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It’s hard to believe that the fun supermini, the Fiesta from Ford, is 42 years old this year.
Over the years, each Fiesta has progressed; during this period, it has built a name for itself as the best handling and most fun to drive supermini in its class.
Its driving position; steering, road manners and dynamic ability made it feel like a small sports car. And like a sports car, it had its shortcomings in the practicality department. The previous Fiesta suffered from a small boot and cramped rear accommodations.
With over four decades in the game, the Fiesta has found an increased number of competitors. There must be a dozen? Essentially, competition is fierce.
So what is the new Fiesta like?
Looks are a subjective matter. In my opinion, I thoroughly enjoy the new generation’s looks. I see sleek modern lines that capture the eye, making you look twice. But you decide for yourself.
The interior of the new Fiesta is a step up from its predecessor - less cluttered and far more contemporary. There’s a new slim dash-mounted touchscreen infotainment system. Easy-to-operate, it features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are many other features on the tablet, which means most of the old-school buttons have been removed from the car’s interior. This leaves behind a clean and simple dashboard, albeit you’ll find buttons on the steering wheel for convenience of operation.
The quality has been improved all around, from the materials used in and outside the car. When opening and closing the car or tactility of using any of the instruments, the sensation is tangible. Not perfect but impressive nonetheless.
From an interior size and comfort perspective, the cabin is on par with its competitors, with some competitors being more spacious. The driving position is slightly higher than you’d expect. This gives you a good view of the road ahead. It begs the question: is the rear accommodations and boot better than before? This was a shortcoming of the 6th generation. Yes, the boot is bigger, but unfortunately, only just 2-l! When you lower the rear seats for more room there is a lip, which obstructs through loading. This isn’t ideal. How about the rear seats? Headroom is okay and knee room is fair. I also wish the rear window was able to drop all the way drown when lowered. This space is best suited to two small or medium-sized people.
Ford didn’t quite crack a 1st place prize in that department. I’d say the VW Polo takes that accolade.
On the engine front, we have two to chose from locally. Arguably the one to go for is the award-winning 1.0-L 3-cylinder EcoBoost. Depending on the model grade you buy - the entry-level Trend or the more upmarket Titanium- there two outputs. The Trend has 74kW/170Nm, while the Titanium is more powerful with 92kW/170Nm. These engines are paired with either a 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox.
If you travel a lot, consider the diesel motor. It is quiet, nippy and extremely frugal. Under the bonnet, you’ll find a 1.5-L DTCI motor that is good for 63kW/175Nm.
This was the car I had on test. I enjoyed its willingness to accelerate with only a bit of turbo lag evident at pull off. It is very efficient - I recorded a reading of 6.3-l/per 100km during my week of heavy city driving. Ford quote figures as low as 3.3-l/per 100km that obviously includes lots of sensible motorway driving. Basically, it’s a very good engine.
The Fiesta may be maturing in its way but dynamically, it is still a fun car to drive. In fact, I feel it is even better than before - the steering is precise with good feedback, the gears ratios are perfectly suited to spirited driving, and the accelerator and brake pedals operate with just the right amount of operative feeling. In this department, the Fiesta is a clear winner.
I’d strongly consider buying the new Fiesta. Its competitors have a tough act to follow. To reiterate, the Fiesta isn’t the most practical supermini on the market but it sure is the most fun to drive.
Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, Mazda2, Nissan Micra, Opal Corsa, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, Suzuki Baleno, Toyota Yaris, MINI One and VW Polo.
1.0T Trend – R261 900
1.0T Trend Auto – R277 300
1.5TDCi Trend – R292 500
1.0T Titanium – R295 900
10T Titanium Auto – R310 600
Service and warranty
The Fiesta range comes standard with a 4 year/60 000.
1.0T Trend Auto – R277 300
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