- Great to drive
- A textbook hatchback
There's a very good reason why the Fiesta has regularly been Britain’s top-selling car. That reason stretches right back to the very early days of the British icon, which was introduced in 1976.
Just a few years ago, I owned a 1980 version, and it was still running well when I sold it on to an enthusiast.
The Fiesta has that longevity for a reason. It's a car to suit most pockets, from the relatively inexpensive base model right up to the range topper. It has proved reliable, practical, economical, and cracking to drive.
The model I tested during our road test review was the sporty ST-Line, which comes with a sharper body kit and a range of additional features.
The Ford Fiesta received a facelift in 2022, bringing with it a range of updates. A pre-facelift version was tested during this review.
The ST-Line is a stylish car, offering the sporty styling more akin to the sought-after ST, but toned down performance from a still lively 3-cylinder petrol engine. It still delivers pleasing performance, with the signature rasp of the 3-cylinder giving a pleasing sound under acceleration.
It's no slouch. The 125bhp unit propels the car to 62mph in under 10 seconds and delivers excellent fuel economy, with a claimed range of between 45mpg and 62mpg according to WLTP figures.
The turbocharged 1.0-litre engine is assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which features a small lithium-ion battery pack and a belt-driven integrated starter-generator, which adds a little extra torque and helps mitigate turbo lag.
The electric motor is fitted alongside an energy recovery system on the brakes, which can then be redeployed to assist the petrol engine or provide assistance to electrical systems.
It may lack the hot hatch performance of its more powerful sibling, but in true Fiesta style, the handling is excellent, and the ride is firm, thanks to the sports tuned suspension which keeps the car clinging, limpet-like to the road, even with rapid cornering.
On the road, the car feels brisk and with a little help from the hybrid technology. It's mated to a typically slick Ford 6-speed box, although the high-riding clutch took a while to get used to. It's the handling that gives this car the edge on most of its rivals. The steering is instantly responsive, and it feels totally stable even when cornering at high speeds.
Design and Practicality
This latest version is no different, with even more eye-catching style, good standard levels of equipment and, in this case, embracing the latest mild hybrid technology.
It features sharp angles in ST Line guise, consisting of a smart body kit, rear privacy glass, smart projector headlights and fog lamps with cornering lights. The powered door mirrors also feature smart puddle lights.
The interior too looks upmarket and maintains the sporty look. Interior fixtures and fittings are typically well put together and feel sturdy, while the optional pop-out door guards are another neat feature.
Other features include a centre console with illuminated cupholders, sports pedals, starter button and two USB connectors.
In practical terms, boot space is decent and increases with the split-folding rear seats. This takes capacity from a basic 292 litres up to 1,093 litres.
Technology and Safety
The centrepiece is an 8‑inch colour touchscreen that can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures and controls function like navigation, infotainment, and smartphone connectivity with screen mirroring.
The flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel offers other control options, and the layout is unfussy and intuitive.
This model will set you back a little more than standard models, but it has plenty of kit, including parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, auto dim mirror, a 7-speaker sound system, and a heated windscreen.
To aid this it includes stability control, together with a host of other safety features, including a full complement of airbags, lane keeping alert and aid, speed limiter, auto headlamps, and hill start assist.
Forty-five years and still going strong. You can see why. The Fiesta ticks all the important boxes. It's fun to drive, inexpensive to run, practical, good-looking and full of technology.
If you're in the market for a perfect all-rounder that also looks sportier than the norm, the Ford Fiesta ST Line is the textbook choice for sure.