Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec review

The Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.25 is a supermini that has it all: great looks, amazing driving attributes and a healthy regard for your pocket

Ford Fiesta automatic 2014 front
Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

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The Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec has attractive styling, is fantastic to drive and cheap to run, and is worth a look despite it losing out to some rivals on interior quality, boots space and standard equipment.

The Ford Fiesta is still one of the best cars Ford has ever produced, and is currently our reigning supermini class champion. And in this mid-level Zetec 1.25 model it manages to eclipse rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo thanks to its sleek looks, sparkling driving experience, low running costs and practical cabin.

The Fiesta 1.25 Zetec has certainly helped Ford stay top of the UK’s new car sales chart, with competitive pricing, attractive finance plans and generous equipment levels. The Fiesta Zetec comes in both three and five-door guises and is equipped with a set of 15” Alloy wheels, a Quickclear windscreen, front fog lamps, Ford SYNC – including Bluetooth and USB, and Ford’s MyKey. It also boasts seven airbags, which helps give it a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

However, while the Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec gets the innovative MyKey as standard – a system allowing the driver to tailor settings including speed limit reminders and radio volume – you’ll have to pay extra for DAB radio (£100) - now standard on many rivals. Other options available on the Zetec 1.25 include sat-nav (£500), Heated seats (£175), City Pack – including rear parking sensors and heated power folding mirrors (£300) and a useful adjustable boot load floor for (£75).

The Fiesta isn’t perfect though: the interior is still blighted by some cheap plastics, and while its entry price of £12,945 is tempting, the figure can rise quickly when you start adding some of the optional safety equipment. But the Ford Fiesta is still a talented all-rounder that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the supermini class.

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

The Fiesta Zetec 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. And there’s plenty of adjustment on the seat and steering wheel, so it’s easy for drivers to get comfortable.

It's is as good to drive as it is to look at and its poised handling and excellent refinement give it a mature feel. Ford powers this particular Fiesta Zetec with its aging but proven 1.25-litre petrol unit, which has 81bhp and 114Nm of torque. And although you’ll find it a little revvy and in need of some coaxing once its on the boil it’s a cracking little unit. However it does lacks the overtaking urge of more powerful engines in the Fiesta range. That said it certainly doesn’t detract from its desirability.

The Fiesta Zetec 1.25 is 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 Zetec 1.25 a great city car, as well as one of the best superminis for motorway driving.

Despite its compact dimensions, the Ford Fiesta Zetec 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 Fiesta Zetec 1.25 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.

However the Fiesta Zetec 1.25 isn’t the cleanest of the Fiesta range. It puts out 120g/kms of emissions, which equates to an annual tax bill of £30. And our experts predict that the Ford Fiesta Zetec will hold on to its value reasonably well, with an average figure of 39.6 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 discounts with your Ford dealer. 

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