For anyone under the age of 40, there has always been a Ford Fiesta.

Such longevity confers on it the kind of rarefied status that makes a car synonymous with both the brand and its proclaimed values.

Certainly, the outgoing model – launched back in 2008 – has been not only the bedrock for Ford’s sales in Europe but also the prime conveyor of its ‘Feel the difference’ dynamism and peach-pretty exterior styling.

And although it never managed to be the cheapest, most practical or best-equipped supermini, its virtues repeatedly distinguished it as not only the car to beat in our eyes but also the default option for a new generation of downsizers and first-time buyers.

Consequently – like Volkswagen with the Golf or BMW with the 3 Series or Porsche with the 911 – when it came to replacing the outgoing Fiesta with a new generation, Ford has opted not to drastically tamper with the formula.

In fact, although the car ultimately earns an ‘all-new’ differentiation from its predecessor, some of it could rightly be described as a far-reaching overhaul rather than a white-space rethink. Instead, Ford’s stated aims have focused on addressing the issues that inevitably crop up when producing the same model for nearly a decade: renovating the styling, reinventing the interior, improving quality and fine-tuning the performance.

This makes the timing of the new model’s arrival impeccable. The latest generation of rivals – most notably, the Seat Ibiza we tested and the Volkswagen Polo waiting in the wings – could credibly claim to have exceeded the long-standing benchmark set by the Fiesta.

As a result, this new version must improve on not only its predecessor’s impressive legacy but also the polished desirability of the competition. No pressure.

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