The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel
First DriveFord is cashing in on the popularity of its Fiesta ST hot hatch by lending its name to this less potent model. It makes a lot of sense
First DriveA punchy and efficient 1.0-litre engine makes for an entertaining junior hatchback
What is it?
This is the Ford Fiesta 1.25i Zetec. It’s powered by the smallest engine available in the Ford Fiesta range, and is none the worse for it.
With just 81bhp on offer in a car weighing 1098kg, the Ford Fiesta 1.25i Zetec is not the nippy runabout it was when the 1.25-litre engine appeared two generations ago.
But getting behind the wheel proves that there’s much more to this car than its headlining abilities of low running costs and stylish looks.
What’s it like?
If there’s one thing that really stands out about the Ford Fiesta 1.25i Zetec, it’s how easy and fun it is to wring out its full potential.
It takes no effort at all to maintain a decent pace, thanks to the balance and grip the Ford Fiesta gets from its excellent chassis set-up. This, matched with the slick gearchange and responsive steering, makes the 1.25i Zetec one of the most enjoyable models in the Ford Fiesta range.
Around town the 1.25-litre engine provides a surprising amount of low-down urge, and makes the car a joy to weave around traffic and roundabouts.
The only real let-down is engine noise, which often intrudes into the cabin around town and becomes an incessant buzz on the motorway, though the decent ride quality and comfortable driver’s seat makes it a perfectly decent long-distance companion otherwise.
Should I buy one?
Without doubt. If you want a hatch that can return almost 50mpg and still deliver on your favourite B-road, then the Ford Fiesta is a great option and the 1.25-litre engine only enhances its talents.
If you don’t go on motorways regularly, think carefully about the delights of this small petrol engine before parting with the cash you’ll need for the diesel version.