Ford’s trusted Fiesta is like a comfy pair of slippers. It’s been around since 1976 and everybody loves it because it just works. It wouldn’t have been on the scene for four decades if it was an unreliable jalopy.
Fast-forward from its birth in the same year that Britain was basking in an unprecedented heatwave to now, and it’s a very different Fiesta. The small hatchback from the mid-seventies was revolutionary then, and now it’s more evolutionary. But that doesn’t make it unexciting. Quite the reverse, in fact.
But if you think that the marque eight Ford Fiesta is radically different on the outside, you’d only be half right. It has totally changed inside, but it’s only the exterior rear that has noticeably altered. Parallel tail-lights give the new Fiesta a more dynamic form. And, importantly, it soon becomes perceptible that the hatchback from the brand with the blue oval has grown. Not only is the car 12mm wider and 71mm longer, the wheelbase has been stretched by 4mm. This means there’s more room for passengers – and luggage.
I got behind the tiller of the 2017 Fiesta in ST Line trim level, at the car’s press launch in Spain. The engine in my review model was the peppy petrol-turbo powered 1.0-litre three-cylinder 140ps EcoBoost unit. The peppiness manifests on the outside, too – with this particular Fiesta wearing a rear spoiler, side skirts and deep bumpers.
Due to the boost in size, it’s the extra legroom for rear occupants in the all-new Fiesta that’s most noticeable. The Ford’s boot is also a bit larger; it’s now capable of consuming 292-litres worth of luggage. But the fresh ingredient that strikes you the most is the cabin décor. All the bargain-basement plastics, apart from the cheap stuff around the electric window switches have been replaced by softer, classier materials. And the chaotic array of buttons has been swapped by virtual buttons on the infotainment screen. Oh yes, the archaic, mono-colour displays have also gone – superseded instead with vibrant colour screens. The environment in the Fiesta is far swankier now and the car feels more solid, too. It’s almost on a level with small German premium hatchbacks, such as the VW Golf, Audi A3 or Mercedes A-Class. In some ways, it’s even better, as the Ford is not as austere inside as its Teutonic rivals.
The most eye-catching element of technology in the new Ford’s cabin is the substantial touchscreen that’s on top of the dashboard. It looks a bit of an addition, as it appears stuck on, rather than integrated - but it’s instinctive to operate. You can also couple your smartphone to the system, using Android Auto or Apple Car Play. The 2017 ST Line I drove was also fitted out with wholesome sounding Bang & Olufsen acoustics.
So, what’s the all-new 2017 Fiesta like to drive? Well, the ST Line version is set-up to be lower with stiffer springs, and that means the Ford doesn’t lurch through bends. The suspension isn’t so unyielding that you’re uncomfortable, though – and the car absorbs road blemishes pleasingly. Furthermore, the driving position is terrific, with lots of adjustments available on the seat and steering wheel.
The latest Ford Fiesta 1.0T 140 ST-Line is very quiet at speed, even when pressing on. And that’s easy to do, with the Fiesta in this trim level achieving 62mph in nine seconds, before topping out at 125mph. But the 2017 Fiesta doesn’t guzzle fuel – it’ll manage up to 62.8mpg when driving on a blend of rural and urban routes.
To sum up, the all-new Fiesta is one of the most essential cars for Great Britain, and it’s evident to see that the eighth configuration of the car isn’t going to dampen the spirits of anyone. The 2017 1.0T 140 ST-Line Ford Fiesta is a grin-inducer to drive rapidly, yet it’s no-nonsense, sophisticated and resourceful. The hatchback hits all the right spots – and more if a small family car with verve is what you’re after.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Acceleration √
- Handling √
- Kit √
- Efficiency √
- Plastics by electric window switches X
Fast Facts (1.0T 140 ST-Line - as tested)
- Max speed:125 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 62.8
- Engine layout: 999cc three-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 140
- CO2: 102 g/km
- Price: £17,595