Massive manoeuvrability and big practicality from Renault’s 2014 Twingo city car
Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost 100hp review (2013 onwards)
Model: Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost Start/Stop, £14,345 (£15,295 as tested)
Bodystyle: five-door supermini hatchback
Engine: 1.0-litre 3-cyl turbo petrol, 100hp @ 6,000rpm, 125lb ft @ 1,400-4,000rpm
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 11.2secs 0-62mph, 112mph top speed
Efficiency: 65.7mpg, 99g/km CO2
What is it?
Despite its innocent supermini appearance and diminutive 1.0-litre petrol engine, this particular Ford Fiesta is a little bit of a monster.
The clue is in the EcoBoost part of the model name. That’s right, Ford has dropped the turbocharged triple that’s such a delight in the bigger Focus and B-Max into its best-selling small car.
The results are – predictably, but none-the-less – fantastically entertaining. And we’ve only been testing the 100hp version…
Where does it fit?
As that suggests, you can have a still more potent 125hp variant of the same engine in this car. But even the lower-powered EcoBoost Fiesta is a quiet riot by comparison to the bigger, non-turbo engines of old.
By old, we mean pre-facelift. Obviously. Since late 2012, the Fiesta has been sporting a much fancier front end and some other refinements – we’ve almost gotten tired of comparing the make-over to Aston Martin, but the visual resemblance is as striking as it is true.
Tested here in Zetec five-door specification, this particular car is middle of the range in every respect. Though that’s far from the same as saying it’s ordinary.
Is it for you?
The Fiesta is the UK’s best selling car – and has been since 2009 when it took over from the Focus during the great scrappage downsizing epidemic. So the chances are you may already have given buying one some thought.
The EcoBoost Fiesta does its best to charm the pants off you
The second-smallest Ford is generally popular because it blends strong value with great driving dynamics and wide spread availability (in terms of both stock and dealer location). The EcoBoost engine offerings are only going to expand the appeal.It’s far from being the only small capacity turbo petrol supermini on the market, however.
Renault offers an even tinier 0.9-litre three-cylinder unit in the new Clio, while the Volkswagen Group’s four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI does sterling service in everything from the SEAT Ibiza to the VW Golf – though the Polo is the more pertinent comparison. Other carmakers are set to follow suit, very shortly.
What does it do well?
Given the assets outlined already, you won’t be surprised to learn the EcoBoost Fiesta does its best to charm the pants off you the moment you clap eyes on it.
The new front-end design remains seriously striking, despite several months of familiarity now, and the overall shape hints at a lithe athleticism that the driving experience does absolutely nothing at all to undermine.
This is a quite brilliant small car from the driver’s seat – with an immediacy that makes it seem about three times as powerful as it really is. Throttle response is electric, the gearbox precise and the chassis feels alive the instant you turn the steering wheel.
Yet it’s so beautifully judged that it avoids the trap of becoming tiresomely over-reactive on longer journeys, and despite having just the five forward gears remains reassuringly refined on the motorway.
What doesn’t it do well?
We were a little taken aback by the ride quality. While there’s no doubt the firm suspension helps give the Fiesta the cornering composure and attitude that makes it such fun – helped by the comparatively low weight of the engine – you won’t half feel the bumps around town.
The MyKey system is intended to help parents manage the way their teenage children drive the car
But then, this is hardly supposed to be a luxury vehicle, and given the short wheelbase, an energetic response to lumpy surfaces is almost inevitable. It’s a trade-off we were happy to endure, in exchange for such infectious dynamism.The interior accommodation may be a bigger stumbling block. Compared to the likes of the latest Renault Clio, the Fiesta is very definitely a small car – adult mates are unlikely to want to spend much time crammed into the back.
Ford has also taken a rather scattershot approach to the centre console design, which seems increasingly out-dated in comparison to more modern rivals – especially those like the Clio and the Peugeot 208, which are now built with a heavy emphasis on touchscreen interfaces.
What is it like to live with?
Still, the Fiesta comes with some ‘interesting’ new technology. The MyKey system, for example, allows you to code a key with a maximum speed, maximum stereo volume and even make the fuel light come on sooner. It’s intended to help parents manage the way their teenage children drive the car.
Then there’s the optional Ford SYNC, for increased smartphone integration with voice control and automatic Emergency Assistance support, should you be involved in an accident. For £300, including a DAB digital radio upgrade, this seems well worth the cash.
Touches like the standard air conditioning and Quickclear heated windscreen make everyday life that bit easier, while the all-round appeal of the current Fiesta means it’s established a kind of classless image, slipping easily into different social situations. The premium looks of the latest facelift only enhance the effect.
VW has been successfully practicing this trick for decades. Shame Ford hasn’t quite managed to match the Polo for interior build quality; the Fiesta is better described as adequate rather than exceptional, but it does the job. Five-doors are essential for regular access to the rear seats, and the boot is a slight 276 litres.
How green is it?
With solid reliability, and the vast economies of scale that come with being Britain’s best-selling car making for affordable replacement parts and other sundries, the Fiesta should prove a cheap car to run – even if you can’t match the official fuel economy figures…
Would we buy a Ford Fiesta? Heavens, yes
According to Ford, the 100hp Fiesta EcoBoost achieved 65.7mpg following the usual EU fuel economy testing procedure. Both the more powerful 125hp version and the non-turbo 80hp 1.0-litre recorded the same figures. If that sounds suspicious to you, don’t blame Ford – blame the test.
Clearly the Blue Oval has cracked the code here. So while such efficiency may well be technically feasible, the boosty urgency of the engine and the crisp engagement of the chassis mean only the extraordinarily self-restrained will get anywhere near to that figure. In fact, we’d say you’ll be doing well to top 40mpg.
Still, the official results also put the CO2 figure (for all three Fiestas) at just 99g/km. Which means road tax will cost you nothing under current legislation.
Would we buy it?
Would we buy a Ford Fiesta? Heavens, yes – though that’s not to say you shouldn’t take a close look at the likes of the new Renault Clio and the VW Polo as well.
Would we choose the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine? That’s a definite affirmative as well, for while the economy isn’t everything it says it’s supposed to be, the overall driving experience is so brilliantly well-rounded that it’s worth the extra expenditure at the pumps.
Is 100hp enough? Almost certainly, especially since you’ll need to upgrade to Titanium specification for 125hp in a five-door Fiesta. And although that means more standard equipment, it also bumps the price from £14,345 to £16,045 – and for an everyday run-around do you really want to pay that kind of premium?
- On Bing: see pictures of the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost
- Find out how much a used Ford Fiesta costs on Auto Trader
- Ford Fiesta review (2013 onwards)
- Ford Fiesta ST review (2013 onwards)
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
Raw footage of World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier losing control and crashing into a road side barrier at the recent Rally of Germany. Luckily both Sebastien and copilot Julien Ingrassia were unhurt following the incident. Credit to 'Rallyefotograf'.
Date 28/08/14, Duration 0:43, Views 1774