This is a test of three of the most appealing superminis available today: the established Ford Fiesta and two relative newcomers, the VW Polo and Citroen C3.
Today's supermini buyer expects of their purchase roughly what a buyer 20 years ago could demand of a small executive saloon: comfort, refinement, safety, ease of use, space for four adults and some fun.
If you needed more proof that times have changed, here's another shocker: the cheapest car in this test is the Volkswagen Polo. Given that its rivals, the new Citroen C3 and the Ford Fiesta, are traditionally bought for value as much as anything else, it shows how much the market has changed.
Pre-haggling, the £13,030 VW Polo will set you back £160 less than the C3 and a staggering £1367 less than the Fiesta.
All of the cars in question have naturally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engines mated to five-speed manual 'boxes, all have similar mid-range standard spec and equipment, and all of them have MacPherson strut suspension at the front and torsion beam at the rear.
The Fiesta is the slowest of the three, producing 95bhp and 94lb ft of torque. It has a claimed 0-60mph time of 12.2sec, with the VW Polo and Citroen C3 posting 11.9sec and 10.6sec respectively.
And yet, straightline performance or not it is no surprise that the slowest car here is also the most fun. The Fiesta's engine buzzes on the motorway, but the ride always remains perfectly damped and absorbent. Its electrically assisted steering is perfectly judged, whether you're changing lanes on the motorway or parking at the supermarket, and the gearbox has none of the sloppy, rubbery feel that's all too evident in the C3.