Ever since the original was launched in 1976, Ford’s baby Fiesta has come to define the supermini market. For almost four decades it’s been one of the best-selling cars in the UK, and it’s not hard to see why. Fun to drive, brilliant value and cheap to run, it’s no wonder the Fiesta is a national institution.
Thanks to its popularity there are masses to choose from, so you won’t have to travel far to find one. There are lots of variations on the theme, too – whether your focus is performance or economy, there’s a Fiesta for you.
The Ford Fiesta was first launched back in 1976 and, 40 years later, it’s more popular than ever. It’s been through seven generations and it’s the most recent model that we’re concentrating on here.
Prices from £4,000
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The seventh-generation Fiesta debuted in 2008, with 1.25, 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol engines, along with 1.4 or 1.6 diesels. The 1.25 came in 59 or 81bhp forms, there were three or fivedoor hatchbacks, and Studio, Style, Style+, Zetec, Zetec S and Titanium trim levels.
From October 2009, Edge muscled in between Style+ and Zetec. From the outset there was a 98g/km Econetic edition; by March 2012 this was cut to just 87g/km. The 1.4 petrol got an auto option from June 2009, then in April 2010 came the sporty 118bhp S1600. The hot 180bhp 1.6-litre ST followed in 2012.
A facelifted Fiesta arrived in early 2013, offered with Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.
Ford Fiesta Style review
Ford Fiesta Zetec S review
Ford Fiesta Titanium review
Ford Fiesta EcoBoost review
Ford Fiesta automatic review
Ford Fiesta ST review
Ford Fiesta ST2 review
Ford Fiesta ST3 review
Ford Fiesta 1.0 Mountune review
Ford Fiesta ST Mountune 230 review
Ford Fiesta ST long-term test review
There are no poor engine choices, but we prefer the 1.6 TDCi for its muscle, relaxed cruising and economy. The entry-level Style comes with electric front windows and remote central locking; Style+ adds a heated windscreen and air-con. Zetec Fiestas feature 15-inch alloy wheels, a trip computer and ambient cabin lighting, while the Zetec S comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, lowered suspension and sports seats.
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The range-topping Titanium packs cruise control, power operated door mirrors, privacy glass, climate control, plus automatic lights and wipers. The high-spec Titanium is also the most popular trim level for buyers of the Fiesta when new.
Toyota’s Yaris is reliable and good to drive, but you’ll pay more for one of these than an equivalent Fiesta. Skoda’s Fabia is roomy and fun to drive, too, while its VW Polo cousin offers the same virtues, but at a higher price. The Vauxhall Corsa is almost as plentiful as the Fiesta, and great value.
Don’t discount Renault’s Clio or Nissan’s Micra; the first for its driving enjoyment and the second for reliability. But the Honda Jazz is the Fiesta’s toughest adversary. Not only is it very dependable, it’s hugely practical and generously equipped. It’s costly, though.
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The cabin is neatly designed, easy to use and generally has a quality feel. There’s plenty of cubby space, plus head and legroom are good, but not brilliant. The 290-litre boot is also fine without being exceptional; it expands to 974 litres with the seats folded.
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Gear selection can be tricky, especially reverse and first. It’s often easier to select whatever gear you can get, before moving to the one you want.
Door seals can come away from the frame, leading to wind noise at speed and water leaks into the cabin. A dab of glue should adequately fix things.
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Alloy wheels can buckle – particularly the 16 and 17-inch rims. Once a wheel has buckled, though, it’ll be obvious as soon.
Steering racks don’t seem to last very long, while track rod ends aren’t always very durable, either. Repairs tend not to be too costly, though.
All Fiesta Mk7s need to be serviced every 12,500 miles or 12 months. Services run minor (£146), intermediate (£191) then major (£250) for all cars, apart from the 1.6 ST which differs slightly. All engines have a timing belt, which has to be replaced every eight years or 100,000 miles for the 1.25, 1.4 and 1.6 Duratec units. It’s every 10 years or 150,000 miles for the 1.0 EcoBoost, or every 125,000 miles for the 1.6 EcoBoost and TDCi diesels. Expect to pay £300 to have a new cambelt fitted, apart from on EcoBoost engines when it’s a massive £850 job. The brake fluid needs to be replaced every two years – at £35 – while fresh coolant is needed every 10 years (£59).
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Ford has recalled the Fiesta Mk7 three times. The first affected cars built between July and November 2011 that could suffer from exhaust fumes getting into the cabin. The next came in February 2012; the rear suspension bolts could fail in 889 Fiestas built in September 2011. In November 2014, the most recent recall was issued. It affected 40,000 diesel cars built in 2010 and 2011. The glow plug control module could short circuit and catch fire.
It seems our readers don’t love the Fiesta as much as we do: it finished a lowly 105th in our Driver Power 2016 survey. The highlight was 18th for handling, but 125th for practicality is disappointing.