Ford Fiesta Black Edition review

18 Jun, 2014 (All day) Luke Madden

New 1.0-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta Red and Black Edition models get ST look with no compromise on comfort

Verdict

5
The Ford Fiesta Red and Black Editions slot neatly between the Zetec S EcoBoost 125 and the extreme ST in the Fiesta line-up. Whichever you pick, you’ll get a car that’s fun to drive but usable every day. This Black is refined and comfortable, where the ST is firm and noisy. The fact that you can save some cash in the first place and reduce filling station stops is a bonus.

Is the Fiesta ST a little too extreme for you? Well, Ford may have the perfect solution with new Ford Fiesta Red and Black Edition models. As well as a funky red or black colour scheme, they offer sports suspension and 138bhp. But what’s most impressive about that figure is that it comes from a 1.0-litre engine.

It’s the same three-cylinder EcoBoost as found in lesser Fiesta models, where it produces either 123bhp or 99bhp.

Yet here it has a definite performance focus, combined with shorter gearing for better acceleration. As a result it will launch the Fiesta from 0-62mph in nine seconds flat, while claiming 63mpg economy and emitting just 104g/km of CO2. For comparison, the 99bhp version of this engine claims 65.7mpg and 99g/km.

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This engine is impressive in every car it’s been in so far, and the Black is no different. Keep it above about 2,000rpm and there’s a surge of acceleration when you floor the throttle. Considering its meagre capacity, it’s a very impressive achievement. It’s missing the deep-throated growl of the ST, but it’s got that classic three-cylinder thrum while accelerating, before becoming inaudible at a cruise. This is definitely a more refined and relaxing car than the ST.

Plus, the only car that comes close to matching its performance figures is the Polo BlueGT, which delivers 138bhp from its 1.4 TSI ACT engine. Cylinder deactivation tech means the Polo isn’t too far behind on fuel economy, either, boasting 61.4mpg and 107g/km.

And just like the VW, Ford has fitted the Black Edition with sportier suspension than the standard models. The Black’s springs are lowered by 10mm and are 12 per cent stiffer at the front and six per cent stiffer at the rear. Those aren’t drastic changes and thankfully it means the Fiesta still rides well.

The big 16-inch alloys do cause a bit of a thump every time you hit a pothole or a rough patch of road, but the car still flows nicely over humps and hollows in the road. Compared with the super-stiff set-up of the Fiesta ST, the Black Edition seems like absolute luxury.

Newly tuned steering and the firmer suspension play their part in sharpening up the handling. Nearly every Fiesta is great to drive, but this one has that extra edge – it feels quicker to turn in and more eager to change direction. While it’s not as ultimately exploitable as the ST, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.
You even get sporty styling like the ST, with this Black model set apart by red highlights in the grille, mirrors and roof.

The Red version gets red paint, with black mirrors and a black roof, but without the highlights in the grille that you see here. Inside, both cars feature red stitching on the steering wheel, red seat trim and sports pedals. These subtle changes help make the Black and Red Editions feel a bit more special than a standard Fiesta.

So you get all the sporty styling and 90 per cent of the handling and performance of the ST, with a ride that’s comfortable to live with every day. At around £16,000, the Black and Red Editions are set to be about £1,000 cheaper than the ST and a good deal less than the £17,695 Polo BlueGT.

Plus, if you drive carefully, you should hit 50mpg, while road tax is free for the first 12 months and £20 a year after that. These could just be the most rounded versions of Britain’s best-selling car yet.

Disqus - noscript

The other car to compare against is the Ibiza FR with the same ACT engine as the Polo for £15.9k. Probably not as good to drive as the Fester, but just over a second quicker 0-60.

The polo is way quicker! Loads more in gear performance.

But it's a Volkswagen and you'd need a disguise to drive it anywhere near home to hide the embarassment.

The Mini Cooper is more than a second quicker, has a six speed gearbox with autoblip downshifts, has similar CO2 emissions and costs less than this!

Curent company car discount available to me on a Fiesta is about 32% plus no handling fee. Mini is about 12 percent plus €750. Fiesta would work out considerably cheaper.
Seat, Polo discounts aren't much better than BMW.
These are the realities which influence purchasing decision.

I would love to see a thorough comparison review of this and the Cooper.

drive one of these things as a company car?! brave.

I think you have an old fashioned idea of company car schemes. The car is like a bonus, on top of your salary. You don't need to use the car to do 'errands' for the company.

But that would be a total base model cooper with no options or extra features - whereas this is a top of the range fiesta, and it looks infinite times better than the ugly new mini

The new act engine in the Ibiza is not getting enough advertisement, its better than the boring pensioner mobile that is the polo, and as you mentioned much cheaper. It really is a better all rounder compared to the fiesta too - its 3 cylinder engine is known to not get the claimed mpg ford praises it for.

The BIG problem with MINI is the arrogant dealers who will say with a straight face when your car doesn't start, without an error code on the computer it's just hearsay and we wont try and resolve the issue as Bracknell wont recompense us.

The 1.0 petrol turbo is proving very unpopular with buyers due to its thirst - thus these special editions

Key specs

  • Price: £16,000 (est)
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl turbo
  • Power: 138bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.0 seconds
  • Top speed: 125mph
  • Economy/CO2: 63mpg/104g/km
  • On sale: Now
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