2008

[quote v8]

you can buy a New 1.2 petrol clio for £5995

[/quote]

Well... that kind of money would get you where I live a 5-6 years old Clio, barely.

Ain't life great :-\

20 September 2008

Test drove Ford Fiesta today-good reviews etc-only had 1.25 (most basic trim) but told mechanicals are the same for each car. Wasn't impressed by it. Have ford done a clever trick in giving out top of the range models so everyone says how great it is? My girlfriends corsa (1.6 sri - 08 plate) is miles better in terms of gearchange, interior feels more solid also. Haven't tried the zetec-s and that is the one I wanted to try but the front headlamp was not fitted properly on the car I test drove - it had come loose after 88 miles. Watch out for the door handles on the inside of the car - made of plastic and felt flimsy!

20 September 2008

Don't know where you get your vauxhalls from but £16,155 for a corsa sxi - think you are looking at the corsa sri diesel and not the sxi!!!!

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