The winner is...Ford Fiesta 1.25i 82 Zetec 5drList price
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£11,352 Target Price
£10,225The name is more than 30 years old, but the latest Fiesta is bang up to date. It's everything that a modern supermini should be — and more.
We've come to expect more and more from superminis over the past few years, but nothing has surpassed our expectations quite like the brilliant new Fiesta. Some rivals excel in one or two areas, but the Fiesta is exceptional in just about every single one. Small car kicks
Even if you expect a small car to be fun, you'll still be surprised by just how enjoyable the Fiesta is to drive. It combines the kart-like feel of a supermini with the composure of a bigger car and, however long or short the journey, the Fiesta's smooth controls make it an easy-going companion. The steering, gearshift and clutch are all precise and perfectly weighted, which ensures effortless progress whether you're trundling through town, blatting down a B-road or cruising the motorway.
The Fiesta's controlled ride helps towards its phenomenal composure. It's firm enough to feel settled over bigger bumps and through bends, yet it flows smoothly over potholes and patchy urban roads.
Our favourite engine — the 81bhp 1.25i – is a gem. It revs sweetly and gives sprightly pace, but it's also easy on the ear, which adds to the Fiesta's class-leading refinement. No rival has a cabin this quiet and civilised. Big in style
The Fiesta's interior is as sharply styled as its exterior, with a neat centre console that was apparently inspired by the design of mobile phones. Fortunately, it's as easy to use as the best mobiles. The supportive seats and excellent driving position help you to feel at home, too. Plush plastics and smart metallic inserts add to the feelgood factor, and although some of the materials are more functional than funky, everything feels built to last.
There's space for the tallest driver to stretch out, too. Although the Fiesta can't match the biggest cars in this class for rear legroom, there's enough, and the boot is large and well shaped. Pick of the range
Most buyers will go for Zetec trim, and we reckon it's the pick of the bunch. Features such as alloy wheels, chrome details, front foglamps and a leather-trimmed steering wheel make the Fiesta look a million dollars. All the sensible stuff — air-conditioning, heated windscreen, electric front windows, five airbags and an input socket for your MP3 player — is present and correct.
Shop cleverly and you'll pay just over £10,000 for our chosen model. That's a snip. Average fuel economy of almost 50mpg and a group four insurance rating help to ensure that long-term costs will be similarly affordable.