For all the bewildering powerplant options facing the Ford Fiesta buyer, one fundamental truth shines through: unless you’re fortunate enough to be the market for a Fiesta ST, for almost all people almost all of the time, the 1.0-litre three cylinder motor offers all the engine you’re ever going to need.
In whichever guise you choose, this is a quite remarkable little unit and if you could see for yourself how much smoother, quieter and responsive it is than the 1.25-litre four cylinder engine, you’d see why we cannot recommend too highly finding the extra money for the smaller engine. It is a car changer, simple as that.
Of the three specifications available, we reckon the middle 98bhp version is the best value. It offers the preferable blend of talents for the money as it is available in Zetec trim while you need to buy a ST-Line before Ford will give you access to the 123bhp or 138bhp engine which behaves no differently unless you nail the throttle to the firewall. If you do though you’ll see the top speed rise from 112mph to 122mph and 125mph respectively, which is almost tepid hatch performance.
The diesel is a good engine too but you have to ask whether the savings in fuel over the already exceptionally frugal 1.0-litre engine is worth forking out an additional four figure sum and putting up with the inevitable diesel rattle.
All Fiestas save the ST and the 1.6-litre auto (both of which have six speed transmissions) transfer their power through an engagingly slick five speed gearbox. The only black mark is the conspicuously high intermediate gear ratios chosen, almost as if Ford had elected to prioritise its claimed fuel consumption and CO2 figures at the expense of engine flexibility for the driver.