Were Autocar not about reviewing cars for enthusiasts, our verdict on the new Ford Fiesta might not have been as praiseworthy. Certainly, there are more useful and versatile rivals. Some are also cheaper and others are similarly refined. If those are your priorities, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.
A Volkswagen Polo is a plusher, more comfort-orientated rival that will hold its value better. The likes of the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20 get the nod on value. A Mini or Fiat 500 will beat it for style and even the Nissan Juke crosses over into Fiesta territory with a bit of SUV attitude.
The Fiesta is, however, at least above average at everything it does. It has an intriguing interior design, excellent ergonomics, a competent if unexceptional drivetrain and a good-looking exterior.
The key, though, is that right now it is dynamically without an equal. It’s a car that’s crying out for an engine to do the chassis justice. That’s not to say the Fiesta isn't fun; ignoring the 59bhp 1.25 engine, any other choice will allow you to drive with a smile on your face thanks to the quick-witted steering and fluid handling.
The Econetic, for an eco-biased supermini, makes a great case for itself, too. It blends strong economy, low emissions and strong handling in an impressive and tempting package.
So for anyone with more than a passing interest in the way a car drives, the Fiesta is the supermini we would recommend over any others. But while the new Fiesta is hugely impressive, it doesn’t reign in every department.