Titanium 1.6 5-dr
perfect car for a round trip to
Wales for a ride in Fords world rally
car alongside Jari-Matti Latvala
turned out to be… a Ford Fiesta!
THERE ARE A LOT QUICKER DRIVERS than me but, as compensation, I've
been rewarded with some great fun being driven at speeds well over my own capabilities.
Some high points have included a high-speed trip through the Scottish Highlands
with Christian von Koenigsegg in his eponymous car, a ride in James "There is
only one way to go: flat-out" Sutton's Porsche Carrera Cup car and, most recently,
a very different experience a ride with Jari-Matti Latvala who
drives for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team and who gained a stunning
second place in the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship.
The projectile a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car; quite a mouthful
but also quite a stunning missile of a car (or what little of the original is
left after spending £500,000+ on modifications).
venue was a former Wales Rally GB stage in a Welsh slate quarry and
what a ride Jari-Matti gave me there! These rally drivers are born different;
they can take a car through the very toughest and roughest conditions for hour
after hour and still come back for more.
ride was over very quickly but it seemed like an age, the same as when you are
in deep trouble with a car way out of control and seemingly no way back.
had no problem with
the Fiestas looks
although I thought the
finish of the seats looked
rather basic but
who can complain when
they were still
comfortable after a
Last time I had ventured so far west I felt persecuted by endless speed traps;
with policemen hiding behind parked cars, trees and motorway bridges in addition
to the now ubiquitous cameras.
It seemed a good idea not to tempt fate twice so, as I was travelling to a Ford
'experience', I thought I would keep it 'in the family' and so requested a "Ford
Fiesta with an economical engine" for the 500-mile round trip. My recollections
of old were of a small car that would not even offer a challenge to the speed
My, how things have changed. No longer a small runabout; more a respectable
family touring car with plenty of space all around. When I collected the Fiesta,
being male I simply sat in it, had a quick look at the layout and drove away
reckoning that it would all come out in the wash.
The traffic from Hounslow was surprisingly light and so I happily made my way
without a care in the world, trying to work out how the voice-activated bits
of kit worked. Glancing at the speedometer I had a shock the quietness
of the car had masked my speed; thankfully no cameras were passed.
Recalling the alloy wheels and wide tyres the latter created the
only noise this was definitely somewhat up-scale from my request
as it had all the bells and whistles. Certainly the acceleration was lively
(zero to 62mph in 9.9 seconds) and the ride firm, more akin to a large-alloyed
BMW than expected.
People make up their own minds about the styling of cars: some are real head-scratchers
the Mercedes SLS, for instance, is gratuitously porcine by my
way of thinking. Even more so when I first saw the bare bones of its Lotus Elan-style
backbone as that just begged for a low, stunningly-sleek modern body.
However, I had no problem with the Fiesta's looks although I thought the finish
of the seats looked rather basic but who can complain when they
were still comfortable after a three-hour journey?
further I drove the more I discovered; all mostly to my liking except the bonus
of all four windows being powered off-set by awkwardly-sited switches on the
driver's door. The one thing missing was cruise control and would have been
useful as the engine note was muted...
perceptions the Fiesta
name conjures up
for you, do give it a try
as you too may well be
embarrassingly, I found those controls on the steering wheel once I reached
Leafing through the handbook, I also discovered that I'd been driving a Fiesta
Titanium 1.6 Duratec with 118bhp and 112lb ft of torque a useful
amount of power without incurring a penalty from the insurance company.
So much for my request for a small Ford with an economical engine. Having got
something with a bit more bite than anticipated, I decided to see what I could
achieve by taking a prudent but not boring approach
to the driving. You can travel on motorways endlessly and miss out on the character
of the countryside so I generally try and make a compromise when time permits;
taking an 'A' route where there are sure to be found interesting diversions.
The M4 mileage was thus pared down, whilst we somehow managed an extra 200 miles
(where did they come from?) on minor Welsh roads. Even so, our average consumption
was 37.8mpg. Mind you, on Sundays in deepest Wales open petrol stations were
not a common sight. A more than light touch on the accelerator was needed as
the tank needle was hovering on zero with a range of less than 10 miles indicated.
Thankfully the gauge was accurate; finding out how to open the petrol cap was
another embarrassing moment.
I feel sure the marketing department at Ford must have debated long and hard
on carrying over the Fiesta name. For people like me it is the wrong name as
my recollections would have, incorrectly, disqualified it as far too small.
That noted, I believe the Fiesta has won a great many loyal repeat purchasers
who recognise exactly where the new models have reached.
How many of those loyal owners would look to other brands if the name was changed
is debatable. Only Ford knows the answer to that one. Nevertheless, whatever
perceptions the model name conjures up for you, do give it try as you too may
well be favourably surprised… but best to do a little homework with a brochure
on the features before you fire up the engine.
Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.6 5-dr | £14,595
Maximum speed: 120mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 118bhp | Torque: 112lb ft | CO2 134g/km