Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi

Does the diesel-powered version of the facelifted Ford Fiesta match the EcoBoost model's mix of performance and economy? We find out...

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The upgraded Fiesta is a case of the best getting better, with an upmarket new look combined with some interesting technology features that are set to become a common sight on all new Ford models from now on. The EcoBoost engine remains the star, but the diesel unit - although giving a stereotypical clatter under the bonnet - still delivers with decent torque and economy, too.

The facelifted Ford Fiesta will be available with seven different engine options when it arrives in showrooms in January. But while the excellent, smooth 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is the headline act, do the updates throw a harsh light on the fact that Ford has simply carried over its 1.6-litre TDCi diesel unchanged?

Whether you order your Fiesta as a base-model Studio or newly introduced range-topping Titanium X, your car will feature the gaping five-bar chrome trapezoidal grille. It dominates the car’s nose, which also gets a more obviously creased bonnet and narrower, more technical-looking headlights that have daytime running lights along their lower edges.

The new design is inspired by the sleek Ford Evos concept, and gives the Fiesta a wider, more planted look, while the extra chrome makes it look like a bigger car, too.

Tweaks are minimal on the inside, with comfy new seats being added, along with some improved gloss black trim around the air-conditioning controls and slightly better-placed door handles.

The interior does get Ford’s pretty effective SYNC system, which allows you to control music playback or make calls from your smartphone by issuing simple voice commands. All Fiesta models also get MyKey, which allows the car’s owner to programme a second smart key for a novice driver, which limits speed, whether the traction control can be switched off, and the stereo’s volume.

Our car featured keyless go, so a press of the start button to the right of the steering wheel is all it takes to get the diesel unit to bark into life. The engine is a little gruff, particularly when cold, but has no trouble whatsoever in getting the Fiesta up and going. There’s plenty of low-down torque available, making driving in the cut and thrust of city traffic easy.

The slick manual gearbox is superb, too, although a six-speed gearbox would be a benefit, as the five-speed ‘box features a relatively high top gear, adding to the noise when driving at the motorway speed limit.

Driving the diesel car back-to-back with the petrol EcoBoost model, the torque advantage is clear, although the payoff is a much more gruff engine note and the feeling of a little extra weight being transported between the front wheels.

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