The astonishing success of the current generation of Ford Fiesta has been based on two convergent facts: first the sixth generation of Fiesta was good enough to lead the class from the moment of its introduction in 2008; second that introduction coincided with global economic meltdown forcing mass downsizing in the European car market. 

Suddenly people who’d never even considered a shopping car found themselves eye to eye with the Fiesta. And perhaps to their surprise, they liked what they saw.

At its launch in 2008, this latest incarnation was as distinctive as the previous version was not. It was a genuinely handsome car, but like most modern Fords, ubiquity softened the impact of its design. 

It was given a nose job in 2013 as part of a number of visual tweaks, and new engines were introduced to ensure it continued to cut a dash. But while the success of the huge trapedozial grille treatment has been widely debated, the addition of the three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine has been roundly praised.

Predictably for a car that has become the UK’s top seller, the range is vast, overlapping the smaller Ka at the bottom and the larger Focus at the top.

Aside from the three-pot Ecoboost engine in two power outputs, powerplants include a naturally aspirated 1.0-, 1.25-, 1.6- and turbocharged 1.6-litre petrols and a single 1.5-litre diesel engine in two guises. Trim levels are the familiar: Zetec, ST-Line, Titanium, Titanium X and a couple of hot ST models, most of which are available on the in three and five-door models. There are also the low-CO2 Econetic models to look out for.

Perhaps the Fiesta’s biggest trump card is its big-car feel. At its 2007 launch, no other cooking supermini felt as solid or grown up, and its ride shamed cars from a class or two above. Handling offered a verve that even some hot hatches failed to match.

Years on from the car’s original launch, does the Fiesta still match the best in the supermini class? 

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