Another month goes by and Ford’s venerable Fiesta is once again topping UK sales charts, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reporting 4,507 of the – now eight-year-old – Mk7 models registered in February, some 2,000 ahead of closest rival the VW Golf.
Scotsman Motors had the chance to refamiliarise ourselves with just how good the Fiesta is recently, testing a five-door Fiesta White Edition for a week.
Regular readers may recall the last Fiesta we drove was the Fiesta Zetec S Black, a 140bhp warm hatch sporting a performance-tuned version of Ford’s award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost Engine.
Like the Zetec S Black, the Fiesta White we drove has the excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine under its bonnet and lots of colour-coded touches around the cabin and bodywork freshening up the visual appeal of the standard Fiesta.
John Mcleod, vehicle personalisation chief designer at Ford Europe, says the colour scheme provides a “charismatic twist”, adding that black and white is a “timeless combination that evokes thoughts of chic 1960s style, and now inspires the design of products from consumer electronics to training shoes”.
In our view, the training shoe comparison is the more apt one. A retro-inspired hatch like the Mini or the Fiat 500 this is not, but the black 16-inch alloy wheels, with white inserts, and ‘panther black’ contrast roof mean this is still a striking car that holds its own in terms of visual appeal against some younger upstarts in the category.
And the Fiesta still impresses as a driver’s car as well. This incarnation of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost unit may only put out 98bhp, but it’s nimble enough in town driving and pretty gutsy at speeds of up to 40mph.
Beyond that and it’s clear that this is no hot hatch, but it didn’t feel underpowered and proved perfectly capable on short runs on the motorway. The gearshift is slick and only when revved hard does the noise from the three-cylinder turbocharged unit penetrate the cabin and, even then – dare we say it – it’s quite a pleasing thrum.
The sweet handling impresses most though, the Fiesta handling the B-roads like a roadster. Firmly-weighted and composed, it turns on a sixpence and has bags of grip. It was class leading when it launched and it’s still ahead of the pack now.
In the cabin, the button-heavy dashboard is starting to date compared with some minimalist, touchscreen dominated contemporaries, but the layout is as ergonomic as ever.
The five-door layout of our test car may spoil the exterior proportions a tad, but it is supremely practical, offering surprisingly little compromise in terms of legroom or boot space. In our view a five-door Fiesta could be a genuine option for a small family on a budget.
That said, if you need a bigger car, you need a bigger car, but in the supermini category it’s difficult to find any fault with the Fiesta. That’s why it won our Small Hatch of the Year award last year and that’s why it still tops the sales charts eight years on from its launch.
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol producing 98bhp, 125lb/ft
Transmission: Five-speed manual driving the front wheels
Performance: Top speed 112mph, 0-60 in 10.8 seconds
Economy: 65 mpg