It’s party time at Ford, as its brilliant Fiesta has scooped our supermini prize for the second year in a row.
Sparkling handling, catwalk style and everyday practicality are the Ford Fiesta’s calling cards, while the low running costs and value-for-money pricing are the icing on the cake. Not that the Fiesta feels like a low- rent, bargain-basement special. The three and five-door versions benefit from the same sharp lines, plus the car’s fantastic interior effortlessly blends style, quality and practicality.
But it’s the way the Ford drives that marks it out as something special. For starters, few cars at any price can match the Fiesta’s agile and entertaining handling. The steering is sharp and full of feedback, the gearshift has a crisp action and there’s plenty of grip. Yet this nimbleness doesn’t come at the expense of comfort. Any bumps and potholes are easily shrugged off by the compliant suspension, and it’s nice and quiet in the cabin, too.
The Fiesta’s impressive refinement is thanks to its range of turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engines, which combine deep-chested performance with uncanny smoothness and wallet-friendly running costs. And for the ultimate in effortless progress, there’s even the option of Ford’s slick twin-clutch Powershift transmission.
Yet these dynamic delights don’t spoil the Fiesta’s sensible supermini credentials. The well laid-out cabin has room for five, there’s a decent boot and running costs are modest – efficient ECOnetic models return 85.6mpg. And as it’s a Ford, there’s a Fiesta to suit all tastes and budgets. Britain’s best-selling car gets better and better.
There’s a vast line-up of Fiestas to choose from, but the five-door 1.0-litre turbocharged Zetec delivers the best blend of performance, low running costs, standard equipment and practicality.
If you want a simple, no-nonsense small car, then look no further than the Dacia. Rock-bottom prices, durable underpinnings and a spacious interior combine for a surprisingly compelling choice. And despite its entry-level status, the Dacia Sandero is good to drive.
The chic 208 represents a fine return to form for Peugeot, which has been seeking a supermini hit to match the legendary 205. Smart design, an upmarket cabin and a grown-up driving experience are highlights, while buyers get the desirable gadgets they want.