The Ford Fiesta has always been a vehicle the British public has warmed to but the truth is that before this seventh generation model arrived, supermini buyers chose this car either because it was great to drive or because they’d been offered a deal too good to turn down: there wasn’t really another reason to buy one.
This model changed all that - and this one takes things a step further still, smarter to look at, smarter to sit in, smarter to operate and, perhaps most importantly, smarter under the bonnet.
The line-up is propped up by the old 1.25-litre petrol unit, offered with either 60 or 82PS. To get beyond these and get yourself one of the clever new 1.0-litre petrol engines or the base 1.5-litre TDCi diesel, you need a slightly plusher trim level.
And that means you’ll need to have somewhere between £13,000 to £14,000 to spend, depending on the model you’re looking at. In terms of the 1.0-litre petrol powerplants, the 100PS Ecoboost is well worth the £500 premium over the 80PS unit. While if you’re looking for a diesel, it’s worth considering the £1,200 premium to go from the 75PS 1.5-litre TDCi to a 95PS 1.6-litre TDCi variant that features more frugal ECOnetic technology.
Variations on the Fiesta theme may come and go but before driving any version of Ford’s definitive supermini, there’s one thing you almost always know for certain: that it’ll be a great steer. There’s a deftness to the way this car responds, an agility to the way it nips around the bends that no other small car can quite match.
It does help though to avoid the poverty 1.25-litre 60 and 82PS petrol engines at the bottom of the line-up. These are old-tech units but get beyond them and things are far more state-of-the-art with the heart of the range based around an award winning three cylinder 1.0-litre unit offered in a trio of different guises.
Most affordable is a normally aspirated 80PS 1.0 Ti-VCT unit but it’s rather slow and only a few hundred pounds less than the version of this 1.0-litre engine I’d really point you towards - the 100PS turbocharged EcoBoost unit. It’s also offered with 125PS, but only in the pricier trim levels. No, the 100PS variant is all you really need, spiriting you to sixty in 11.2s to the accompaniment of a buzzy but not unpleasant three cylinder thrum.
There are other petrol options in this Fiesta line-up - but they’re minority interest 1.6-litre options. An older 105PS unit that only comes with the Powershift twin-clutch automatic transmission that’s mainly there for older buyers. And, at the other extreme, the 180PS 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbo powerplant for the hot hatch ST shopping rocket model.
That only leaves the 75PS 1.5 and 95PS 1.6-litre TDCi diesel units, engines you’re really going to have to want to choose them over the EcoBoost