Ford tackles keyless car theft with new ‘sleeping’ key fob

Fiesta and Focus get new keyless entry key fobs with a sleep mode in order to protect them against thieves...

Ford Fiesta ST keyless theft

In a bid to combat the increasing number of thefts of cars with keyless entry, Ford has added a sleep mode to the key fob of the Fiesta. The technology will be extended to the Focus in May.

Thieves have been targeting keyless entry cars with relay box equipment that can pick up the signal from the key fob while it's in the owner’s home and use this to open and start the car. 

To tackle this threat, Ford's new key fobs contain a motion sensor. If this detects the key hasn't been moved for more than 40 seconds, it puts it into sleep mode. This prevents anyone with a relay box or other specialist equipment from getting its signal. 

The key fob wakes up again as soon as it's moved. According to Ford, it will be fully functional by the time the owner has walked to the car. Additionally, the key fobs are programmed to work only within two metres of the car. 

Ford Fiesta ST keyless theft

Ford security specialist Simon Hurr said: “The online availability of devices which have no place in public hands has long been a problem for Ford, our industry and crime fighters. 

"We are pleased to respond with a simple but effective solution – swiftly implemented to help protect owners of our top-selling cars.”  

New Fiestas are now being delivered with the new key fobs, and the Focus will get them soon. Plus, Ford is offering the upgrade to existing owners of the current Fiesta and Focus, for £65 and £72 per key respectively. 

Security testing experts at Thatcham Research recently released new ratings for cars that highlighted the makes and models most vulnerable to keyless theft. Other brands, including Audi, Mercedes and Porsche, are also working on improving the security of their keyless entry vehicles. 

The best small cars - and the ones to avoid

More people buy small cars than any other type of car, but these vehicles still need to excel in a number of areas to make them worth buying. Here we round up the best small cars and the one you should avoid.

The small car market is one of the most fiercely contested – great news if you're after this sort of vehicle, because it means not only that there are stacks of models to choose from, but also that standards are incredibly high.

To have a chance of topping the class, a small car must be as comfortable on the motorway as it is in the city. It must offer a decent amount of equipment, enough boot space for weekly shopping trips and an interior that's practical enough to cope with the demands of families. And it must, of course, be competitively priced.

To help you find the right small car, we've picked out our top 10 – and named the one you should avoid.

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Mini 3dr

Although the Mini 3dr doesn’t quite have the practicality of its slightly larger 5dr sibling, it's no less worthy of making the cut in your deliberations - particularly if you’d like your small car to have a premium feel but don’t regularly need all five seats.

There’s a bewildering array of options with the Mini that you can use to customise your car and make it truly your own. However, stick with the Cooper model that comes with an excellent 1.5-litre petrol engine and choose wisely from the optional packages and you’ll have a well-equipped and well-built small car for a reasonable outlay.  

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper

Read our full Mini 3dr review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

9. Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

The Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality, and it might even outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's a shame that its ride is rather unsettled.

The Jazz was the first car to come with ultra-practical fold-up rear seat bases that let you create a space large enough for a pushbike or bulky flat-pack furniture.

Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE

Read our full Honda Jazz review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

8. Mini 5dr

Mini 5dr

If you want a truly high-end small hatchback, the Mini 5dr should be on your shortlist. If you go for the Cooper version, you'll also get a great engine and all the technology you could ever want.

The Mini has a classy, tech-laden interior and plenty of personalisation options. Inside, a dinner plate sized central dial houses the infotainment screen.

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper 5dr

Read our full Mini 5dr review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

Next: more of our favourite small cars > 

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