What's the used Ford Fiesta hatchback like?
Praise has often been heaped on the iconic Ford Fiesta, and for good reasons. It was, and continues to be, fun to drive, well equipped and blessed with a fine choice of engines that help it to hold its own in the hotly contested small car class.
This current generation car has been given that little bit of extra polish to rival the refinement levels of its arch-nemesis, the Volkswagen Polo. It also faces stiff competition from cars such as the sporty Seat Ibiza, evergreen Vauxhall Corsa and the good value Skoda Fabia.
Like its rivals, the Fiesta has a wide range of engines. The petrol range consists of a 1.1-litre petrol with either 69bhp or 84bhp; a fantastic turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost in 99bhp, 123bhp and 138bhp states of tune, or a 1.5-litre diesel with 84bhp or 118bhp power outputs. Later models incorporate mild-hybrid technology in 1.o Ecoboost 125 and 155 versions.
Entry-level Style models get just the basics, such as air conditioning and electric front windows, but Zetec is a bit more generous, with 16in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, fog lights and a heated windscreen. You also get a 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system from Zetec specification and above, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Titanium adds cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and climate control, or you could seek out a B&O Titanium (there's also a B&O Zetec) version with an upgraded 10-speaker 675-watt sound system.
Titanium X gets the B&O sound system as standard along with heated front seats and steering wheel. ST-Line and ST-line X get sportier exterior and interior styling and sports suspension for sharper handling. The former has the same equipment as Zetec, while the latter is based on Titanium. The top-of-the-range Vignale is supposed to be the luxurious Fiesta, so it has leather seats as standard and an openable panoramic glass roof, but you'll probably find the rear parking sensors and reversing camera far more useful.
One of the best things about the Fiesta is the way it drives – few cars are more enjoyable to chuck around on a twisty B-road than this small Ford. It really can give some more expensive sports cars a very good run for their money. The steering is precise and well-weighted, grip is in plentiful supply and it hangs on gamely even if you pile into a corner a little too quickly.
And, to top it all off, the ride is beautifully judged, even ST-line models with firmer sports suspension. It has a real knack for dealing with speed bumps and potholes at low speeds just as well as it deals with motorway expansion joints at the national limit. Suspension noise is well suppressed, too, giving the Fiesta a sense of solidity and big car refinement.
Inside, as far as fit and finish go, the bits that you touch regularly all feel fairly upmarket by the standards of the class, and the Fiesta uses soft-touch material on parts of its dashboard. You won’t find any of that in an Ibiza or a Skoda Fabia. However, the Fiesta’s interior doesn’t feel quite as solidly screwed together as the Ibiza’s or Polo's. You’ll also notice some unappealingly textured plastics lower down on the Fiesta’s dashboard.
The Fiesta has plenty of room up front; its driving position is set fairly high and there's plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and the seat, so most should be comfortable. Rear seat space is a little more cramped, though; two will be reasonably comfortable, but carrying a third passenger is only really an option on shorter journeys. It's fair to say that one or two rivals offer more rear leg room, most notably the Seat Ibiza.
Most models have a backrest that folds down 60/40, and the boot is of a good size and is relatively easy to access over the loading lip. Fold the rear seats down flat and there is a slight step in the floor, but the optional height-adjustable boot floor irons out some of that problem on its highest setting.
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