Ford Fiesta Review
Great value - new and used - good to drive and well-equipped: the latest Ford Fiesta is a fantastic all-round supermini
Strengths & weaknesses
- Comfortable and fun to drive
- Mid-range models are good value
- Huge choice of styles and specifications
- Vignale models expensive
- Boot space only average
- Auto braking system is optional
Ford Fiesta prices from £5,995 Finance from £128.43 per month
If you’ve never owned a Ford Fiesta, then the chances are that you have friends who do, or you’ve hired one on holiday, or been driven in one by someone else. Ford’s small hatchback isn’t just the most popular car in Britain, it has been a steamroller in the sales charts for decades, with far more Fiestas selling each year than even the second best-selling car.
This success is no accident: the Fiesta combines comfort, performance, value-for-money and space in a way that meets the needs of hundreds of thousands of customers, from young drivers to families and retired couples. And more than being a car you choose out of necessity, the latest model is particularly desirable, too, with economical, sporty and luxurious versions available.
Better still, this means all of this means there's tonnes of choice when it comes to picking a used model. So, not only should you be able to find a Fiesta in exactly the colour and specification you want, you should also be able to get it for a good price.
|Warranty||3 years / 60,000 miles|
|Boot size||292 litres (3dr) / 303 litres (5dr)|
|Tax||£125 to £165 in first year, £140 thereafter|
Best Ford Fiesta for...
Best for Economy – Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.5 TDCi 85PS
The least-powerful diesel engine comes with an official 74.3mpg figure but you should expect a more realistic 58mpg in everyday driving, which is still frugal. It's available with Zetec trim too.
Best for Families – Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100PS
A larger, clearer touchscreen plus useful extras, such as cruise control and a speed limiter, make Titanium trim worth looking for. The 100hp petrol engine is economical, quiet and powerful enough for any road.
Best for Performance – Ford Fiesta ST
Fast and fun, the Ford Fiesta ST is one of the best value sports cars in Britain, giving you plenty of opportunity to put a smile on your face within the speed limit.
One to Avoid – Ford Fiesta Active 1 1.0T EcoBoost 85PS
The least-powerful version of Ford's EcoBoost engine is slow and this version is surprisingly expensive (the list price started at £17,795): it's not an appealing model, especially as the taller Active car doesn't offer any great benefits, with no added off-road ability or all-wheel drive grip.
The Ford Fiesta has long been the UK's best-selling car and consider its breadth of abilities and sheer value and that's no surprise. It's stylish, comfortable, affordable, fun-to drive and cheap-to-run. And whether you want a high-performance model, a super-frugal one or a comfort-oriented luxury version, there's a Fiesta to suit.
You could argue that alternatives, including the Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia do the same but the secret to the Fiesta’s success is that it does everything with sparkle. This is a small car that is properly engineered, well-equipped, desirable and good value. It's not just a small car that sells because it's good value.
Whether you’re nipping through traffic in town or cutting across the countryside, there’s an energy about the car. You feel it in the way that it darts in another direction when you turn the steering wheel, or the kick of power as you work its high-tech turbocahrged petrol engines.
That’s the case whether you buy the previous-generation Ford Fiesta or the latest model, which replaced it in 2017. New car list prices started from £13,695 when the current version was launched, though new prices have risen notable since then. Thankfully, large discounts are available on new models, with an increasing number of used current generation Fiestas making this version more affordable.
The new car is larger, with more modern technology to match the competition, including a dashboard touchscreen media system in all but the entry-level car. The Fiesta is still just as fun to drive, thanks to its responsive steering and zippy engines and comfort is improved: the Fiesta now offers an even better cushioning over rough roads, while maintaining its agility in corners.
There are many more models to choose from too, including a luxurious Vignale model that comes with a panoramic sunroof and leather seats; a taller Fiesta Active version, which provides a slightly higher driving position; as well as B&O cars, fitted with a high end stereo from the manufacturer of the same name. Plus, there are sporty-looking ST-Line models and the rapid Fiesta ST model
You can choose a slightly cheaper Fiesta with three doors (two front doors and the hatchback makes three), or a more practical five-door version.
Unfortunately, automatic emergency braking, which can help avoid crashes, was only an option across the range at launch, but the car, still has a five-star safety rating from the independent Euro NCAP organisation. There are two sets of Isofix mounts for safely mounting child seats in the back, too.
In the mind of Ford’s marketing team, there’s now a Fiesta for everyone, and that’s increasingly true, thanks to the extra space, which now allows most adults to sit comfortably in the back (although three is a squeeze).
You could realistically use the Fiesta as a full family car, as long as you can cope with its boot which, at around 300 litres, is average for a supermini. A weekly shop or a suitcase will fit easily, but add a baby’s buggy or extra luggage and you may struggle: a VW Polo and Seat Ibiza have 355 litres of space, so if you need maximum bootspace in a small car, look at those two first.
Despite the Fiesta's strengths, don’t dismiss the alternatives before making up your mind, because Ford’s rivals have been catching up and, in the case of the Seat Ibiza, they’ve improved on the favourite.
It has a similar blend of comfort and nimbleness, but is cheaper than an equivalent Fiesta with a similar level of equipment, and slightly larger in the back, too. The Volkswagen Polo is probably the most comfortable small car that you can buy; meanwhile Vauxhall’s Corsa is older, doesn't drive as well or have as up-to-date in-car tech, but it is extremely cheap as a used model.
The differences are small, and you’re unlikely to be making a bad choice with the Fiesta. After all, the 100,000 or so people who bought one last year can’t all be wrong.
Understanding Ford Fiesta names
Trim level Zetec
The trim level lets you know how much equipment to expect as standard. There are nine in total, running from Style to Vignale. Zetec is relatively basic but has a sporty feel.
Engine 1.0T EcoBoost 100PS
The engine size is given in litres (here it's 1.0). T means that it is turbocharged for a combination of extra power and reasonable fuel economy. EcoBoost and Ti-VCT engines are petrol-powered, while TDCi badges indicate diesel. As there are different versions of the same-sized engines available, the power is often shown - being displayed here in PS (virtually identical to horsepower or hp).
Most Fiestas are bought with a manual gearbox but there's an automatic option with some engines.
Ford Fiesta Trims
Style, Zetec, B&O Play Zetec, Titanium, B&O Play Titanium, Titanium X, Vignale, ST Line, ST Line X
There are no fewer than nine Ford Fiesta trim levels to choose from, all offering slightly different levels of equipment across a wide price range.
Each version is detailed below, but it might be enough to note that every Fiesta, including entry-level Style models, comes with air-conditioning, a dashboard screen with Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting your mobile phone; a speed limiter to help avoid breaking the limit; and automatic headlights that come on when it gets dark.
Zetec cars offer good value, with 15-inch alloy wheels, a heated windscreen and a touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for simple control of phone apps. A useful addition is the Driver Assistance Pack for £400, which includes automatic emergency braking that can avoid frontal crashes and adaptive cruise control that adjusts your speed to keep a safe distance from the car in front.
The cheapest Ford Fiestas are badged Style and they are clearly the budget version of the car, with steel wheels, a small 4.2-inch screen and only the least-powerful petrol and diesel engines to choose from.
For an extra £1,500 when new, Zetec models feature the equipment listed above, plus front fog lights and brighter LED daytime running lights. The 6.5-inch touchscreen is a noticeable improvement over the screen on Style cars. You’re also able to order the excellent turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine with this trim level, and there’s an automatic option too.
For an extra £1,000 on the list price, B&O Play Zetec cars come with a high-end B&O sound system, plus a larger eight-inch touchscreen that’s clearer and easier to use on the move. Sat-nav is included too, although you may not need it, as standard Zetec cars have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which bring clear directions from your phone to the dashboard. B&O Play cars have the added option of mint or copper-colour paint.
Titanium models, meanwhile, offer the option of a more powerful 125hp version of the EcoBoost engine. Larger 16-inch alloy wheels, power-folding mirrors, cruise control, climate control, automatic windscreen wipers and main beam headlights that dip automatically are included, along with the eight-inch touchscreen with sat-nav media system for £1,250 more than standard Zetec cars.
There’s a £750 B&O Play Titanium upgrade, offering the stereo and colour options (the touchscreen and sat-nav is already standard). Alternatively, you can move up to Titanium X for £1,350 extra, which also includes a B&O sound system, plus part-leather heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and start, electric rear windows and a rear view camera.
At the top of the Fiesta range, the Vignale model is £1,350 more than Titanium X models and brings 17-inch alloy wheels, full leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and a unique wavy grille. You can choose to fit it with the most powerful - bar the sporty 200hp ST model - 140hp petrol engine, too.
That’s not the end of your options, though. ST-Line cars are also available with the 140hp petrol engine (as well as lesser-powered versions). Their list price is £1,250 more than Zetec models, and they come with 17-inch alloy wheels; sports suspension that’s a little firmer over bumps but makes the car feel sharper when turning; sports seats; keyless start and a sporty-looking flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Finally, ST-Line X models add rain-sensing wipers, climate control, cruise control and the eight-inch touchscreen with sat-nav for an extra £1,350.
The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s most popular car – it looks good, drives well and makes a great used buy
The Ford Fiesta ST may offer the most driving fun you can have on a small budget
The Ford Fiesta Active is a small and very talented mini-SUV that is a good alternative to the hatchback