Ford Fiesta diesel review

Ford Fiesta front tracking
Credits: Otis Clay
16 Jun, 2014 11:45am Lesley Harris

Ford’s Fiesta diesel range has it all: great looks, amazing driving attributes and a healthy regard for your pocket.


The Ford Fiesta diesel range offers attractive styling, low running costs and a fantastic drive. However, interior quality could be better in places and some rivals are more spacious.

The Ford Fiesta is still one of the best cars Ford has ever produced, and is currently our reigning supermini class champion.  And every model in its range still manages to eclipse rivals like the Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo thanks to its sleek looks, sparkling driving experience, low running costs and practical cabin.

The Fiesta has certainly helped Ford stay top of the UK’s new car sales chart, with its competitive pricing, attractive finance plans and generous equipment levels across the range.  And what’s more it has a good choice of economical diesel engines to choose from too.  Ford’s latest 74bhp 1.5TDCi puts out 185Nm of torque and emits 98g/kms of Co2 and is available on all but the Zetec S and Titanium X models.  Or opt for the more powerful and punchier 1.6 TDCI  94bhp which gives you an extra 15Nm of torque to play with at 200Nm and it has slightly lower emissions - 95g/km . 

This diesel engine option is available across the whole range excluding Fiesta’s sporty ST models.  But if you want the most economical and frugal Fiesta diesel, plump for our favourite Ford’s very popular ECOnetic model.  Automatic stop/start technology is standard so reduces the Co2 to just 85g/kms making it one of the cleanest superminis in its class.  And with no road tax to pay on any of the Fiesta diesel models its also one of the cheapest to run.

The Fiesta diesel comes in both three and five-door guises and depending of which model you choose gets a host of standard equipment such as body-coloured heated door mirrors, manual air-conditioning, electric front windows and a CD radio with USB connection.  The Fiesta diesel also boasts seven airbags, which helps give it a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

However the Ford Fiesta isn’t perfect: the interior is still blighted by some cheap plastics, and while its entry price of £13,695 for the Style 1.5TDCi is tempting, the figure can rise quickly when you start adding some of the optional safety equipment. But whichever Ford Fiesta diesel you go for, the baby Ford is a talented all-rounder that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the supermini class.

Few superminis can rival the Ford Fiesta for style and street cred. A rakish profile and bold details mean it packs plenty of visual punch – but Ford’s trademark gaping grille looks a little heavy-handed in this case.

The Fiesta is equally attractive inside, where you’ll find a neatly designed and logically laid-out dashboard. Quality is good, too, with decent fit and finish, plus plenty of soft-touch materials – although some of the plastics used in the lower half of the cabin are a little hard and scratchy. There’s plenty of adjustment on the seat and steering wheel, so it’s easy for drivers to get comfortable.

But while the Ford Fiesta gets the innovative MyKey as standard – a system allowing the driver to tailor settings including speed limit reminders and radio volume - Ford shamefully charge an extra £200 for Bluetooth and £100 for a DAB radio – kit you’ll find as standard on many rivals.  Other options available include sat-nav for £700, a Quickclear windscreen (£100) and a useful adjustable boot load floor for £75.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 80PS interior

The Fiesta is as good to drive as it is to look at, and its poised handling and excellent refinement give it a mature feel.  And the diesel models are more efficient than their petrol counterparts.

Fiesta diesel variants are all fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox – there’s no auto option – and in-gear response is definitely a match for any of the Fiesta’s rivals. This, combined with the excellent ride and decent noise insulation, makes the Fiesta diesel a great city car, as well as one of the best superminis for motorway driving.

Despite its compact dimensions, the Ford Fiesta is a versatile choice, particularly in five-door form. However, it can’t match the clever packaging of roomy MPV-style rivals like the Nissan Note and Honda Jazz

The Ford Fiesta gets adequate head and legroom for rear passengers, and lots of thought has gone into the interior, where you’ll find plenty of storage cubbies and a number of cup-holders.

The Ford Fiesta also has a slight advantage over its rivals for luggage capacity, thanks to its well-shaped 290-litre boot. Ford fits a useful 60:40 split-folding rear seat as standard across the range although the bench doesn’t fold completely flat.

A supermini should be cheap to run, and the Ford Fiesta diesels don’t disappoint. Low emissions mean a tax disc will cost nothing, and our experts predict that the Ford Fiesta diesel range will hold their values reasonably well, with an average figure of 41.2 per cent after three years. Ford offers a £550 pre-paid servicing pack, which covers scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles. And as it’s Britain’s best selling car you should be able to haggle decent deals with your Ford dealer.