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Ford Fiesta

Road Test

Ford Fiesta 1.4i Zetec 3dr

Driven January 2009

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Just how much power is ‘enough' power? Well, when I was growing up, I remember my dad saying that 100bhp per ton was a pretty decent benchmark figure. A car will feel quick enough if it's got 100bhp per ton, son, so there. We're not talking ancient history, but it's close: 20 years ago, maybe 30. Um, maybe 35. Jesus. Anyway, he would have been referring to imperial tons, which are a tad more than metric tonnes (actually a ton is 1.016046 tonnes, he quotes instantly from memory assisted by Wiki).

The little 1.4 three-door Ford Fiesta tested here weighs 966kg, or 0.9507 imperial tons. And it develops 95bhp. That's 100bhp per ton.

And do you know what? Dad was right (as usual). This car is just sooo good. It never feels sluggish around town, and the engine - a version of the Yamaha-designed 1.25-litre unit from the 1995 Fiesta Mk4 - is a gem: clean-revving and as sweet as any four can be (this side of a Honda). No, it's not as quick as the 119bhp 1.6 Zetec S we drove two months ago, and when you get out on the open road, it starts to struggle, but this 1.4 really is all the Fiesta you'll ever need for commuting.

Then there's the rest of the car, and it's every bit as good as the engine. The three-door body looks great and attracted constant attention, and the steering and all other driving controls are beautifully weighted. It's great fun to drive.

And... only 100bhp per ton. It's all you need. Cheers, Dad.

Bill Thomas

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