First Drive Review: Ford Fiesta

Independent review by Stewart Smith

5-minute read

Blue Ford Fiesta Exterior Front Driving

First Drive: Ford Fiesta

Explore the key features of the Ford Fiesta in our expert first drive review

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The Ford Fiesta has been a go-to choice in the UK for decades, and the seventh generation proves the popularity is set to continue.


  • Stylish new design
  • Plenty of tech to choose from
  • Great to drive
  • Good value for money
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The Ford Fiesta has been one of the UK’s biggest selling cars for a while now, and with the launch of the seventh generation model, it's set to retain supremacy.

It has stiff opposition in the racy small car market, up against the likes of the new SEAT Ibiza and the Volkswagen Polo, but after an extensive evaluation in Spain I can’t see the latest Fiesta being beaten for style, build quality, and driving fun.

The new Fiesta has many faces, from the up-market Vignale, the sporty ST-Line, Titanium, Zetec, with an Active crossover model and high-powered ST.

The Ford Fiesta received a facelift in 2022, bringing with it a range of updates. A pre-facelift version was tested during this review.

Design and Practicality

At first glance, the new Fiesta doesn’t look dramatically different from the previous model, but subtle changes have been made to side panels, grille, front and rear lights that give it a more suave appearance, and it's slightly longer and wider than before.

Seating quality has been upped, and driving positions are made easy, with many adjustments being possible.

There's slightly more rear legroom, but it's still a squeeze for six-footers.

The major change is inside, where Ford has ditched cheaper plastics and fabrics to offer quality materials which compare favourably with motors in a higher and more expensive sector.

The layout in front of the driver has also been simplified with fewer buttons and switches to contend with, but the Fiesta is packed with the latest high-tech kit, enough to keep tech-savvy owners amused and entertained.

Boot space on 5-door models is also increased at 303 litres, rising to 984 with the rear seats down.

Equipment and Technology

On the more upmarket models, the Fiesta has a floating, tablet-inspired 8-inch colour touchscreen which can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures.

Options include Ford's SYNC 3 connectivity set up which has a 'floating' 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, and a 4.2-inch colour screen within the dash is combined with the MyFord Dock that enables you to store, mount, and charge mobile devices such as phones and navigation systems.

Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports are standard, with an integrated CD player offered as an optional extra. DAB radio is available across the range.

Whichever way drivers choose to access their music, the Fiesta’s sound systems delivers high quality audio, including the first B&O Play sound system to feature in a Ford model.

Engines and Driving Experience

As far as power goes, the Fiesta comes with a range of Euro 6 petrol and diesel engines including Ford’s 3-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine offered with 100bhp, 125bhp and 140bhp. There's also a new 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional 6-speed automatic gearbox for the 100bhp model with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Ford’s 120bhp 1.5-litre TDCI engine is the first high-powered diesel powertrain ever offered with the Fiesta.

Fuel consumption on all models is reduced with auto stop-start technology, and a new Eco button for manual transmissions adjusts engine and throttle settings to help drivers save even more fuel.

On my drive on some pretty demanding roads, I was really impressed with the handling of the latest incarnation of our favourite supermini.
Stewart Smith

I drove the 1.5-litre diesel and the 1.0-litre 140bhp ST-Line petrol, which has a claimed 0 to 62mph sprint time of 9.0 seconds, a top speed of 125mph and CO2 of 102g/km equating to 64.2mpg.

The diesel is equally nippy and is rated at an amazing 88.2mpg with emissions down to 89g/km.

Both took fast bends exceptionally well with little body roll, plus the suspension soaked up some pretty rough surfaces with a very little road noise intruding the cabin.

Gear shifts on the 6-speed box are exceptionally slick, and steering was precise. I never felt out of control on demanding sections because of good front end grip.

As well as being nippy and great fun to drive, I think that despite its size, the new Fiesta would make a great long distance motor. It feels a lot bigger and with the cabin well soundproofed a long journey wouldn’t be tiring.


All in all, the latest Ford Fiesta exceeded expectations, offering a charismatic driving experience and plenty of tech to choose from. Competition in the supermini segment is fierce, but at such great value for money, it will come as no surprise to see the Fiesta towards the top of the sales charts for years to come.