A condition of employment as a road-tester stipulates that you always refer to what the car industry calls a ‘mid-cycle enhancement' by using terms derived from cosmetic surgery. You know: facelift, nip 'n' tuck, nose job. Since I don't want to lose my job in the middle of a recession, I'll have to describe the six-and-a-halfth generation Fiesta as having received a... well, what is it? A complete facial reconstruction and inversion, really, the nose and mouth having been hacked off and swapped over. Where there was a slit beneath the bonnet is now a big trapezoid grille. In place of the big grille, below the numberplate, now lives the smaller slit. There's been a narrowing of the eyes... oops, headlamps, too.
It might sound like the stuff of a horror movie, but you know what? It's actually very comely indeed.
All Fiestas get this restyle. Only some of them get Ford's excellent little 3cyl 1.0-litre petrol engine. It comes in a non-turbo 82bhp, and turbo 100 and 125bhp versions. They all make just 99g/km CO2, equating to 65.7mpg. If that sounds like a coincidence, remember that the official measurement cycle never reaches the higher boost of the 125 (so it won't be as real-world economical as the 100), and that the non-turbo needs shorter gear ratios, which is why it tests no better than the blown ones.
We're in the 125. It sounds endearingly off-beat, and though you do hear it more loudly than in the equivalent Focus, it's not disagreeable. To get decent economy, you have to keep the revs down and munch the torque. Rev higher, and it's no slug. And you can have fun, because the Fiesta is always one of the most agile, willing and superb-cornering baby cars of all. For some unknown reason, they've recalibrated the steering and made it a bit gluey around the straight-ahead, but that's no biggie. And the ride remains supple and beautifully damped.
New too is a voice-controlled dialling and entertainment system that, unusually, understands me reasonably well. Finally, MyKey, which lets a parent (or fleet boss) programme the car to limit itself when it's being driven on their kid's (or employee's) key. Restrictions include an 80mph top speed, warning chimes at various other speeds, and an interlock to prevent you disabling the active city stop and ESP. Sensible enough, even if it might make having the 125bhp engine feel a bit frustrating.
999cc, 3cyl, FWD, 125bhp, 147lb ft, 65.7mpg, 99g/km CO2, 0-62mph in approx. 9.4secs, 122mph, 1091kg
Fiesta looks better, and is still the supermini to beat. New three-cylinder engine makes the diesel a bit redundant