30 Jan, 2018 3:45pm
The humble Ford Fiesta is no stranger to praise and awards. Landing fresh into showrooms late last year, it’s already picked up a win and a five-star rating in our hotly contested supermini group test, plus it was crowned Car of the Year by our sister title, Carbuyer. It also regained its position as Britain’s best-selling new car after the old model was phased out.
To see if all the acclaim is justified, I’ll be running this three-door 1.0-litre EcoBoost 100 petrol model in distinctive Bohai Bay Mint green. The colour is meant to mimic the shade of the water of a bay in northern China. It certainly turns heads, although our time with the car over the winter so far has revealed that it shows up road grime very quickly.
The finish is exclusive to our B&O Play Zetec model which, at £16,195 before options, sits in the middle of the Fiesta range. Despite not being a top-spec car, it still comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 sat-nav and infotainment system, including a WiFi hotspot, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. As the name suggests, it also features a Play-branded Bang & Olufsen stereo with 10 speakers for punchy surround sound.
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To that we’ve added the Style Pack, which brings 16-inch alloys, rear privacy glass and metal sill plates for £450, neat pop-out door edge protectors for £85, as well as the £300 City Pack, which comprises parking sensors and power-folding door mirrors with puddle lights.
Finally, for a reasonable £225, we’ve specified the Comfort Pack that brings heated front seats and a heated steering wheel – two features we’ve already found invaluable on cold winter mornings.
The Fiesta has quickly settled in well to daily life on the Auto Express fleet, both in my hands and with deputy art editor George Vedmore, who took the keys over the Christmas break.
The interior, in particular, is a notable improvement on the old model’s, with much better fit and finish, a more intuitive layout and plenty of soft-touch materials on display.
It still retains the driver-focused feel, too, and there’s plenty of adjustability in the wheel. However, the non-height-adjustable passenger seat is mounted a little too high – taller passengers have commented that they feel perched on the seat rather than in it.
The new touchscreen infotainment system is also a world away from the fiddly, button-heavy Sony set-up in the old car. Even though it looks as though it’s been tacked on to the centre of the dash as an afterthought, the eight-inch display is bright, clear and responsive to the touch.
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The latest Fiesta once again carries the mantle of being the best driver’s car in its class, with an unmatched balance of ride comfort and handling prowess. It’s not soft, but great damping means our car flows nicely over bumpy roads, while retaining an agile and playful feel in bends. It’s helped by quick, direct steering and the slick manual shift.
The 99bhp version of Ford’s EcoBoost engine under the bonnet of our model is a peach, too. It’s the sweet spot between performance and price in the range. It’s also pretty refined, with less vibration through the controls than in the old car.
And after the spark it’s already shown, we’re relishing the next six months with the award-winning supermini.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old living in Banbury, Oxon, with three penalty points.
- Model: Ford Fiesta B&O Play Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost 100 3dr
- On fleet since: December 2017
- Price new: £16,195
- Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol, 99bhp
- CO2/tax: 97g/km/£140
- Options: Style pack (£450), Door edge protectors (£85), City Pack (£300) Comfort pack (£225)
- Insurance*: Group: 10/Quote: £573
- Mileage: 3,970
- Economy: 45.1mpg
- Any problems?: None so far
Long-term test review: Ford Fiesta