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The Ford Fiesta has been the best-selling car in the UK for the last eight years and, as such, it needs little introduction. Even those with no interest in cars would be able to have a good crack at picking out a Fiesta in a crowded car park, such is its popularity.
But no manufacturer can afford to stand still – especially in an uber-competitive small hatchback class that's stronger than ever.
The Fiesta has had a reputation for sweet handling and a good offering of technology, as well as a top-notch selection of engines. Here we’re driving the unit that Ford says will likely be the best-selling: the 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost 100.
It sits above the entry-level 1.1-litre engine and below the 1.0-litre Ecoboost 125 and 140 units in the range. As the most popular engine choice for a car that will probably remain the best-selling car in the UK, it has a big job to do.
2017 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost 100 on the road
It’s easy to see why this engine is likely to be popular. The Ecoboost is an absolute peach to drive and suits the car perfectly.
While its outright pace isn’t exactly mind-bending, the power delivery from as low as 1400rpm is linear and predictable, making it satisfying to push engine all the way up to its redline. It does sound a little strained at higher revs, but in normal driving conditions it's nicely hushed.
It even shows itself to be adept at longer motorway cruises, easily coping with getting to and maintaining higher speeds. And now the manual gearbox gets a sixth gear as standard, it helps to keep the engine even quieter at higher speeds. The new gearbox has a quick, positive action, and we’d recommend sticking to the excellent manual rather than Ford's automatic option.
The pedals are nicely weighted, the steering is crisp and precise, offering lots of feedback, and the car itself feels brilliantly agile. The suspension is firm – although not as firm as that of the sporty Fiesta ST-Line – but still very comfortable and well controlled, riding well over most road surfaces. All of this makes it pleasant to drive, and it puts to shame many other cars that cost far more, let alone its class rivals.
2017 Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost 100 interior
Those familiar with the outgoing Fiesta’s interior will recall the frustrating mess of fiddly buttons that littered the dashboard, but Ford has had a drastic clean-up and provided a touchscreen infotainment system with Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system. True, it’s a somewhat intrusive design with the screen plonked on the top of the dash rather than embedded into it, but it’s still a massive improvement.
Space inside is good up front and acceptable in the back, while the boot is a useful size, if smaller than those of rivals - the Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia will fit more inside.
Zetec trim will be the biggest seller, and it’s our pick of the range, too. Providing 15in alloys, a heated windscreen, front fog lights and a 6.5in touchscreen infotainment system as standard, it’s the best value trim, but we’d still recommend paying extra for the bigger 8.0in touchscreen. The more expensive trims, like Titanium and Vignale, make don't make as much sense as the better value Zetec and ST-Line options.
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