New Ford Fiesta... First Drive

FORD'S transformed Fiesta looks set to shake up the supermini class. With feline headlights, sculpted sides and eye-catching rear lights, the newcomer is visual dynamite – and from launch is available with three or five-doors.

FORD'S transformed Fiesta looks set to shake up the supermini class.

With feline headlights, sculpted sides and eye-catching rear lights, the newcomer is visual dynamite - and from launch is available with three or five-doors.

Ford expects its smooth-revving 94bhp petrol model to become the range's best seller - but below this sits an entry-level 1.25 litre petrol and above it a 120bhp 1.6 litre.

But it's the diesels which steal the show with their flexibility and economy. The first - a 1.4 litre - might only produce 68bhp but with 160Nm of torque, that translates to surprisingly effortless progress on the road with over 60mpg fuel economy. Add in £35 a year road tax, standard air conditioning, Quickclear heated front windscreen, and 15-inch alloy wheels, and the five-door £12,595 1.4 TDCi Zetec looks extremely appealing. A 1.6 diesel boasts similar low emissions but delivers an even more refined performance, aided by an extra 20bhp.


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Inside, there's a futuristic starship look to the well crafted dashboard - and materials used throughout the new Fiesta, like the soft-touch plastic dash, have been improved dramatically. Black plastic interior door handles feel a little flimsy and cheap though, when most rivals offer metal or at least silver spay painted items.

The driving experience, however, is simply first class. Well weighted steering delivers plenty of feel, the suspension, which has been perfectly tuned to iron out the bumps, also delivers the thrills through the bends, while the five-speed gearbox has a delightful dampened action that produces fluid, accurate changes. Of course there has to be a downside - and in the case of the new Fiesta it's the car's rear seats which hark back to Fords of bygone days. The rear bench might be split and the seat backs fold down - but that's it. And because the seat base can't be lifted it's as far from a flat load surface as you can get.

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However, take into account the sublime driving experience, good looks and quality build and overall the new Ford Fiesta is an absolute dream.

- Neil Greenfield

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