New Ford Fiesta: First Drive

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Today I headed to the Henry Ford Academy in Daventry to test the new Ford Fiesta. The new model marks the 7th generation of the Fiesta, a car that has been the nation’s best-seller for the last eight years. If you want more impressive stats, then check this out; the last generation of the Fiesta sold a grand total of 1,000,000 units. 4,500,000 Fiestas have been sold since its introduction in 1976, so it’s no secret that it’s popular – but is the new model any good?

What’s New?

Well, the new model is more grown up and refined, but that’s not to say it’s all slippers and early nights. It’s still dynamic to drive, but I’ll get on to that in a bit. The new car is a little bigger so there is more room inside, plus the centre console features 50% less buttons to make the inside look cleaner. It’s also safer than the outgoing model, and it has more technology, including the debut of the B&O Play system.

The 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine has been carried over from the last model, but it’s smoother and it has been joined by two new engines. The old 1.25 litre petrol has been replaced with 1.1 litre naturally aspirated unit and there is now a 1.5 litre diesel engine to offer buyers more choice. So, there is plenty commend about the new Fiesta, but what’s it like to drive?

Titanium

The model I tested was the Titanium model which was fitted with the award-winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine, mated to a 6-speed manual. With the introduction of the new Vignale model, the Titanium now sits in the middle of the new Fiesta range and includes standard features such as 16″ alloy wheels, Ford Sync 3 system with 8″ touchscreen, cruise control, climate control and keyless start, to name a few.

New Ford Fiesta

This model would normally cost you £16,795 but this model had a few options such as the B&O Play system, 17″ alloys and the advanced park system, so the model tested was just shy of £19,000 – not too far from Focus territory. Another one of the add ons was the Deep Impact Blue paint finish, which I really like, and the new Fiesta comes in a good range of colours, so there should be something to satisfy everyone.

What’s It Like To Drive?

Take the Fiesta on to the open road and you’ll find it has a comfortable, composed ride and it certainly feels grown up. The drive is still dynamic though – the leather clad steering wheel has a nice weight to it and the the 6-speed manual gearbox provided a sweet shift. The only downside was that the larger wheels produced a bit of road noise, so I’d recommend sticking with the standard 16″ wheels for more refinement. Sitting on each corner of the Fiesta are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres that provide high levels of grip, meaning you can really push the popular hatchback in the corners.

New Ford Fiesta

The 1.0 litre EcoBoost has got a smooth delivery and it doesn’t deafen you when you push it towards the redline, which one again points to the cars good levels of refinement. It’s just a shame about that aforementioned road noise, which was a small fly in the ointment. Back to the engine, it’s a nippy engine, but it doesn’t feel quite as zesty as the 1.0 litre Boosterjet I’m currently testing in the featherlight Suzuki Swift, but it’s smoother and more refined, so that’s worth bearing in mind.

The 1.0 litre EcoBoost offers 99bhp with 170Nm of torque, meaning you’ll hit 62mph in 10.5 seconds with a top speed of 113mph. CO2 is a polar bear-hugging 97g/km and the mpg is 65.7mpg, exactly the same as a 1.0 litre Swift. The EcoBoost makes a pretty good noise as well and overall, it’s a very good engine. Speaking of good sounds…

What About The B&O Play System?

Ah yes, that new sound system. Ford is very proud of this new system and its proudly blowing the B&O Play trumpet. It’s a good sounding trumpet too – it’s clear that a lot of work has gone in to it and I really feel it’s worth the £300 option price. It does come as standard if you pick the B&O Play Fiesta model, but it’s available as optional extra across of the Fiesta range, so if you get a chance, try it out in a dealership as I’m sure it will hit the right notes.

New Ford Fiesta

Any Negatives?

Well yes, there are two negatives I have found with the new Fiesta, one of which is subjective. I’m not a big fan of the car’s styling, but like I say that’s subjective as you know what they say – beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. The second negative is that I was expecting the rear legroom to be a little better as I found my 6 foot 2 frame wanting for more in the rear, but on the plus side the headroom was definitely agreeable. The boot also offers a good amount of room with 292 litres, which can be increased to 1093 with the rear seats down.

New Ford Fiesta

Initial Verdict

This was only a first drive of the new Fiesta but even so, it looks like Ford will be able to carry on the Fiesta’s best-selling form. There is a lot to like about the seventh generation model and it’s a noticeable step up from the previous model. It’s smooth, refined, but it hasn’t lost the driving dynamics that has made the Fiesta such a popular car. Can Ford may it nine years in a row at the top? I can’t see why not – now we just need to wait for the new ST…

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