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ROAD TEST – Ford Fiesta

By Ian Strachan

The Ford Fiesta has been on our roads for many years, and now it’s got even better. The car that is keeping Ford at the top of the UK sales charts is probably one of the most technologically advanced small cars in Europe, writes motoring editor Ian Strachan.

The development of the eponymous Fiesta has accelerated. The all-new  model comes with sharper, more streamlined styling, a smart new interior, extra specification,  class-leading low-polluting engines and a host of technology to keep you comfortable and safe.

The new Fiesta has achieved a maximum Euro-NCAP safety rating, and comes with lane-keeping alert, speed limiter and traffic sign recognition.

I test drove the new three-door Fiesta ST-Line – powered by a 140 bhp 1.0 petrol engine. This unit delivers miserly fuel economy of 56.5 mpg in mixed driving. I test drove the manual version with a pleasant-to-use, springy six speed box.

The new Fiesta is the epitome of urban chic with a wide range of colour variations to customise your car. With its sleek lines, its aggressive road stance and shark-like front end it manages to look sporty, while the inside is packed with premium features including electronic automatic temperature control, satellite navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker DAB digital radio with Apple CarPlay and two USB sockets, traffic sign recognition, heated front screen, all-round electric windows, electric folding door mirrors with puddle lights and automatic high-beam headlights, heated front screen and rain-sensing wipers.

You also get smart 17 inch alloys, although my test car was fitted with 18 inch five-spoke alloys at and extra £600. Other standard equipment includes front fog lamps with cornering lights, steering wheel-mounted controls, keyless start and cruise control.

All this is in addition to the Fiesta’s well-established virtues of smooth good looks, bags of interior space and great ride and handling.

This is a small family car which still manages to look sleek and sporty. From the front you have the  deep grille, with a turned-down slightly disapproving look, and sleek headlights with LED daytime lights. From the side the Fiesta has smooth, sculpted lines and from the back the car is nicely designed with  LED light clusters. You still get impressive carrying capacity for a small car, particularly with the 60/40 fold-down rear seats.

The inside is nice too, helped by nicely-trimmed seats which are comfortable with a good range of adjustment. My test car has red ST-Line trim at an extra £150. There are plenty of storage spaces around the interior and all instruments are clear and accessible.

The 1.0 petrol engine is a quiet unit, even when worked hard, with good acceleration and flexibility.

Ride and handling are excellent thanks to a lightweight chassis and good suspension. Road-holding is superb and electronic stability controls with hill-start assist come as standard.

On the road price for this spec is £19,315. My test car came withpremium Frozen White paintwork (£250), rear view camera (£250), a premium  sound system (£350) and heated front seats and steering wheel (£250).

Ford is to be congratulated on the new Fiesta. There’s a big car in there trying to get out, but with small car personality, and it looks guaranteed to keep claiming the sales top spot.

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