What's the used Ford Fiesta hatchback like?
If you're looking for a sensible used small car, it doesn't have to be dull to drive, and a case in point is the 2008 to 2017 Ford Fiesta. Just as the latest Fiesta receives ready praise for the way it drives, its immediate predecessor packs the same sense of fun at a very tempting price.
This sixth-generation version looked great, too, and arguably even better after a mid-life facelift in 2013 brought to it the familiar large grille now commonplace in the Ford range. That update also introduced the 1.0-litre Ecoboost three-cylinder engine to the car, a marriage some see, with good reason, as made in Heaven.
There's actually a huge selection of engines to choose from. And because the Fiesta was such a popular car, there are loads of them around and plenty to choose from. Aside from the three-pot 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine, in three power outputs of 99bhp, 123bhp and 138bhp, other power plants include a naturally aspirated a 59bhp or 81bhp 1.25, a 79bhp 1.0, a 94bhp 1.4 and a 118bhp 1.6, with a range-topping 180bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol in the sporty ST. For the economy minded, there were initially diesels in 67bhp 1.4 and 89bhp and 94bhp 1.6-litre forms, these later being replaced by a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 74bhp or 94bhp.
Trim levels were plentiful, and were tweaked and updated throughout the car's life. Choose Style trim over the more sparsely equipped Studio and you'll get goodies such as electric front windows and remote central locking, but stretch to the Style+ and you'll be rewarded with air-con. Zetec models have all that you could reasonably want in a small car, including 15in alloy wheels, a DAB radio, a heated front windscreen, air conditioning, hill start assistance and an infotainment system with a 4.2in screen. There were also the Zetec Colour Editions which were commonly painted in Candy Blue with a white roof, and vice versa.
ST-Line trim replaced Zetec S and was available on three and five-door Fiestas. Key highlights included an ST-styled bodykit, sports suspension, pedals and a large rear spoiler, while the Titanium models add more luxury equipment, including climate control, cruise control, adjustable lumbar support, velour floor mats and a Sony DAB stereo, as well as automatic headlights and range-sensing wipers. The range-topping Titanium X models receive mainly safety features such as a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, and keyless entry and start.
From all those excellent engine options, the turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder motor offers all the engine most buyers will ever need. In whichever guise you choose, this is a quite remarkable little unit and it's smoother, quieter and more responsive than the other engines in the range. The diesel is a good engine too but you have to ask whether the savings in fuel over the already frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine is worth putting up with the inevitable diesel rattle.
With sharp steering, excellent grip and a lively chassis, the Fiesta is an absolute hoot in the corners. Usually, that'd suggest there's a trade-off to be had in terms of ride quality, but that isn't the case here. The Fiesta rides remarkably smoothly, whether you're tackling a long motorway journey or just pottering around town. It comes with standard or sports suspension, the latter being fitted to Zetec models, giving them the edge for fun.
It's also quiet and stable, making it a very reassuring and relaxing car to drive for any length of time. In fact, the Fiesta feels so grown up that you'd be forgiven for thinking you were driving the larger Ford Focus most of the time.
If it's space you're after, some rivals like the Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia offer more. But while the Fiesta's rear seats have restricted leg room, making them best for children, those in the front have much more room, and the driving position should suit those of all sizes. The boot is a decent size, too, although the rear seats don't fold completely flat.
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