From a dynamic perspective, the influence of the 4mm added to the Fiesta’s wheelbase ought to be easily balanced out by the width added to the car’s axle tracks (30mm front, 10mm rear).
So, even on paper, the Fiesta’s real unique selling point was never really under threat here.
And in practice, this new Ford is what its forebears always were: the outstanding choice for keener drivers. It continues to transcend the realities that normally define how much fun you can have in a small and cheap car, delivering remarkable cornering gip and balance, and genuinely compelling handling response and driver engagement, partnered with ride refinement that’s hardly compromised at all.
Our test car needed only 16in alloy wheels and standard suspension to feel a generous cut above the next most dynamically sophisticated rival in it class.
There are small cars that approach what it can do in terms of outright grip and incisiveness (although not on mid-corner balance) – and most of them need much firmer, more restless and less isolating suspension settings to do it.
The Fiesta’s genius is really that you can have fun driving it without being made to pay a dynamic price for that fun. Its ride is medium-firm but still rubber-footed, absorptive and pleasingly calm over high-frequency lumps and bumps.