Used Ford Fiesta (Mk7, 2008-2017) - How practical is it?

It’s a small car, but neat packaging mean the practical and roomy Fiesta makes a great family runaround

Compact enough so that it’s easy to drive, but with enough space to serve as occasional family transport, the Fiesta is a very practical small car. There’s a choice of three of five-doors, plus enough equipment and tech to make life as easy as possible.

Dimensions and cabin design

Despite its neat dimensions, the Ford Fiesta is a versatile choice, particularly in five-door form. With exterior dimensions that run to a length of 3,969mm, a width of 1,495mm, and a height of 1,709mm, the Ford is almost identically sized to the supermini competition. However, it can’t match the clever packaging of roomy MPV-inspired rivals like the Nissan Note and Honda Jazz for space and family-friendly practicality.

What it does get spot on is the driving position, which is highly adjustable and should prove comfortable for people at either end of the body size spectrum. Combine that with the Fiesta’s very supple ride quality on all but the roughest of roads, and you’ve got a supermini with genuine big car feel from the front.

But this is not a car that ever feels large or unwieldy around town, as per other cars of its size like the Vauxhall Corsa or Volkswagen Polo. It’s easy to judge where the corners are – aided by good all round visibility – and therefore very easy to park or squeeze into gaps in traffic.

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. A one-litre water bottle will fit in the door pockets, while higher-specification models get a centre console armrest that doubles as a deep storage bin.

Access has been equally carefully considered, including on the three-door, which has wide-opening doors and front seats that slide forward with an easy lever pull.

Boot space

Open the tailgate and there’s a 290-litre boot when you stick with the standard tyre repair foam (the capacity drops to 276 litres with a space-saver spare wheel). With the seats down there are 974 litres to play with, but the high load lip and narrow tailgate mean the Fiesta has a somewhat restricted boot; increasingly, small cars are offering twin-level boot floors with a raised loading lip, but the Fiesta doesn’t have this.

It does, however, get a split-folding rear bench as standard, which means at least one person can travel in the back if bulkier items in the boot require part of the seat to be folded down.

Equipment and technology

The Ford Fiesta is attractive inside, although while some will find the sweeping design of the dash very pleasing, it has lots of small buttons and doesn’t have the restrained, simple class of something like the Volkswagen Polo. That’s mostly down to the stereo controls, which take a little getting used to and certainly don’t give the Fiesta an especially cutting-edge feel; the design was based on the keys of a 2007-era mobile phone.

The Sony unit in the Titanium and ST versions is a little clearer, however – and gives sound quality a welcome boost at higher volumes. Frustratingly, Ford charged extra for Bluetooth and a DAB radio on the entry-level Studio, although it’s standard elsewhere.

Every Ford Fiesta gets electric windows and a USB connection as standard, while Style adds air-con, remote central locking and body-coloured door mirrors and handles. The Zetec gets all this kit, plus desirable extras such as a heated windscreen, leather steering wheel and trip computer.

Quality is good generally, 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. The Fiesta’s warm red ambient lighting helps give the cabin a classy feel at night.

Safety

A five-star Euro NCAP safety rating shows that the Fiesta offers top-notch crash safety. Last tested in 2012 after its most recent facelift, it scored an excellent 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 86 per cent for child occupant protection and 71 per cent for its safety assistance systems. Pedestrian protection is less impressive, with a slightly above average rating of 61 per cent.

All models include electronic stability control, seven airbags and anti-lock brakes. Active City Stop – a system that automatically applies the brakes if it detects an imminent low-speed crash – is optional too, although only on post 2013 facelift cars.

A key piece of technology in the Fiesta, literally, is Ford’s MyKey system, which basically allows the owner to restrict things like speed and stereo volume – the sort of things that a parent might like to rein-in should one of their children borrow the car.

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