New Ford Fiesta Hatchback

From £15,214

Gearbox

Automatic or Manual

Seats

5

Doors

3 - 5

Boot size

300 litres

The Auto Trader verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
4.3
Crammed with everything that Ford’s engineers have learned, this latest model may be bigger, more comfortable and more refined than ever, but it’s still very much a Fiesta at heart. Consequently, along with its new-found comfort and refinement, it bristles with the type of fun-to-drive character that has beguiled countless Fiesta drivers down the years. As well as that, this latest model is also easier to live with, thanks to more sophisticated ergonomics, upgraded cabin materials and a tad more interior space, along with the latest infotainment technology and safety kit. Is the Fiesta all the car you’ll ever need? Not entirely, but it’s pretty darn close.

Pros

  • Attractively priced and with good equipment
  • Economical engines bring low running costs
  • Brilliant to drive

Cons

  • Diesel cars aren’t so well rounded
  • Rear legroom is tight
  • The price of Vignale models is hard to justify

Full review

By Pete Tullin   Monday 03 July 2017
Ford Fiesta 2017 performance

Exterior
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

These days, safety implications, interior space and aerodynamics have as much influence on the way a car looks as any designer’s imaginings. So, it’s even more encouraging that the latest Fiesta – which is available with three- and five-door bodies – still looks far more distinctive than many of its anonymously styled boxy rivals. Even the most basic models look pretty chic, and every model from Zetec upwards gets enhancements like alloy wheels and front fog lights. ST-Line models are much sportier thanks to larger 17-inch alloys, a lowered stance, a pair of black mesh grilles and a mean-looking body kit. Titanium models, meanwhile, adopt a more understated look, with smaller 16-inch alloys, chrome trimmings and rear privacy glass. Although they are likely to remain a rare sight on UK roads, you will recognise range-topping Vignale cars by their chromed grille, a unique bumper with integrated foglight housings and a range of bespoke colours.

Ford Fiesta 2017 rear

Interior
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Perhaps the most striking thing about the latest Fiesta’s cabin is its dashboard. It looks much less cluttered than the previous car’s, as there are far fewer buttons, while the instrumentation is easier on the eye thanks to its sharp graphics. The biggest news, however, is the ‘floating’ iPad-style touch-screen in the middle of the dash. It comes in two sizes – a 6.5-inch version on mid-range cars and an 8.0-inch version on the top models – and the good news is that its processing capacity is quick, it’s intuitive to use and it’s easy to hit the various menus when you’re driving, thanks to its large icons. All bar the entry cars come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow you to sync your phone and control selected apps through the touchscreen.

The Fiesta’s driving position is just one of the car’s many highlights. With a wide range of steering wheel and seating adjustments, and pedals that are neatly aligned, everyone from little old grannies to bean-sprouting teenagers will have no trouble adopting the perfect driving position. The one word of caution is that the seat adjusters are jammed between the lower reaches of the seats and the doors, making it particularly tricky to reach the rotary controller and adjust your seatback angle when driving. Apart from this, everything feels just right: the heater controls, lights and indicator stalks all operate with smooth, easy precision, the pedals are beautifully weighted, and the steering wheel rim feels reassuringly complaint and chunky.

Ford Fiesta 2017 cabin

Practicality
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The Fiesta is very much par for the course in this respect. Although the glovebox is just about ok and there’s a useful storage area ahead of the gearstick to help keep your wallet and phone from flying around, the Fiesta is not overly blessed with storage. For instance, the door pockets are far too slim to take a 1.0-litre bottle of water and the central under-armrest bin is very dinky. At least, if you go for a five-door model, you should be able to wait until your kids are approaching their teenage years before you need to start thinking about upgrading to a bigger motor for more space. However, you’ll probably get a few moans once your kids have outgrown their child seats, because rear legroom is on the snug side. Similarly, although the Fiesta’s boot is deep and more than capable of coping with the weekly supermarket shop, it's rather narrow, which means you’ll have to fold down one of the rear seat backs if you want to take a baby buggy with you.

Ride and handling
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

The biggest improvements to the latest Fiesta have been made in refinement. With significantly less noise and much less of the road surface felt through the body, it’s far more civilized than the old model. Although wind noise is still notable at motorway speeds, it’s hardly intrusive; but, if you are particularly sensitive to this, Vignale models come with a thicker windscreen to further reduce the decibel level.

There have always been subtle variations in the way different Fiestas drive; and, if anything, these differences are even more pronounced with this latest model. The three-cylinder petrol-engined cars strike the best compromise between comfort and agility, delivering a smooth ride, sharp, connected steering and impressive levels of grip. Go for one of the diesel versions, however, with their more compliant suspension and softer engine mounts (fitted to help reduce vibrations), and the car feels less sharp to drive. With notably more vertical body travel and less connection through the steering wheel, the diesel cars are slower to change direction and their bodies suffer from significantly more roll in corners.

If you’re prepared to sacrifice a degree of comfort and accept a scintilla of additional road noise, then the ST-Line cars are the ones that will probably ring your bell. Fitted with stiffer, lowered-suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels shod with low-profile tyres, they provide sharp turn-in and excellent front-end bite in corners.

Ford Fiesta 2017 rear cornering

Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

So far, we’ve only driven the most powerful 138bhp version of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, but it suits the Fiesta’s perky character down to the ground. Admittedly, it’s not particularly strong at lower revs and it is prone to the odd stutter when coming on or off the throttle in heavy traffic, but get it singing and it really starts to warm to its task. Emitting a sporty warble that’s further enhanced through the speakers, it’s an engine that simply begs to be revved hard; and, when you go for it, it gives the Fiesta an impressive kick up the backside.

Ally this verve to the ST-Line’s exceptional chassis, strong braking power and one of the sweetest gearshifts in motoring, and it won’t be long before you find yourself giving some tasty hot hatches a close run for their money down a twisting B-road.

By contrast, the 1.5-litre diesel-engined model may not be the sharpest Fiesta to drive, but it does provide great refinement and exceptionally strong power delivery at low- and mid-range engine speeds. Consequently, it requires very few revs to rapidly zoom up to motorway cruising speed; and, once it’s relaxed in top gear, you’ll struggle to tell it apart from a petrol engine. Should you require an additional burst of overtaking power its inherent strength ensures it seldom require more than a single downshift to zip past slower traffic.

Running costs
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

This is a key area, and the Fiesta makes a pretty compelling case for itself. However, you should be a bit careful about what you read into fuel consumption figures, especially with the three-cylinder petrol engines. If you drive them in the same way as a diesel engine, using the low-down pulling power and changing gear halfway up the rev range, then you may get somewhere approaching the official 62.7mpg average fuel figure for the most powerful 138bhp version. That said, because it’s so easy to get addicted to the revvy nature of these engines, you’ll probably struggle to achieve this.

The 1.5-litre TDCi engind cars are likely to hold more appeal to fleet users than private buyers. The entry 84bhp version is claimed to return 88mpg, and the 118bhp version is not too far adrift of this, at 80mpg. CO2 emissions are impressively low, too – 89g/km for the more powerful version.

Looking at the headline purchase price, the Fiesta isn’t particularly cheap compared with its rivals. What’s more, traditionally, Fiesta resale values haven’t been as strong as those of a VW Polo and we expect that trend to continue. With this in mind, you’ll need to barter hard with your dealer for a decent discount to help offset your depreciation losses. One thing the Fiesta has always been good at is keeping running cost down. With cheap servicing and affordably priced replacement parts, insurance companies are always happy to give you a good deal on insuring a Fiesta

Reliability
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

If you had any thoughts along the lines that it’s a cheap little car, so it’s probably unreliable, then forget them. We certainly haven’t heard any horror stories from Fiesta buyers concerning common faults, and the previous car has always performed well in customer satisfaction surveys and reliability studies. For example, Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index places the Fiesta near the top of the scale for dependability, with Ford also performing very well as a brand overall. That sort of performance should provide buyers with plenty of confidence.

Ford Fiesta 2017 profile

Safety
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

There’s a whole raft of safety kit available for the latest model, although most of it is optional. This includes Active City Stop, which helps drivers avoid low-speed collisions, along with lane-departure warning and assistance, and Emergency Assistance call out, which forms part of the latest Sync infotainment system. Other technologies available include road sign monitoring (to keep the driver up-to-date on speed limits) and active cruise control to maintain a set distance from the traffic ahead. Sensors that warn of vehicles approaching from the side when reversing out of a parking space are also available. Ford is unique in offering ‘MyKey’, a system that allows several keys to operate the car, but with various settings (such as the car’s maximum speed, the volume of the stereo and so on) uniquely programmed to each key by the owner.

Equipment
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

All Fiestas come with a decent amount of kit, and even the entry-level Style (primarily aimed at budget-conscious customers and fleet users) still comes with air-conditioning, front electric windows, remote-central-locking and Bluetooth as standard. Upgrading to the popular Zetec trim gives you 15-inch alloy wheels and daytime running lights, plus a heated windscreen, which is brilliant on frosty mornings. Also included is a 6.5-inch touchscreen-controlled infotainment system, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also a B&O Play Zetec version, with a kicking sound system developed with stereo experts Bang & Olufsen. Titanium has almost everything you could wish for, including larger 16-inch wheels, rear LED lights, rear privacy glass, auto-dipping headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding mirrors and cruise control. On top of this, keyless entry and start-up, dual-zone climate control and an eight-inch screen complete with navigation integration round out the spec. Titanium X gets the B&O audio system as standard, as well as part-leather, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and electric rear windows on five-door models. The ‘Top Trumps’ model is the Fiesta Vignale, distinguished by 17-inch alloy wheels and unique front bumper, grille and foglamps. There’s also a full-length panoramic sunroof, heated, quilted-leather seats, a rear-view camera and parking sensors.

Why buy?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

You’ll buy a Fiesta safe in the knowledge that you’re getting an immense amount of car for your money. Go for the right combination of engine and trim, and few other cars in the sector get anywhere close to matching its winning combination of fantastic driving prowess and easy usability. While its low running costs will certainly appeal to the budget-conscious, the smartly trimmed cabin, great driving position and excellent refinement will dispel any concerns you may have had about the shortcomings of budget motoring.

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