Review: Ford Fiesta

A nippy, compact hatchback

25 May 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Low running costs

  • Super reliable

  • Spacious cabin

Cons

  • Boot is relatively small

  • Bluetooth is extra cost

  • Can be a firm drive

Our expert rating

The Ford Fiesta has been one of Britain’s most wanted small hatchbacks since it was introduced in the 1970s. Low price-tags, low running costs, and swift performance means the Ford Fiesta appeals to 17-year-old learners as well as parents with small kids.

Now, in its seventh year, the current model makes a great secondhand buy.

Performance

There is a selection of dynamic and thrifty 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines with stop-start engine tech for improved economy. There are also a couple of elderly 1.25-litre petrol engines, but they're slothful and unsophisticated.

Side of Ford Fiesta

There's a 1.6-litre petrol version too, but it's only obtainable as an automatic. If you drive a lot, you should think about the 1.6-litre ECOnetic TDCi, which can return up to 85mpg.

Ride and handling

There are few small hatchbacks that are as nice to drive as the Fiesta. It feels alert on rural roads and the car is also a delight on urban roads and motorways. This is thanks to its well-weighted controls, calm ride and excellent visibility.

Ford Fiesta interior

Interior space

The Fiesta has decent room inside. Go for a five-door if you can, because it can be a pain to fit child seats into a three-door. However, there’s more than enough space for the kids in the three-door version.

If you don’t have kids, two adult passengers will find they’re not as restricted as in some other cars. The car has a reasonable boot as well, with enough space for the weekly shop.

However, you’d struggle to cram a pushchair in on top if you needed to take your ankle-biters to the supermarket.

Ford Fiesta boot

What to know before you buy

The Fiesta has an outstanding reliability record. Very few issues have been reported, despite more than 500,000 sold. There can be a potential locking problem on a few models.

If you double lock by the key-fob, then try to unlock manually with the key - which you might have to do if the car’s battery packs up as it’s hard to turn the lock. Test the car before you buy by locking and unlocking the car several times.

Also be aware that, if the battery fails, you can’t open the boot because its lock is electric only. You can get around this by folding down the rear seats.

Also, ensure the car you’re looking at starts easily and that no battery warning light is lit on the dashboard. If in doubt, ask the seller to throw a new battery in to the bargain. It’s worth an ask.

Alternative cars

The Ford Fiesta has long been the best-selling car in Britain, so it's obviously much-loved. It’s starting to show its age, though. Fresher challengers, such as the Kia Rio, Nissan Note and Volkswagen Polo, are excellent alternatives to the Fiesta.

Alternative car to Ford Fiesta - Volkswagen Golf

Overall verdict

The Ford Fiesta may not be the most exciting used buy, but it's a rational choice because it’s reliable and cheap to run.

The models made from 2008 onwards are equipped with good tech, and in 2009 it even won the Auto Express Car of the year award. If you’re looking for a nippy, compact hatchback, the Fiesta is up there with the best.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall