20.4.2018Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost review
The Ford Fiesta is one of the UK's most popular models, topping the best-sellers charts for years. Now in its eighth generation, the supermini has is up against more competition than ever before. So how does the new version stack up? NGC gets behind the wheel of the 1.0 Ecoboost version to find out.
Review by Chris Lilly
The three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet of the Fiesta on test is not only one of the best available in Ford's range, it's also one of the top compact units around. Producing 100hp in this guise, the Fiesta will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 10.5 seconds, before heading on to a top speed of 113mph. It's a decent option for just about all drivers, with plenty of punch when pushing on, but not too much to impact on economy figures. In real-world driving, the engine's a peach. It's eager to rev and responsive enough to lose any sense of turbo-lag when driving. Output is good across the rev-range too, and the Fiesta - though never feeling fast - is certainly sprightly enough for most situations. Motorway speeds are easily dealt with, though not with the utmost refinement - to be expected considering it's a small capacity three-cylinder unit. It's not at all bad though, and on a par with rivals' efforts. Around town or on open roads, the eager engine performs well, both at stop-start speeds in built-up areas, or climbing up and down the rev-range when traffic is freer-flowing. Those demanding greater performance can always opt for the Fiesta ST of course, so this version of the compact Ford is a well balanced pick.
One of the Fiesta's greatest strengths with the previous model was its driving dynamics. Comfortable yet responsive, agile but supple, the Fiesta was a great example of Ford's suspension engineers putting in plenty of good work. The new model loses none of the Fiesta's handling lustre, and builds upon it if anything. Nothing in the conventional supermini market - ignoring sports-orientated models - can compete with the Fiesta's blend of precision and refinement, and it's a great car to drive on just about any road. The compact nature means motorways and large A-roads are it's least comfortable environment, but it's certainly not out of its depth. The small footprint means it's a natural fit around town though, and it's easy to pilot around a multi-storey car park for example, with no fear of clipping something. Over poor road surfaces, the Fiesta cossets occupants well, with only the worst pot-holes or speed bumps jarring. On smoother, faster roads, the Fiesta excels. There is a little body lean when cornering, though it's progressive. Grip is excellent from the front wheels, and the feedback through the wheel communicates exactly what the Ford is doing, without proving incessant. It's a joy to drive, either in a relaxed manner or on a 'bit of a hoon', and the Fiesta remains one of the best drivers' cars in the business.
Looking more grown-up that the previous generation model, the Fiesta is a handsome enough supermini to my eyes. It's not as stylish as a Seat Ibiza say, but it catches the eye more than a Skoda Fabia for example. Like the handling then, the Fiesta's aesthetics are well balanced for the market. This version of the Fiesta is a little larger than the previous model, though the Ford isn't competing with the best in class in terms of interior space. Those up front will have little to complain about, but taller occupants in the rear will find their hair brushes the roof, and potentially knees pushed up against the seat in front. It's capable of seating four adults, but you wouldn't want to be going on any long trips regularly with them. Access to the rear seats is not the most generous aroud either, with a relatively small opening on five-door models. The boot doesn't win awards for load area either, with space attributes rearward from the front seats doing a job, rather than excelling against competition.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The new Fiesta has received a much-needed interior upgrade, and now competes with some of the best around. The touchscreen system - where fitted - adds a premium look, and the interface is intuitive enough to move around. The screen is the dominant feature on the dashboard, and is of a good size, with decent quality graphics and a fast-enough operating system to be worth opting for should budget fit. It tidies up the centre console nicely too, with only a few shortcut buttons for the media system placed directly below it, and the heating controls placed lower down, adding to the switch-gear available. Controls are easy enough to use, with few fiddly buttons, though the quality of materials used isn't amongst the best in class. Here, VW Group models, or those from the likes of Mazda trump the Fiesta's interior appeal. It's easy to find a good driving position though, and the driver's controls are clear to read. A central digital screen deals with 'additional' information.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The official economy figures for the Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost tested come in at 65.7 MPG, with CO2 emissions of 93 g/km. That's about par for the class, and reinforces the earlier point that this particular model is well pitched between efficiency and performance. In the real-world, my driving saw an average of 50.6 MPG showing on the trip computer after a number of different routes carried out, and around 350 miles completed. Those sitting on the motorway for most of the time will see a fuel economy figure comfortably in the 60s MPG, and possibly in the 70s - depending on how heavy a right foot one has. VED will cost £125 for the first year - included in the car's OTR - and then the standard £140 thereafter.
The Fiesta range is a relatively good one in terms of green credentials - for a model that's made up of petrol and diesel models anyway. The EcoBoost is a downsized unit that is able to offer the same sort of performance as a traditional 1.6 litre engine, but with reduced emissions and improved fuel economy. The Fiesta is fitted with Auto Start/Stop to cut fuel consumption in traffic, and there is plenty of driving information available to help drivers improve economy figures. According to our calculations, the Ford Fiesta tested has a Next Green Car Rating is 37.
The Style trim is Ford's entry level Fiesta offering, with features such as air conditioning, remote central locking, and electric front windows. It's a basic model that keeps the entry-level pricing low, but the range begins in earnest with the Zetec model tested. This sees the inclusion of 15-inch alloys, a heated windscreen, Ford Sync with 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring DAB, Bluetooth, USB and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. Sharper styling elements are also included, as are front fog lights, and leather trimmed multi-function steering wheel. The test car also included the Drivers Assistance Pack, adding a 4.2-inch digital instrument display, driver alert with auto high beam, safety systems, and adaptive cruise control. Upgraded Sync 3 was also added, alongside rear privacy glass, an exclusive colour, and adjustable boot floor, adding almost £2,000 to the OTR price. Other trims include Titanium, and Titanium X, before the specialist trims such as Active (crossover), ST-Line and ST (sporty), and Vignale (upmarket) come into play. There is also a B&O option on most of the lower trim levels, predominantly adding a premium B&O sound system, though including other features too.
Those that liked the Fiesta before will continue their love affair with the current version. It's not the most upmarket or cheapest model in its class, sitting in the middle-ground that many buyers want. It is certainly one of the best superminis to drive though, and remains on contention as a great all-rounder in the supermini class.
Model tested: Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100hp
Engine / CO2: 1.0 litre 100hp turbo-charged petrol / 93 g/km
Trim grades: Style, Zetec, Titanium, Titanium X, Active, Active X, ST-Line, ST-Line X, Vignale
On-road price: From £13,715. Price as tested: £15,445
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars