Car review: Ford Fiesta EcoBoost is a good value best-seller

Carlton Boyce / 01 March 2016

Britain’s best-selling car is well engineered and perfect for downsizing to a smaller vehicle without compromising anything other than space.



Score

8/10

Review

The Fiesta’s interior looks a little old now. Old and fussy, which isn’t a great start to a week with a press review car. 

It’s a bit small in there too. My two sons – one a teenager and the other not far off – found it a squeeze, with the seat behind their 6’ 3” dad soon being adopted by the shorter of the two as we simply couldn’t squeeze his taller brother in there. 

It was also a bit of a faff having to fold the front seats forward to let them in and out, something you might want to consider unless carrying passengers in the rear is a rarity.

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A wonderful drive

However, I can ignore the Fiesta’s mediocre interior as it has long been a personal favourite of mine, being wonderful to drive along even half-decent roads, and living in North Wales even the very worst roads are at least half-decent…

My car came with the tiny little 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, an A4-sized turbo-charged piece of high technology that manages to squeeze out a mighty 138bhp (or 140 in the more marketing friendly PS…) to a half-NASCAR soundtrack. 

It’s an appealing engine (as well as being a multiple award winner) with a wonderful growl as it comes into the power band. 

And when you don’t want to stretch its legs, it’s relatively quiet at lower revs, so much so that I often found myself forgetting to change up into a higher gear.

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A lack of flexibility

Small turbocharged engines aren’t renowned for their flexibility and this one is no exception, lacking a broad spread of torque; it peaks at just under 2,500rpm and maintains a decent level until 4,000, after which it starts to tail off fairly sharply so it isn’t the most relaxing car to drive, needing more gear changes than some of its competitors. 

That might not bother the sort of person who buys a sporting, three-door hatchback (and, to be fair, the gearchange is a pleasure to use, so there’s no hardship there) but I found it got boring very quickly.

As did the wide, low profile 17-inch tyres that, aided and abetted by the lowered, sports suspension searched out and locked onto white lines faster than an airport sniffer dog. I’d gladly have traded a little less poise and grip on the limit for a more comfortable ride and less peaky steering. 

This set-up is standard on the Zetec S, which is a very good reason to save a few pounds by buying the Zetec with its more compliant 16-inch tyres and more comfort-oriented suspension.

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Spend a little more or less

I wasn’t so much underwhelmed by the Fiesta Zetec S Red as confused: if I wanted a fast Fiesta I’d buy the Fiesta ST, which is much faster and not that much more expensive. 

If, on the other hand, I wanted an easy going Fiesta, I’d buy the slightly slower 125PS model, which is much nicer to drive.

As a result, I’d recommend spending a little bit more or a little bit less on your Fiesta but no matter which way you jump, you’ll be buying a good car that is at the very peak of its game. 

Just make sure that you are clear what you’re looking for, otherwise you could spend the next three years feeling like you’ve bought an awkward compromise.

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Perfect for downsizing

Otherwise the Fiesta was its usual delightful self, being poised and agile when I wanted it to be, and calm and relaxing when I didn’t. 

It’s easy to park, nippy in the city, and stable and confident at motorway speeds, even in the recent high winds. It is, in short, a thoroughly well engineered little car that demands nothing of the downsizer other than the need to accept that downsizing means less space.

Ford’s MyKey comes as standard and is a very useful feature if you’re likely to be lending it to younger drivers. 

MyKey allows you to limit the car’s top speed and stereo volume, and stops the driver deactivating the Fiesta’s traction and stability control. It can also be programmed to remind the occupants to wear their seatbelts, muting the radio if they don’t, as well as giving an early low-fuel warning. 

MyKey is not a universal panacea, of course, but it’s a very useful feature to have and might help prevent the sort of high jinks that often end in tragedy.

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Good discounts to be found

The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best-selling car for a very good reason: there simply isn’t a single reason not to buy one, and if you think I’m damning with feint praise then you’re wrong. 

The car as a consumer durable is exactly what a lot of people need, and Ford understands this very well: my car would cost its owner just over £200 a month over three years with a £2,000 deposit, or £400 if they wanted to own it at the end and would prefer not to have to find the optional balloon payment of £6,000 – and if you want to buy one outright you can expect to see a good discount; carwow reports an average saving of £2,000. 

For more car reviews and tips, browse our motoring articles.

Competition

Best-in-class – If sheer driving pleasure is your main criteria, then the Renault Clio won’t disappoint.

The best of the rest – Its dated interior might polarize buyers, but the Fiesta is Britain’s best-selling car for a very good reason.

Left-field alternative – The Suzuki Swift is the best small hatchback you’ve never considered.


Ford Fiesta EcoBoost - Saga Magazine car review infographic

*Test average fuel consumption as reported by www.honestjohn.co.uk


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