Supermini of the Year 2018: Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
The Ford Fiesta arrived in the UK just after our New Car Awards last year, but even after 12 months on sale its ability isn’t anything less than class leading. This supermini is now in its eighth generation, and you can easily see why it’s been Britain’s best-selling car for a decade.
The combination of affordability, impressive driving dynamics, practicality and infotainment is a big draw for buyers, and when you mix this with Ford’s attractive PCP finance deals (how most people in this sector buy) it’s a winner.
The 99bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost is the engine to go for. This award-winning three-cylinder turbo petrol unit is punchy, delivers all the performance you’d need and matches this with economy as long as you’ve not got a lead foot, as with any supermini.
It’s planted in the nose of a genuinely entertaining chassis as well, regardless of this car’s price point and intended use. The steering is sharp and just the right weight, while the suspension set-up keeps its composure, allowing you to exploit the Fiesta’s agility.
Clearly, comfort is just as important in a car from which so many drivers will demand so much, and here it delivers, too, with a level of control and maturity that few superminis can match.
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In fact, the Fiesta’s new-found maturity shows how far this car and this class have come. Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is a fine example of this. An eight-inch screen is standard on higher-spec models and optional lower down in the range. It’s available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with sat-nav standard on many versions.
Crucially, the screen is well placed in the dash; that’s been part of a major revamp of the Fiesta’s interior, improving not only ergonomics but also functionality. The layout is more logical than in the previous Fiesta, plus there’s extra storage for smartphones, while quality has taken a step up.
However, what’s true to the Fiesta’s character is its fun-to-drive feel, and as it uses an evolution of Ford’s global B small car platform, it still has this in spades. The combination of improvements to refinement and practicality, helped by a 292-litre boot, means the Fiesta can now be used as a family runaround for many, and the car’s dynamic ability ensures the affordable Ford cements its position as the king of the class.
Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100 Zetec 5dr (£16,465)
In relatively modest Zetec trim, you still get plenty of kit. Smartphone connections provide nav, or you can upgrade to the larger built-in system if you’d prefer. We’d opt for the 99bhp 1.0 EcoBoost engine; it’s refined and powerful enough to make the Fiesta genuinely enjoyable on the right road. For only an extra £650, the five-door offers more practicality, too.
A recent facelift hasn’t diluted the MINI’s appeal. In fact, more personalisation options have enhanced what’s always been good about the British-built car, while in Cooper spec the strong 1.5-litre engine and engaging chassis mean this is one of the most fun hatches on sale. You no longer pay the price on practicality if you go for the five-door, too.
Last year’s winner in this class gets a deserving mention here because it remains one of the roomiest superminis around. As with the Fiesta, the Ibiza really can be used as a compact family car. Slick infotainment, a range of punchy and efficient turbo petrol engines, and affordable pricing for the kit on offer mean it’s a top pick.
- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
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- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
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- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
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- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended
- 16Large Premium SUV of the YearThe Land Rover Discovery is the 2018 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover commended
- 17MPV of the YearThe Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is the 2018 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 18Roadster of the YearThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2018 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the McLaren 570S Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Coupe of the YearThe Lexus LC is the 2018 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Audi A5 and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
- 20Hot Hatch of the YearThe Honda Civic Type R is the 2018 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i30 N commended
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2018 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW M5 commended
- 22Luxury Car of the YearThe Mercedes S-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera commended
- 23Affordable Electric Car of the YearThe Hyundai Kona Electric is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf commended
- 24Premium Electric Car of the YearThe Jaguar I-Pace is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Electric Car of the Year, with the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S commended
- 25Affordable Hybrid Car of the YearThe Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year, with the MINI Countryman and Toyota Prius commended
- 26Premium Hybrid Car of the YearThe Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, with the BMW 530e and Range Rover Plug-in commended
- 27Pick-up of the YearThe Mitsubishi L200 is the 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Mercedes X-Class commended
- 28Van of the YearThe Mercedes Sprinter is the 2018 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Crafter commended
- 29Technology AwardThe Nissan Leaf wins the Auto Express 2018 Technology Award for its bi-directional charging
- 30Social Media Campaign of the YearJeep's 'Set your own course' has won the 2018 Social Media Campaign of the Year
- 31Car Advertising Campaign of the YearVolkswagen's 'Born Confident' advert for the new T-Roc has won the 2018 integrated advertising campaign awarC
- 32Driver Power AwardLexus has scooped the 2018 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm once again
- 33Design AwardWe asked you what your favourite car design is for 2018, and the Aston Martin Vantage has taken the crown
- 34Anniversary Awards – Auto Express, evo and OctaneWe celebrate 30 years of Auto Express, 20 years of evo and 15 years of Octane with our special Anniversary Awards