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Small in size but packing a lot of punch, the Ford Fiesta

The little Fiesta is a good looking piece of kit. It's got flowing lines and sharp, angular lights that really give it character. The trapezoidal grille sits higher and while the badge is smaller, it's not mounted on the leading edge of the bonnet, leaving the grille wide and open. It's not a look loved by all, but it certainly isn't bad.

While the Copper Pulse colour that we had our model in isn't necessarily the best out there, you can have it in a striking white, black, red or blue. There are a few silver tones too.

As it is the entry-level spec model, it's fitted with steel wheels and ABS plastic wheel covers. The wheels themselves are 15-inches in diameter with 195 section tyres. This gives the little hatch excellent road manners and a surprising amount of grip.

Interior

The interior is well designed but sadly, one can feel the savings over the higher trim level models. While most of the interior is plastic, the overall fit and finish isn't too bad. If you really want that feeling of leather in your hands you're going to have to go for a higher-spec model.

Ford is yet to streamline and update the center fascia and interface for the Sync system, so it's still cluttered and fiddly. Finding buttons is a little tricky and requires diverting your eyes from the road. As soon as they update the console to the more modern layout, this will improve.

Driver and passenger airbags will help keep occupants safe and aide in the peace of mind. ISOFIX mountings at the rear will look after the little ones in their car seats while central locking and immobiliser ensure that thieves are thwarted.

Drivetrain

This is by far the most impressive part of the diminutive Fiesta. The 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost motor is a gem and I can't stop singing its praises. While I love the grunt and pace offered by a large displacement V8 or the rush of a meaty hot hatch, the 1-litre EcoBoost engine is genuinely surprising. It's quick, nippy and light on fuel. It will return 4.9-litres/100km on the combined cycle and emit only 114g CO2.

It produces 74kW and 170Nm torque which is more than ample in a small chassis like this. It may not be in line for world records in terms of acceleration, but it will get up to the 100km/h mark in 10.8 seconds. A 1.0-litre EcoBoost Trend model, with 92kW at its disposal and a manual gearbox, will get there in 9.4 – so it's not too far off the pace.

ABS and EBD is standard fare here but you'll need a higher spec model to get ESP (Electronic Stability Program).

The issue is the gearbox though. While other applications of the Powershift gearbox have left me impressed, the use of it here in the 1.0 EcoBoost Ambiente is a terrible mismatch. I cannot blame the gearbox alone and neither can the engine be blamed, it's the amalgamation of the two that doesn't work together.

In instances, the gearbox will randomly gear down. This can happen at inopportune times, like when you are midway through a corner. Sometimes it's completely unresponsive. This makes overtaking a bit of a guessing game.

But it's not all the time, only on the odd occasion. The fact that it happens though is worrying. I believe that it's merely a case of the wrong software programming here. A few tweaks, implemented at service time could possibly fix this. I hope it does, it's a great car otherwise.

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 09:04

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