From £12,7158
Ford says the all-new Fiesta has extra polish and more space. We drove the ST-Line X 5-door 1.0T Ecoboost to find out how it shapes up

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta

In remaking Britain’s best-selling car, Ford has trodden lightly with the new Fiesta. But has it done enough to keep its place at the head of the table?

  • First Drive

    Ford Fiesta 1.1 Zetec 2017 review

    The replacement for the UK's biggest-selling car has a lot to live up to; how does it shape up?
  • First Drive

    Ford Fiesta 2017 review

    Ford says the all-new Fiesta has extra polish and more space. We drove the ST-Line X 5-door 1.0T Ecoboost to find out how it shapes up

What is it?

This, Ford assures us, is the ‘all-new’ Fiesta. In truth, the interior and exterior are completely new, the body structure has been beefed up and the running gear overhauled.

The overall theme for the new car was to improve the visual quality of the car outside, completely re-invent the interior, improve the overall quality (by polishing the fine details) as well as improving the in-cabin refinement and further improving the ride and handling.

The 2017 Fiesta also has the option of more in the way of driver assistance technology than the previous model, such as Pedestrian Detection that works at night. Like a lot of new superminis, the Fiesta is looking to deliver big-car qualities in a supermini shell.

The new interior is something of a revelation after the old car. This specced-up ST-Line X get a sizeable 8-inch screen mounted high right in the driver’s eye-line. There’s a lot more - highly useful - storage space in the centre console, and the quality is notably better. Ford says it ‘worked hard’ to reduce the number of visible shut lines in the cabin. It also culled the number of buttons used in the previous model.

The Fiesta remains a compact car, even though Ford has stretched it slightly. It’s 71mm longer and 13mm wider but rear knee room - always at a premium - is up by a modest 16mm. Ford says there’s 35% more ultra-high strength Boron steel in the car’s body structure, and the B-pillar and doors have been re-designed for improved side-impact protection.

On top of that, more laser welding, stiffer attachment points for the front subframe and new welded attachment points for the rear axle add up to a 15% increase in torsional stiffness.

Ford’s suspension engineers have also been through the suspension system. The front track is 30mm wider, the rear wider by 10mm and the wheelbase has crept up just 4mm. There are new hollow front anti-roll bars and redesigned mounts for the rear axle and the lower front control arms. The bigger axle mounts are designed to filter out road imperfections and friction in the steering system is said to have been reduced.

What's it like?

Like the previous Fiesta, but with an admirable extra level of polish. The ST-Line X we drove is powered by the 138bhp version of Ford’s excellent 1.0-litre turbo triple. Although this engine has just 15lb ft more torque than the 99bhp and 123bhp versions, the extra horsepower is noticeable as you push the engine to 6000rpm. Even when wrung out, it remains surprisingly civilised. It’s hardly neck-snapping, but the motor is capable of propelling the Fiesta through some impressive overtaking manoeuvres.

Top marks, too, for the newly honed shift action of the six-speed gearbox. It’s extremely impressive. Short action, swift and clean, it helps enormously where rapid downshifts are needed when, say, entering a bend and the engine needs to be kept on the boil. Great work on the accelerator response as well. It takes the lightest tickle to keep the engine revs up, allowing easy down-changes, essential with a small engine like this.

According to the Fiesta chassis engineers, the ST-Line chassis has been tuned to sit halfway between the baby luxury of the Vignale model and the hardcore appeal of the upcoming ST. And that’s exactly how it feels. The ST-Line feels briskly capable, but it still rides with impressive fluidity, soaking up poor surfaces and allows just enough body roll to stay on the comfortable side of sporting. The increased grip is felt on long, sweeping, corners as is the impressive control of understeer. The latter, the engineers assured me, was partly thanks to the individual front wheel braking of the Fiesta’s Torque Vectoring system which is completely imperceptible.

Over longer distances and meandering backroads of the sort we experienced in rural Spain, the ST-Line’s chassis balance meant that the car remained comfortable over longer distances and would be an easy drive at the end of a tiring day, but still has enough verve to be entertaining in the right circumstances. It’s calm and composed on the motorway, though might suffer a little too much wind swirl around the A-pillars

 

Should I buy one?

This is a very good car, but not without its downsides. On a practical level, rear cabin space is very tight and the boot isn’t the biggest in class. The driving position is impressive (especially the range of seat height adjust) and the new interior is a major leap forward. The whole car has much more of a quality feel.

It drives extremely well, it’s pacy and the chassis is impressively well-honed and well-balanced between sport and comfort. However, the base ST-Line (£17,595) is the same price as the Seat Ibiza 1.4 FR, which has a slightly better spec, more space and a more punchy engine.

This £18,945 ST-Line X model has the addition of the superb and hard to resist B+O high power audio system (£300), as well as heated seats and a heated wheel (£225). The final showroom price (the same tag as the recently tested 1.5-litre Vauxhall Insignia estate) is steep for a warm supermini, even one as satisfying as this.

As good as it is, these higher-spec Fiestas have some very strong competition.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line X 5-door 1.0T Ecoboost

Location Valladolid, Spain; On sale Now; Price £18,945; Price as tested £19,470; Engine 3cyls in line, 998cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 138bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 138lb ft at 1500-5000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerbweight 1144kg; 0-62mph 9.0sec; Top speed 125 mph; Economy 63mpg; CO2 102g/km Rivals Seat Ibiza; Mini

Join the debate

Comments
46

28 June 2017
If only it looked fresher, but as it is an evolution of a 9 year old design, that was always going to be a challenge. While it will no doubt remain the UK's best selling car, and be better to drive than most, for me the new Ibiza and C3 look more modern and distinctive.

28 June 2017
This is a new model? If Ford says so.
Another instance of the utter exhaustion of car design as a discipline. A dull-looking car is revealed every day. Yesterday it was the X3, today it's this non-entity.
The interior is another step backwards - fussy, boring, total lack of inspiration.
The car as an aspirational consumer product is finished.

MrJ

29 June 2017
Yep, like the old one but uglier.

Tov

28 June 2017
19.5k? That has to be a joke for any supermini that isn't a hot version. Makes that Isignia Tourer look astonishing value for money. Compared to the Ibiza, C3, Micra this looks totally underwhelming.

Tov79

28 June 2017
Styling wise, I quite like it, it is an evolution of the previous which has never hurt vw and makes sense but I agree it could have been a little more interesting. As for the interior, I think it is a vast improvement, less cluttered and more simply styled makes it look classier. Pricing seems high but then I think that of all the higher spec superminis, as highlighted here look what else you can get, an insignia estate!!!

28 June 2017
Ford run out of money already? R and D must have closed down! Both these comments can be directed at the new'ish Fiesta. Oh and the interior looks dated even before it's on the forecourt.
And don't start me on the PRICE, Micra, 206 etc SHOULD eat it for breakfast outside of the UK

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

28 June 2017
I'm glad this car drives well and I actually like the evolutionary styling. The trouble, as I have found with other Fords, is when you come to spec one up. The most popular Zetec model is not available with more power than the smaller 100ps ecoboost and with a couple of extras I got one of those to about £16500 on the configurator. The metallic paint option showing in these photos also costs over £700! and the interior on all models is available in any colour as long as it is black. Great car, disappointing marketing.

28 June 2017
Looks even more expensive at around £19,500, same as the new Insignia Sports Tourer Design Nav 1.5 Turbo. Crazy price

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

28 June 2017
sorry it's actually £650 for the 2 extra that most buyers go for. It works out at just £450 less than a Polo 1.8 GTI would you believe OR if you want bling £600 MORE than a 1.4ACT Polo which will pay for the high-level sat nav on the Polo

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

28 June 2017
xxxx wrote:

sorry it's actually £650 for the 2 extra that most buyers go for. It works out at just £450 less than a Polo 1.8 GTI would you believe OR if you want bling £600 MORE than a 1.4ACT Polo which will pay for the high-level sat nav on the Polo

I like the Polo, but curtain airbags are £665 extra when they are standard on just about everything else.

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