The battle of the sub 1.0-litre hatches
So. Which of these tiny-engined pups serves up the biggest thrills? Top Gear finds out…
Posted: 29 May 2013
Also, though we know you'd never contemplate ragging either of these sensible little engines to their very limits, we must reluctantly warn you that if you accidentally happened to drag them up past 5,500rpm, you might very much enjoy it. Both these little triples are truly brilliant. If you have nightmarish memories of the dreadful, peaky three-pots of a decade ago (we're looking at you, Vauxhall Corsa), you're not alone: it has taken TopGear many years to overcome its prejudices. But, bar a pleasingly off-beat bombilation as you climb through the revs, you'd never know either was missing a cylinder (or nine), or that they each displaced less than a carton of orange juice. Both are healthy and hearty, but the Ford feels a touch stronger, with a healthier midrange.
Don't laugh. OK, in any other test in TopGear world, 10bhp wouldn't register within the bounds of mechanical tolerance, but the Fiesta's 99bhp output represents a massive 10 per cent advantage. It's enough to keep the Ford pulling happily up hills where you have to change down in the Clio, but it's more than just brute power. Though both goad you to wring out every horsepower, to thrash them until they're facebutting the limiters, it's the Fiesta that revs a touch quicker and a touch higher.