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Should I buy a Ford Fiesta?

By Adrian Porter

The Ford Fiesta is the bestselling car in the UK – 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 best part of a decade.

The new generation Ford Fiesta was released in 2017 - and it's as successful as ever. While car sales have since fallen across the UK, the new Fiesta still out sold all other cars in the UK in 2018 and 2017.

We’ve summarised our extensive independent test data and reliability information on the current model, below, to find out if it’s worth jumping on the Ford Fiesta bandwagon.

Want to see our full test results? Go to our Ford Fiesta review.

Ford Fiesta rated and reviewed

We've tested the five-door 1.0-litre petrol version of the latest Fiesta, and will soon test a diesel version. 

We've also heard from more than 1,000 current Fiesta owners to report back on what faults, if any, they've had with the car. 

As the current version of the Fiesta was released in 2017, we can only report a 0-3 year reliability rating; it's too new for us to be able to give it a 3-8 year reliability rating. However, you can look at our overall reliability rating for Ford using our car brand reliability tool.

The table below summarises the results of independent lab tests and our Ford Fiesta owners' survey. You an use these results to find out whether you should choose a Fiesta as your next car.

Which? members can log in to unlock the table. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock our table and get instant access to all our independent, expert car reviews. 

Ford Fiesta (2017-) results
Ford Fiesta (2017-) score and ratings
Category Results
Models tested Petrol 1.0 (100bhp) EcoBoost manual 5-dr
Which? score
Which? verdict
Pros
Cons
Handling and performance
Ride comfort
Visibility and parking
Getting in and out
Safety (Euro NCAP)
Reliability rating
Reliability explained

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Ford Fiesta trim levels explained

The latest Fiesta has a startling 10 different trim levels to choose from - and that doesn't include the Fiesta Active crossover version of the hatchback, or the Fiesta ST performance version.

That's fantastic if you like choice. But to make sure you get the car and equipment combo that you want, without paying over the odds for the bits that you don't, you're going to need a highlighter and quite a bit of free time.

Basic Fiesta trims: Style and Zetec

Style and Zetec are the basic trims of the Fiesta, so don't expect to get a car laden with tech. The entry-level 'Style' trim may not cost you much, but it doesn't even feature DAB radio as standard.

Zetec doesn't cost much more, but it has a few key differences. Not only do you get DAB radio, you also get Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto as standard. 

This is software that allows you to plug in an Android or Apple phone and then use in-car version of popular navigation apps, music services and social media via the car's own display screen.

Zetec doesn't have sat nav as standard - and we wouldn't expect it to. But by using AndroidAuto or Apple CarPlay, you can get round this by using navigation apps such as Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze, depending on what phone you have. This can save you a bit of money.

There is also a B&O Play version of the Zetec. This adds a B&O Play premium sound system with seven speakers dotted around the car. 

You also get sat nav, a large 8-inch screen for the centre console (over the regular Zetec's 6.5-inch screen, or the Style's 4.2-inch screen). Plus the choice of two unique exterior body colours: 'Bohai Bay' mint and 'Chrome' copper.

Titanium and Titanium X

The Titanium trims have a bit more tech and a bit more luxury. 

This includes rear parking sensors, cruise control, keyless start, automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers, traffic sign recognition and an 8-inch touchscreen with sat nav. All of which comes as standard.

You'll still be able to use AndoidAuto and Apple CarPlay. There is also a B&O version of Titanium, that gets you what comes with the Zetec trim, plus a fancy sound system.

The Titanium X version adds keyless entry to existing keyless start. This means you won't have to take the keys out of your pocket to unlock and start the car - handy if you're busy carrying your shopping bags, your children or both. 

You'll also get heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Not exactly necessary equipment, but a welcome touch during the colder months of the year.

Buying a Titanium X version also gets you the B&O sound system.

Fiesta Vignale

The most opulent version of the little hatchback to date. Vignale versions are designed to be plusher, more luxurious feeling versions of the car it’s based on.

Ford has made several Vignale versions of its cars so far, such as the Mondeo saloon, but never before the Fiesta. 

The first ever Fiesta Vignale features 18-inch wheels, leather stitched seats, a panoramic roof and a special Vignale front grill, lined with chrome. 

It's also the only version of the regular Fiesta to get a rear view camera as standard.

ST-Line, ST-Line-X and the ST

The ST-Line (pictured above) takes the regular Fiesta, gifts it firmer sports-tuned suspension and then sporty-cum-aggressive features such as a flat bottom steering wheel, rear spoiler, sports style front seats. 

The ST-Line X takes the same car and gives it a few more techy add-ons, such as rain sensing wipers, automatic high beam, cruise control and so on.

However, both the ST-Line and ST-Line X are available with some of the same engines as you find in the rest of the Fiesta range: 

  • 1.0-litre petrol engine with either 100, 120 or 140hp
  • 1.5-litre 120hp diesel. 

The ST-Line cars are a halfway house between the regular full Fiesta and the fully fledged ST hot hatch version.

When we get the ST hot hatch into our lab, we will rate it differently, as we see it as quite a different proposition from the regular Fiesta. It comes exclusively with a 200hp engine, which is more powerful than you find in any regular version of the Fiesta, promising a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. 

There are three trims of the ST. None of them have fluffy names, but rather the rather cold and efficient ST-1, ST-2 and range topping ST-3. 

All come with proper sport seats up front, ST sports suspension and drive modes that let you select between 'Normal', 'Sport' and 'Track'.

Fiesta Active and Active X

If that's just not enough Fiesta for you, there is, for the first time ever, a crossover version named the Fiesta Active.

Those expecting an SUV-shaped Fiesta will be disappointed. Rather, it has 'SUV-inspired traits', such as a slightly raised ride height (so an elevated driving position for you) and 'rough road' suspension. 

It also has 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. Plus it has roof bars and a different front grille to the rest of the Fiesta line-up.

Released in 2018, the Fiesta Active will be reviewed separately to both the regular Fiesta and the Fiesta ST when we get it into the lab.

See our round-up of the best small SUVs and crossovers.

Feature highlight - Ford MyKey

Availability: All Fiestas as standard

Got someone at home who's 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.

All Fiestas come with Ford’s MyKey feature as standard, which is a spare key with a difference.

You can program the car so when it's started by this secondary key, it adopts certain settings that you, as the main key holder, have 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.

Key safety feature: NCAP Technology pack 

Availability: all Fiestas as standard

This 'pack' of safety features adds safety tech:

  • Lane keeping alert and lane keeping aid: This system warns you if you drift out of lane without indicating, and will actively nudge you back into lane if required. It automatically deactivates at speeds below 43mph and you can also turn it off manually.
  • Adjustable speed limiter: You can set your maximum speed and the car will reduce engine power when it's reached, stopping you from exceeding that speed. Many systems will deactivate if the driver floors the accelerator, so they can still react to developing situations on the road.
  • Rear seatbelt minder: Will notify the driver if someone in the back doesn't have their belt done up.

Feature highlight - Quickclear windshield

Availability: all Fiestas as standard except entry-level Style trim

All Fiestas from Zetec onwards come with Ford’s ‘Quickclear’ heated windshield as standard.

Switching it on should clear a windshield of mist or ice in seconds. It will save you from having to scrape it clear yourself on a cold morning.

Key feature: Pre-collision assist

Availability: not standard on any Fiesta

Ford's Pre-collision assist system is a form of autonomous emergency braking. It will detect if you're about to crash, and applies the brakes automatically if needed.

It's so advanced it can see up to 130 metres ahead and detect pedestrians at night. However, it's not standard - you need to pay extra for it regardless of what Fiesta you buy.

Key feature: Auto parking assist (parks car for you)

Availability: option on only the Titanium and Vignale trims

Don't fancy your chances of parking your new Fiesta without curbing your wheels or ending up too close to the adjacent vehicle?

On selected Fiesta models you can pay a bit extra for 'Advanced Auto Park Assistance'.

In a nutshell, this tech will park the car for you in either a parallel or perpendicular parking space. You work the pedals, and it does the steering. The same tech can also bring you back out of a parallel park.

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

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