I’m usually not one to enjoy small cars. My own car is a big car and I have rarely felt comfortable or relaxed in smaller cars. In addition small cars are where the biggest compromises are made and they typically feel “cheap” The 208 was a classic example of this – poorly thought out and poorly implemented – I would have felt robbed if I had paid good money for it, however I try to remain open minded and these days a few are starting to surprise me.
This week I was provided with a Ford Fiesta. After my recent experiences with Fords (including the Mondeo) I was really looking forward to having a drive of the Fiesta. This one was the 1.25 Zetec with 82 horsepower.
The first thing that strikes you is the visual appeal. To be frank the car looks visually stunning and I really can’t think of any small car that is better proportioned or any where near as good looking. When you get into the car you see that it has been money well spent on fords behalf. The steering wheel, gear stick and handbrake lever are all leather and feel really high quality. The sitting position is near perfect with even room to spare for a 6 foot driver. The seats are really supportive and grip you well in the bends and all the plastics and other internals feel premium quality. The whole layout is fantastic and lends itself to a great driving position – almost to the point you won’t want to get out. The level of equipment in here is also quite high including Air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth Phone & Audio Streaming, USB & auxiliary line in. It also includes Ford’s voice control system which works very well allowing you to control the audio & telephone without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. What is really quite astonishing is that in 2007 you had to but a premium luxury car like a Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 or BMW 7-Series to get a feature like this, and now its available on a Fiesta! The suspension was firm without being harsh and the visibility great – despite having a slender profile from the outside.
The only (and I do feel like I’m scraping the barrel here) shortcomings that I could mention are the lack of parking aids (which both the Hyundai i10 and the Toyota Yaris had) and the 82 horsepower engine isn’t that lively. I’d love to have the chance to drive the 1.0T EcoBoost engine which produces 125BHP yet is extremely economical. However if you are prepared to push the little 1.25 engine, it does become a little more sprightly further up the rev range!
However after a week of driving this car on long or short journeys I must say I love this little car. It was really fun to drive, had plently of space inside and felt really well built.It certainly didn’t feel like a “cheap car”. So far of all the small cars I have driven, this is the one I would pay my own money for if I had to buy one.