Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost

20 Nov, 2012 3:30pm Tom Phillips

We've driven the facelifted Ford Fiesta with the firm's award-winning 1.0 EcoBoost engine


The Fiesta is already ahead of the game, and the new car only enhances that. The new look adds a dose of big-car solidity to the nose, while the new technology offers a new generation of drivers smart-phone technology in their car. Add in the new EcoBoost engine, which feels at its most at-home in the Fiesta, and you’ve got the recipe for a supermini success story that looks set to continue.

The current Ford Fiesta has been the best-selling car in the UK ever since it was introduced in 2008. So despite the fact that almost one in four superminis sold in the UK wears a Fiesta badge, Ford has given the car a striking new look and some new technology, aimed at cementing its place at the head of the pack.

The most obvious change is the Fiesta’s new nose. It features Ford’s new 'Power Dome' bonnet, shared with the forthcoming Mondeo, and, while the upper edges of the headlamp units share the same curves as the pre-facelift car, the lights themselves are narrower and more technical looking than before.

This is thanks to the addition of LED daytime running lights, which run along the bottom edge of each headlamp. All models, from entry-level Studio, right up to the new, top-spec Titanium X trim, get a five-bar chrome grille, which sits higher up than the existing model, leaving space for the front number plate below.

Like the new bonnet, the oversized grille design is lifted straight off last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show Evos concept. Completing the new look are new tail-lights, new alloy wheel designs and new colours – including a rather nice Candy Blue, and rather less successful Copper Brown.

While we were a little sceptical of the new car’s looks on the Paris Motor Show stand, on the road, the new grille makes the car seem larger and more solid than it actually is, while the daytime LEDs and splashes of chrome brighten the car’s face, both literally and in terms of bringing the design right up to date.

The current Fiesta’s interior still looks fresh, so there aren’t any major changes to the dash or switchgear. There are some new seats, which offer excellent support and loads of adjustability, and new gloss trim around the air conditioning controls. The front door handles have been redesigned, moving the electric window switches further forward for easier use. Higher-spec cars also now get a centre console armrest which doubles as a decent sized cubbyhole. It’s just a shame that the plastic than runs from the cubby to the gearlever is made from quite thin, flexible plastic.

The Fiesta gets some interesting new tech. SYNC, Ford’s fairly intuitive voice control system for changing music tracks or calling people on the go suits the Fiesta’s youth-orientated and smartphone savvy customer base. Its most useful function is that it can read your text messages out loud, including the emoticons.

SYNC is standard on Zetec trims and above, while MyKey is standard on all cars. It lets the car’s owner set limits to certain functions of the car. Using a programmable car key, the Fiesta’s speed can be set not to exceed 80mph, the traction control can’t be deactivated, the stereo’s volume set so that it only turns up to 45 per cent of its maximum volume, and the fuel light so it comes on when range is 80 instead of 50 miles. All are features designed for parents with teenage kids in mind.

Rivalling the new nose as one of the more significant updates is the addition Ford’s three-cylinder engine. The Fiesta is the first Ford to get the entry-level non-turbo unit, but the only petrol model available for us to test was the top spec 123bhp 1.0 EcoBoost version.

We’ve already tried this engine in the Focus and B-MAX, but the Fiesta is lighter than both those, ensuring even more impressive performance. The three-cylinder is very quiet on start-up, including at the lights where the stop-start system cuts and returns power pretty smoothly, too.

Around town, you barely notice the engine’s characterful engine note, but do enjoy its decent response, even from low revs. At higher speeds, the engine remains impressively quiet – sitting at around 2,600rpm in fifth gear at 70mph, the only noise that permeates the cabin is the roar from the tyres. On a twisty road, the engine offers plenty for the keen driver, too, coming alive at around 3,000rpm and delivering both a good supply of torque and a nice, off-beat growl.

Ford has left well alone where it comes to the Fiesta’s class-leading chassis, which matches the engine with a perfect mix of sporty firmness and supple comfort. The way the Fiesta darts into corners and feels light on is feet is still what separates it from the pack. 

Disqus - noscript

Yuck. Grafting the face of an Aston onto a supermarket runaround doesn't work. It looks like it's had a front end collision before its left the showroom.

No doubt this will be a big seller. Many to the fleet markets! I'll stick to my Toyota. Much better car than any Ford.

The Fiesta is a great car, but I'm not sure that the "new face of Ford" really fits on the nose as well as it does on the much-delayed Mondeo.

What planet you on AutoExpress... Striking new look? there are far better looking cars around..... 5* again for a ford well there's a surprise.... I had a first, your recommendation wish I hadn't it ain't that brilliant to drive as you claim.........

Looks good on the whole but lacking in a few areas. Don't think the new design alloys with higher profile tyres look as good as the old ones, and its a shame integrated Sat Nav isn't offered. I'm sure it makes up for this by driving well though!

After the way they've treated the British car workers, no way will i buy a Ford.
The only ones with faith seem to be the Japanese..

What is the matter with designers? This Aston obsession. We already have Jags that look like 4 door Astons, now Fords are going Aston too. What was wrong with the face of the previous Mondeo/Focus with the trapezoidal grille - or whatever they called it. As soon as they have established recognition of a family 'face' they go and change it. What sort of crazy marketing is this? Admittedly the new model Focus/Fiesta faces were about the worst ever, so I suppose anything was better.

What's with the Ford bashing all the time? No one ever seems to moan about the dull styling of the VW Golf that they pass off as new at each new reincarnation...they're not that reliable either. My last one spent more time in the garage than on the road - so much for solid build quality.

Google image the words, bloated, puffer, fish and spot the difference

Good as this car might be you can get a Seat Ibiza in FR trim with a 1.2tsi engine for £2000 less (list price) and probably extend this significantly if you are willing to haggle. It might not get the same rave reviews but the real life compromises can't be that great. As an owner I'm biased of course but its surely worthy of consideration at the price difference? As would be a MK3 Leon in SE spec with the same engine for a massive £500 extra to this.

What made you buy a Golf in the first place though?! Not a quick decision buying a car unless you are absolutely minted. The new Fiesta is horrid compared to the previous model. What the hell happened with that grill!?

2 door Fiesta looks very cramped & claustrophobic in the rear with low roof lines and small windows with rear vain styling making rear visibility very poor, last model had a much more pleasing front end, but it looks OK works well on the new Modeo.

Still with the excellent 1.0 Ecoboost engine it should be cheap to insure and run, not so sure how durable it will be long term stand the test of time. Still prefer the much better more durable diesel version thats much more fuel efficient economic as well.

Fantastic car! This has the same power as my Mk 7 ZetecS! But with over 60MPG!! Great work Ford, also for the looks, I should imagine it's the same as the original and you have to see it in the flesh But I think it looks classy. Good work Ford, also liking the Ford Sync too.

What's wrong with a Fiesta that looks like an Aston Martin?! What other choice arethere.....VW Polo.....BORING.....Seat Ibiza.....BORING....Skoda Fabia.....BORING.....Fiat Punto....Would you really buy one?? Peugeot 208....again would you buy Well done Ford for offering such a dynamic, good looking car with some super-efficient, engines....99g/km for the 1.0 ecoboost with 125PS...can't argue with that

If I remember correctly Peugeot received a lot of negative press for its "gaping" mouth on the front. Now here comes a Fiesta which puts the fish sucking mouth of the Peugeot to same. Why isn't it being given the caning it deserves instead of this marketing slogan of "big car solidity". . Are we sucking up to the locals.....again.

'Grafting the face of an Aston onto a supermarket runaraound doesn't work.' What?!?! I saw the Fiesta outside a showroom last week and loved the new look - my wife saw it and said - 'you always said you'd buy me an Aston one day!'. We took the 125PS Ecoboost for a test drive (Titanium trim) and bought it. It feels solid as a rock and that engine just makes me giggle all the time - it's amazing! What a car!!

Key specs

  • Price: £15,445
  • Engine: 1.0-litre, 3cyl, turbo petrol
  • Power: 123bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.4 secs
  • Top speed: 122mph
  • Economy: 65.7mpg
  • CO2: 99g/km
  • Equipment: SYNC, MyKey, 16-inch alloys, Quickclear windsceen, rear spoiler
  • On sale: January
AEX 1334
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