Pros: Excellent EcoBoost engines, fun drive, improved interior
Cons: Rivals better finished, cabin visibility
The Ford Fiesta consistently ranks as one of Ireland’s best-selling supermini cars, and a newly-updated model has just arrived which aims to reaffirm this position. The new Fiesta looks very similar its predecessor in terms of styling, but a waft of updates have been applied inside and its cabin has taken notable leaps forward in terms of technology and finish. The Fiesta has a host of supermini rivals to compete with including the impressive new Volkswagen Polo and Nissan Micra, so can it retain its crown as the most popular supermini with Irish buyers for 2018? We drove it on Irish roads for week recently to find out.
What is it like?
The Fiesta’s distinctive styling and grown up looks have made it one of the best-selling superminis on the market, so Ford has kept styling updates on very subtle indeed. The most notable changes include reshaped front and rear lights, and we especially like the new LED daytime running lights which loop around the headlights. The Fiesta is also longer than it used to be and it is still available in both three and five door variants, unlike many of its rivals which are strictly five door. We tested the Titanium-specification Fiesta which is the middle model in the range with some choice upgrades including 16-inch alloy wheels, frozen white solid paint scheme and a panoramic roof.
The Fiesta has traditionally lagged behind its rivals in terms of interior fit and finish, but this has been addressed in the new model. The dashboard has been completely restyled with a slick new optional eight-inch tablet-style touch screen system which is featured on higher specification models in the range, the driver instruments are much more informative and there is also new detailining and trim for a neater finish. As a result, the cabin is much more pleasant place than it used to be. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are featured as standard in the Fiesta and work seamlessly on the move.
The front seats offer a good range of adjustment and are comfortable enough for longer journeys, while there is enough room to accommodate four adults in comfort. That said, the SEAT Ibiza or Honda Jazz offer superior room in the back row. Boot space is on par with 292 litres of room, and the rear seats fold forward when extra space is required. Our test car has an optional grey interior pack with leather detailing along with an upgraded B&O sound system.
The new Fiesta is available with a brace of different petrol engines and a 1.5 TDCI diesel unit. We drove the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol which for all intents and purposes, is the star student of the range. With 100 horsepower and lsurprising amounts of low down oomph, it is a hoot to drive around town. It can cover 0-100km/h in a respectable 10.5 seconds and cruises comfortably at motorway speeds, even with four passengers and their luggage in tow. Our test car has a six-speed manual gearbox which shifts admirably, and there is also an optional automatic transmission. During our time with the Fiesta, we found it to be suitably economical with returns of 6.5-litres/100 kilometres in fuel economy and annual motor tax listed at €180.
Few of the Fiesta’s rivals can match it for sheer driving character out on the road. The new Fiesta is based on a wider track with improved tyres and it feels more planted in turns than before and increasingly agile too. The suspension setup is comfort-orientated and is well suited to Irish roads as a result, with good cushioning on bumpy road surfaces and over speed ramps. Refinement is good with low cabin noise at higher speeds, although the large optional alloy wheels on our test car add an element of tyre roar. Those seeking a sportier setup can opt for the high specification ST-Line model which gains stiffer suspension, a lower ride height and a driver-focused setup.
There are four models to choose from in the Fiesta range with Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale trims, and prices start from €16,650 here in Ireland. In base Zetec specification, the Fiesta is equipped with air conditioning, Bluetooth, auto headlights, electric front windows, tyre pressure monitoring, electric and heated door mirrors and 15-inch steel wheels. The step up to Titanium specification is a worthy one, as it adds a 6.5-inch touch infotainment screen, leather steering wheel, heated windscreen, Thatcham alarm, 15-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights amongst other features, though prices start from €19,050.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The new Ford Fiesta is the best-selling supermini in Ireland so far in 2018 and it’s easy to see why with great all-round practicality, a superb range of petrol engines and better driving dynamics than most of its rivals. The new wave of interior updates and optional technology are certainly a value add, and bring the Fiesta in line with its main rivals including the Volkswagen Polo and Nissan Micra. The Fiesta doesn’t offer the same level of quality as its premium rivals however, while the technology isn’t as intuitive to use either. Despite this, we were impressed with the Fiesta and the new model should remain a top seller in the class.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost Titanium
Prices from: €16,650
Price as tested: €25,470
Annual Road Tax: €180
Engine: 999cc three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Top Speed: 182km/h
0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
Transmission: Six speed manual
Body style: Hatchback
Boot Space: 292 litres