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Should I buy a Ford Fiesta?

By Adrian Porter

The Ford Fiesta is bestselling car in Britain – but is it really the best small car you can buy? Here's everything you need to know about the Fiesta.

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The humble Ford Fiesta is the bestselling car in the UK by far. It’s topped sales tables for the last seven years and, according to the figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 120,000 Fiestas were sold in 2016 alone, beating the next most sold car in the UK, the Vauxhall Corsa, by over 40,000 sales.

That means if you parked all the Fiestas sold in 2016 end to end, they would stretch nearly 300 miles. That's long enough to go around the M25 - two and a half times.

Ahead of the new Ford Fiesta coming out later in 2017 (more details below), we’ve summarised our extensive independent test data and reliability information on the current model to find out if it’s worth jumping on the Ford Fiesta bandwagon.

Ford Fiesta rated and reviewed

Six versions of the Ford Fiesta have been through our lab. The table underneath reveals a summary of our results, and reveals which petrol and diesel engines proved the most fuel efficient in our tests. 

We also heard from more than 1,400 owners of the current Ford Fiesta in our latest reliability survey. The table also reveals just how reliable the Fiesta is, whether a petrol or diesel is more trustworthy and what issues are most likely to bug you.

Which? members can log in to unlock the table. Not a member? Sign up for a £1 trial and get instant access to all our car reviews.

Ford Fiesta results
Ford Fiesta score and ratings
Category Results
Models tested Diesel 1.6TDCi (90bhp) Econetic manual 3-dr
Diesel 1.6TDCi (90bhp) manual 5-dr
Diesel 1.6 TDCi (95bhp) Econetic II manual 5-dr
Petrol 1.0 (100bhp) EcoBoost manual 5-dr
Petrol 1.25 (82bhp) manual 5-dr
Petrol 1.6 (120bhp) manual 5-dr
Which? score
Which? verdict
Pros
Cons
Handling and performance
Ride comfort
Visibility and parking
Getting in and out
Safety
Reliability rating
Reliability explained
Most efficient diesel engine tested
Most efficient petrol engine tested

Key

Member Content

The Ford Fiesta in detail

The current Ford Fiesta is in its seventh generation, which was introduced in 2008. It received a facelift in 2013, which gave the current car a new nifty Aston Martin-esque grill among other cosmetic changes, new engines and more features.

Feature highlight - Ford MyKey

Got a teenage child who has just passed their test? Want to make sure they can’t speed or crank up the music too high? That’s where MyKey comes in.

Save for the entry-level Studio trim, all Fiestas come with Ford’s MyKey feature, which is a spare key with a difference.

You can program the car so that when it's started by this secondary key, it adopts certain settings that you, as the main key holder (the parent/car owner), has set. Namely you can reduce the car’s top maximum speed (to say, 65mph), set the maximum audio volume, make sure the car flags low fuel earlier than normal, and prevent the driver with the secondary key from turning off key safety features.

If you need to adjust the settings on your MyKey, there’s no need to go back to the garage. It’s all done by the main key holder inside the car.

Feature highlight - Quickclear windshield

All Fiestas from Zetec onwards (see trims below), come with Ford’s ‘Quickclear’ heated windshield as standard. Switching it on should clear a windshield of mist or ice in seconds. It’ll save you from having to scrape it clear yourself on a cold morning.

Trims and features

The Fiesta is available in six trims from the entry-level Studio, through to the range-topping Titanium X. Below you’ll find a few key features from each trim to give you a flavour of what each level of car adds.

Studio is the entry-level Fiesta and is dramatically sparse in terms of equipment. It lacks basics like air conditioning or remote locking. It’s the only Fiesta in the range not to have MyKey and you don’t even have the option to add a trip computer for an extra cost.

Style might be above entry level, but it’s still fairly basic. It does add manual air conditioning and radio/CD with USB, but there is no Bluetooth or DAB. There is also no trip computer as standard, but you can add it at an extra cost.

Zetec adds front fog lights, DAB, trip computer and leather-lined versions of the steering wheel and handbrake, making it feel slightly more upmarket. You also get the Quickclear heated windscreen. For most Which? members, this is probably the most basic spec to consider.

Zetec S is designed to look and feel a bit sportier. A full body styling kit will warp the Fiesta into a slightly more dynamic-looking car and the sports suspension will make the car feel harder and more aggressive. The sports-style front seats and sport pedals help complete the look.

Titanium is where you see the bulk of convenient tech added. Windscreen wipers now activate as soon as they sense rain, headlights are automatic, cruise control has been added and the rear-view mirror now dims automatically to stop you being dazzled by approaching headlights.

Titanium X is the range-topping trim and adds a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, heated wing mirrors, keyless entry and heated front seats, with partial leather trim.

Engines

The petrol and diesel engines range from 70-140hp, and mostly come with a five-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed automatic transmission is available, but not across the range, and not in collaboration with a diesel engine.

80%80% of Fiesta sales since 2015 have been of petrol derivatives, according to data provided by the SMMT.

The latest ‘ecoboost’ engines, introduced with the 2013 facelift, promise remarkable fuel efficiency alongside good performance. The 100hp version claims a fuel economy of 65.7mpg and has an official CO2 figure of 99g/km. As that’s less than 100g/km, that means this version of the Fiesta is exempt from car tax (if bought before the rules change on 1 April 2017), as well as the London congestion charge. Several other versions of the Fiesta, including all diesel options, also have low CO2 figures, which also exempt them from car tax and the London congestion charge.

We’ve tested the 100hp ecoboost version of the Fiesta, as well as several other petrol and diesel engines. The table above reveals the true fuel economy of the different engines we’ve tested, as does our in-depth Ford Fiesta review.

5.1mFun Fiesta fact: to fill the collective fuel tanks of every new Fiesta sold in 2016, just once, you would need over 5 million litres of fuel. More than enough to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Other trims and engines

But the choice of Fiestas doesn’t stop there.

The Fiesta ST is the high performance, or ‘hot hatch’, version of the current Fiesta and comes primarily with a 1.6-litre petrol engine that creates a hearty 182hp. It also has sport seats (firm) and sports suspension (low and hard). So it’s not a comfy option but it’s not meant to be - it’s for those who want the performance, noise and drama of a car that has some oomph. A limited edition 200hp version of the ST, called the ST200, also became available in mid-2016.

Just to confuse matters, sitting between the regular Fiesta and the Fiesta ST, is the Fiesta ST-Line. Aimed at those who want some sporty touches but not the performance of the ST’s meatier engines, the ST-Line takes a regular Fiesta and adds a rear spoiler, mesh front grill, ST-Line branding, different alloy wheels and sports suspension. Inside you get a three-spoke ST-Line branded steering wheel, plus the sports pedals and sports seats. The ST-Line is available with a choice of three petrol engines that feature in the regular Fiesta and range between 100-140hp, or the 95hp diesel engine.

New Fiesta (and Fiesta crossover) coming in summer 2017

Ford announced in November 2016 that a new Fiesta would arrive in the UK in the middle of 2017. The new Fiesta is being touted as the most advanced small car to be on UK roads thanks to its impressive array of car tech and advanced safety features. There’s also going to be a sporty ST-Line version and a plush Vignale derivative.

Ford has made several Vignale versions of its cars so far, such as the Mondeo saloon, but never before the Fiesta. Vignale versions are designed to be plusher, more luxurious feeling versions of the car it’s based on. To that end, the new Fiesta Vignale will feature 18-inch wheels, exclusive interior and exterior designs and leather stitched seats, making it the poshest Fiesta yet.

For the first time, there’s also going to be a crossover version of the Fiesta, named the Fiesta Active.

The Active has SUV-inspired traits, such as a raised ride height (so an elevated driving position for you), and body cladding to make it look a bit more rugged – in this case a black strip that sits proud of the rest of the car body, tracing the wheel arches and chassis. It’ll also have roof bars and a different front grille to the rest of the Fiesta line-up.

You can find out more about the new Fiesta and how claims compare to the current fiesta, by reading our Ford Fiesta Coming Soon Review.

To read our expert verdicts of all the cars we’ve tested and find the perfect models for you, visit our car reviews.

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