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The Top Gear car review: Ford Fiesta

Best in class
£10,090£19,360
8/10
Overall verdict

For: 

It was already top of the class and now it’s an even better all-rounder

Against: 

Some rivals do beat it in individual areas
Cracking supermini is the best car Ford makes. Britain’s top seller? It makes you proud.

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Our choice

Ford

1.0 EcoBoost Zetec 5dr

£14,740
N/A
66mpg
11.20s
100bhp
99g/km

What we say: 

The best is better: prettier, more able and much more fuel-efficient. Best in class, one of the best full stop

What is it?

As the nation’s best selling car month after month, you wouldn’t have the pretty Fiesta down as desperately needing a facelift. Ford wants to make sure it stays there, though. With competition hotting up across the sector, it last year decided to take action, with a comprehensively revised Fiesta.

The most obvious change is the Aston Martin-style grille. This is Ford’s new corporate face and, with some fresh new colours for the Fiesta range, makes an already-stylish supermini even more appealing. The rest of it hasn’t changed much but it didn’t need to. There are some much-needed enhancements inside too, but the key tech change is the introduction of Ford’s superb 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine. This replaces the thrashy old 1.4 and will be a key part of the car’s draw.

Driving

The Fiesta’s greatest asset is its preternatural ability on the move and Ford has simply enhanced this further in the latest car. It’s even crisper on turn-in, the responsiveness of the chassis has been enhanced yet further and the steering has even more feedback. It could handle a lot more power: the ST delivers it. See page 80 for more on that peach of a range-topper…

For now, it’s the blissful combination with those sweet, torquey Ecoboost engines that impress us the most. Yes, you can have a diesel if you must, or save money with the aged old 1.25, but beg, borrow or steal your way into an Ecoboost because this is where the sweet spot of the range is. Ford’s even retuned the springs and dampers to account for its much lighter weight, so it doesn’t only handle better but rides more smoothly too. Remarkable.

On the inside

The Fiesta is reasonably spacious front and back (but note, there are rivals with more space) and exudes an air of maturity and quality that you’d expect from the next class up. Importantly, Ford has also righted a wrong here, and made sat nav available on most models in the range. It was lacking before and was a barrier to those who were downsizing from bigger cars.

Fresh, brighter trims make it seem more upmarket and Ford has also worked on refinement, meaning there’s less road noise permeating the cabin at speed. The Ecoboost even sounds good.

Owning

The Fiesta is still not the cheapest supermini, but it is now better value for money (six airbags and ESP are now standard on all but base Studio). The Ecoboost engines are real fuel-sippers (the 1.0T 100 is an amazing 17mpg more fuelefficient than the old 1.4 96) and most of the range is now sub-100g/ km CO2. Reliability has proven to be first-rate.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
1.6 EcoBoost ST 3dr
6.9s 138g/km 47.9 182 £17,360
The cheapest
1.25 Studio 3dr
16.9s 122g/km 54.3 60 £10,090
The greenest
1.5 TDCi Style ECOnetic 3dr
11.9s 82g/km 88.3 95 £15,040

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

6/10

Dacia Sandero

£5,940£10,240
It takes something to beat the best in class. Take an alternative tack and try the cheapest in the class, Dacia's Sandero. It's half the price...