Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Ford Fiesta review - Engines, performance and drive

Great engines and fun handling mean the Fiesta is still fantastic to drive

With the Fiesta, Ford has proved yet again that small, cheap cars can be brilliant fun. The Fiesta might be new, but it will retain its reputation for being fun to drive as it’s better than ever through a series of bends.

Lighter steering in this new model means it’s easier to drive, especially in town, but that doesn’t take away from the driving experience on faster roads. There’s enough weight that you can feel the resistance coming through as you turn into a corner, and the feedback through the wheel means you can place the car on the road with ease. The grippy front-end helps too, as you can throw it in to corners even at high speed without fear of pushing wide.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Best small cars to buy 2019

A throttle lift or touch of braking will tighten the Fiesta’s line, and it’s rewarding to play with the little Ford’s chassis. Body control is very good, and bumps mid-corner don’t upset the balance - but what’s really amazing is that the car combines this agility with an impressively comfortable and composed ride. ST-Line models make things even more composed and fun with only a slight impact on ride quality. 

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The ride is good even on rutted roads here in Britain, partly because the Fiesta is so light - even the heaviest version is only a touch over 1,200kg. That helps it in so many areas: handling, ride, performance and even economy. Ford’s engineering magic means that even though the Fiesta is around 200kg heavier than the new Suzuki Swift, it feels almost as light on its feet.

The driving position is fantastic, as it feels sporty without being hard to get in and out of, and the steering wheel is just the right size to feel natural as well. The six-speed manual gear change isn’t quite as slick as the one in a Mazda 2, nor as light as the one in the new SEAT Ibiza, but it’s still really easy and fun to switch gears. These things also mean the Fiesta will be enjoyable to drive every day, not just when you find a great road.

Ford has also introduced mild-hybrid tech to the Fiesta range. The 48v system is available on the 1.0-litre 122bhp and 153bhp petrol engines and helps to increase fuel economy, reduce emissions, while also providing a useful boost in torque.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

A six-speed manual transmission is standard for all cars, with the exception of the 1.1L Ti-VCT five-speed manual, and the 123bhp petrol version which is offered with a seven-speed DCT auto 'box.

Engines

Our pick of the engine range is the 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol engine. It’s been around for a little while now, but remains a top choice because it mixes so many great attributes: it’s punchy, economical and really fun to use all at the same time. It’s quiet as well, matching its rivals for refinement on the move - but without losing the characterful thrum of the three-cylinder engine.

It’s available with 94bhp, 123bhp and 153bhp, and all are great options, but make sure you don’t overlook the lowest-powered version in the hunt for more performance. The turbocharger means it’s strong enough in the mid-range, and the 1.0-litre triple’s willingness to rev means it’s great fun to hustle along as well. More powerful versions are - unsurprisingly - more expensive, but the mid-spec variants offer enough pace for most needs.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The 94bhp EcoBoost takes 10.6s to go from 0-62mph, which goes down to 9.9s for the 123bhp engine (9.4s for the hybrid version) and to 8.9s for the 153bhp unit. The 1.5T EcoBoost powers the ST-badged cars from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, while the 84bhp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel manages the sprint in a leisurely 12.4s, sending its power via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Diesel fans will be impressed by the refinement of the 1.5-litre TDCi, there’s barely any clatter at idle, while working the unit hard results in nothing more intrusive than a muted roar.

• Best superminis to buy now

The base 1.1-litre three-cylinder petrol with 74bhp and a five-speed manual transmission is considerably slower at 14.5 seconds and doesn’t really offer much in the way of economy savings or improved emissions over the EcoBoost units. It would certainly be a peculiar choice when buyers could look towards the more modern alternatives in the range.

Advertisement

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost 125 ST-Line X Edn 3dr Auto [7 Speed]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TDCi Trend 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £17,985

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBoost ST-2 Navigation 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,655
Advertisement

Have you considered?

Used Ford Fiesta review
Ford Fiesta Hatchback

Used Ford Fiesta review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Ford Fiesta covering the Fiesta Mk8 (2016-date)
25 Jun 2020
Ford Fiesta review
Ford Fiesta - front
Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta review

Britain's best-selling car goes from strength-to-strength with the latest version
18 Jun 2020
New Ford Fiesta Trend 2020 review
Ford Fiesta Trend - tracking
Ford Fiesta Hatchback

New Ford Fiesta Trend 2020 review

The Ford Fiesta Trend might be the new entry-level Fiesta, but that doesn't mean it is short on fun and thrills
10 Jan 2020

Most Popular

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus
Family hatchbacks

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus

The Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon are all long established hatchbacks - we find out which is best among the latest crop
11 Jul 2020
New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review
Skoda Octavia vRS Hatchback

New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review

We get our first taste of 242bhp Skoda Octavia vRS with Skoda tech development boss Christian Strube in the driver’s seat
10 Jul 2020
Suzuki Jimny axed from Europe over emissions regulations
Suzuki Jimny - off road
Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny axed from Europe over emissions regulations

Tightening emissions rules mean the Suzuki Jimny will be pulled from the European market in the coming months
8 Jul 2020