1.6 TDCi 90 Zetec
hatchback Fiesta Fords
After a first drive at its international
launch in Italy, its
fair to say that
it delivers as much as it promises...
IT MAY HAVE THE SAME COMPACT FOOTPRINT but the all-new Fiesta, destined to
be sold for the first time globally and to become Ford's best-selling
model range is billed by Ford as its 'smallest large car'. Whilst
having virtually the same footprint as the outgoing models, the new Fiesta has
improved space, better specification, greater safety and really smart 'Kinetic'
Not only will it meet the demands of a huge range of customers but it will be
a serious proposition for the growing number of UK customers considering down-sizing.
These people want the looks, the feel and the specification of a larger car
but in a smaller package and at lower prices.
New Fiesta prices range from £8,695 up to £13,695 and a long list of extra cost
options not necessarily needed will push the prices higher. Customers
will also have to fork out an extra £300 for the Electronic Stability Programme,
which should really be fitted as standard.
Forty different models in the all-new Fiesta range are about to make their debut
in UK dealerships (October, 2008). These are made up of three- and five-door
versions and there are four petrol and two diesel (revised and new) engine options.
The petrol engines are expected main-selling 1.25-litre 59bhp and 81bhp units
plus the 1.4 95bhp engine and the all-new 1.6-litre 118bhp. The TDCi diesel
engines are 1.4-litre 67bhp and 1.6-litre 89bhp units. In addition, there are
the three- and five-door 1.6-litre TDCi ECOnetic fuel and CO2 saving variants.
Manual and automatic transmissions are also in the line-up but not all engines
are offered with each specification.
While the Studio specification Fiesta has the headline-grabbing starter price
of £8,695, it is expected that only two per cent of all-new Fiesta sales will
be for this particular model. It is offered only in three-door body form with
1.25-litre petrol and 1.4-litre TDCi engine options but has body-coloured bumpers,
Intelligent Protection System, reach and rake-adjustable steering and power
mirrors as standard.
Style specification, from £9,295, adds body-coloured, powered and heated door
mirrors, electric front windows and remote central locking. A bright headlamp
finish completes its stylish exterior. The Style+, priced from £10,395, adds
the comfort and convenience of air conditioning and a Quickclear windscreen.
Anticipated to account for 50 per cent of all-new Fiesta sales, Style and Style+
offer a choice of engines including 1.25 and 1.4-litre Duratec petrol with various
Zetec (from £10,995) and Titanium (from £12,095) have a 'premium' look and feel,
with a chrome surround to the grille and side windows, front fog lamps, leather
steering wheel and air conditioning. Zetec adds a traditional luxury feel with
chrome, finished off with 15-inch alloy wheels and projector headlamps while
Titanium brings a contemporary look to this equipment level with higher contrast
materials, such as dark gloss surfaces and bright metal accents.
Both models offer a broad spectrum of engines, with Duratec petrols available
in 1.25, 1.4 and 1.6-litre and Duratorq TDCi diesels in either 1.4 or 1.6-litre,
with a choice of power outputs.
Zetec S, from £12,595, has subtle sports styling additions including five-spoke,
16-inch alloy wheels, projector headlamps, front fog lamps, sports spoiler and
bumper skirts. This theme is continued on the inside with a leather steering
wheel, unique sports gear knob and sports seats creating a focused driving environment.
Standard equipment adds a trip computer, side airbags and air conditioning.
The Zetec S also has the all-new 1.6-litre 118bhp Duratec Ti-VCT petrol engine,
but will additionally be available with the 1.6-litre 89bhp TDCi turbodiesel
ECOnetic versions are priced from £11,845 and use a 1.6-litre TDCi turbodiesel
unit tuned for economy, lowered suspension and low rolling resistance tyres
to achieve low emissions of 98g/km making it exempt from the UK road
Lighter in weight but stronger and with a stiffer body, the all-new Fiesta looks
and feels a much improved car and you can bet it will be near, or at, the top
of all the Car of the Year awards and competitions.
Whether in three- or five-door guise, the aerodynamic wedge-shape styling
enhanced by muscular and angular styling lines makes the new Fiesta look
larger than the outgoing version even though the overall length is more or less
the same, at 3,958mm. It really is a very pleasing car to look at and quite
distinctive. Better still, it looks expensive and upmarket. The three-door models
look sportier but the five-door models are, in real life, more practical.
Inside, it looks and feels a more expensive product thanks to a nice combination
of textures and materials. Ford is particularly proud of the new Fiesta's dramatic
centre-stack control module that takes on the design of a mobile 'phone; once
you have spent a few minutes to find your way around the system, all of the
functions are quite logical. On the downside, the folding rear seats do not
quite fold flat; the back of the rear seats are untrimmed metal (you would expect
carpeting to match the boot); and there is no roof grab handle for the front
passenger. However, the boot capacity is a reasonable 295 litres should you
choose to specify your Fiesta with a puncture repair kit (with the no-cost option
spare wheel it is 281 litres). Fold the rear seat, and you have 979 litres of
The new, all-electric power-steering is perfectly weighted; it's precise, gives
good feedback and is light at low speeds and gets usefully heavier the faster
the car is driven. The suspension is first rate and has been redesigned to give
a big-car capability of ironing out bumps, potholes and tarmac ripples. Grip
is generally superb although there is some bodyroll in the tyre walls from the
skinnier section tyres the larger wheels and wider tyres of the more
up-range models perform better.
During the international press launch test drive in Italy we had the chance
to sample just two of the engines on offer. The all new 1.6-litre, 118bhp petrol
unit and the 1.6-litre 89bhp TDCi diesel unit. To get our hands on the likely
best-selling 1.25 81bhp petrol engine and others we will have to wait until
the cars arrive in the UK.
In brief, the new 1.6-litre petrol engine is a willing and free-revving unit
and, being low geared, generally very responsive and good to drive at low speeds
in town traffic. Maximum torque is 112lb ft at 4,050rpm so it needs to be worked
hard to get the best out of it on the open road. Under test, this engine returned
31.7mpg. Compared to this unit, I think the 1.25-litre petrol unit will feel
a bit 'weedy'.
Pick of the two engines on this occasion, and I suspect overall, is the 1.6-litre
89bhp TDCi turbodiesel unit. Although the power output is less than the 1.6
petrol unit, the 150lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm makes it very flexible, responsive
and overall a nicer model to drive and it returned 51.6mpg during some
fairly hard driving. According to the official figures, owners can expect as
much as 67.3mpg. It would be my choice, as would the five-door body style, probably
with the most popular Zetec specification.
Ford's new Fiesta proved hard to fault there really wasn't anything to
complain about. But on the 'plus' side there was a lot in its favour, including
great looks, 'big car' feel and ride comfort, surefooted handling, a pleasure
to drive, well-designed interior, excellent fuel economy, low CO2 emissions,
cheap road tax, lower insurance costs and a good price. David Miles
Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi 90 Zetec | £13,095
Maximum speed: 109mph | 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Overall test MPG: 51.6mpg | Power: 89bhp | Torque: 150lb ft