Brits have loved the Fiesta for 40 years. Weâ€™re running a 1.0 Ecoboost 100 Zetec for a few months to find out why
Small hatchbacks used to be tinny little boxes that you bought because you couldnâ€™t afford a proper car.
Those days are long gone. To stay on trend now, todayâ€™s small hatch has to deliver maturity, dynamism, and even a degree of luxury. Fordâ€™s Fiesta has managed to stay ahead of the curve for over four decades, topping the sales charts more often than not for that entire time â€“Â which is quite an achievement.
Over the last few months our 1.0 Ecoboost has been showing us the sort of talents that are needed in this red-hot market sector.
One big difference between the old Fiesta and the new model is the much less messy, less button-festooned interior, and the easier to use infotainment system (with a bigger iPad-like 6.5-inch screen compared to the old 4.2-inch unit) using the pleasingly clunk-free and far more intuitive Ford Sync3 software, which lets you control an iPhoneâ€™s functionality via either the touchscreen or voice control. Our only complaint was that the Waze traffic app wasnâ€™t supported on Apple CarPlay, so you had to keep looking down at your phone for directions or use Google maps. The good news however is that Waze will be available for all Fords fitted with Sync3 from April.
This new infotainment setup beats the slightly less responsive and flimsier feeling setups found in the Focus or Mondeo. Only the systems used by Skoda in the Fabia and by VW in the Polo are better. Now, physical controls are limited the ones you actually need, like radio presets and volume adjustment. We like the big new knobs for controlling the ventilation too.
If you spend Â£300 on upgrading to the 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen Play system, as we did on our Zetec car, you get the eight-inch display thatâ€™s standard on Fiesta range-toppers. With nine high-performance speakers and a subwoofer in the boot taking the spare wheel space, the B&O system is brilliant. Using it is like wearing a pair of really good over-ear headphones. The only rival we can think of that gives it a run for its money is the 360deg Bose kit for Nissanâ€™s Micra.
Another highlight of our Fiesta is its sparkly 1.0 Ecoboost engine which is both fantastic in town, with more than enough zip for traffic joustery, and economical with an overall average of 45.8mpg.
Itâ€™s a shame there isnâ€™t more room in the Fiestaâ€™s boot, or for adult legs (or indeed backsides) in the back seats. The smaller but less streamlined Ford Ka+ is actually better than its big brother this respect. The Fiestaâ€™s boot is still more practical than a Miniâ€™s, but again, those in the Skoda Fabia,Â Volkswagen PoloÂ andÂ Seat IbizaÂ are in a different league.
Great car all round though, the Fiesta. Well done Ford.