Ford, it seems, can do no wrong with the Fiesta.
Since the first one was built in 1976 the company has almost always managed to find new ways of making its “baby” a best seller.
Now there is a new 1.5-litre diesel in the line-up and it’s going to find favour with a lot of prospective buyers.
It offers just 75 bhp but somehow in this little car that seems more than enough to deliver impressive mid-range performance, an abundance of torque and enjoyable driving.
It’s not the fastest Fiesta around by any means but it’s certainly one of the most responsive, and that more than makes up for its lack of initial acceleration.
Its official 0-62mph acceleration time of 13.5 seconds is somewhat lacklustre, but it’s also misleading because in the real, everyday motoring world it’s mid range performance that counts and this is where this beefy little car scores.
The added bonus is that this diesel boasts an average fuel consumption of 76.4 miles per gallon, and its low emissions means you won’t pay any road tax.
I didn’t achieve anywhere near the claimed average but I did do a lot of stop start motoring in very heavy traffic, and even in that situation the average never once fell below 60mpg.
My Zetec 5-door test car offered impressive handling and a good ride. There was some roll on corners but it was certainly easily controllable.
And despite being a diesel this one is quiet. You do notice the diesel rattle slightly on tickover but on the move it fades away.
The 1.5-litre I tested was mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and despite being one gear down on most new small cars it certainly didn’t affect the performance.
And whether you opt for a diesel or petrol model there is no denying the recently introduced new Aston Martin-look front end has boosted the Fiesta’s image dramatically.
And the new “magic key” which allows parents to limit the speed, limit the volume of the radio and set an earlier than normal low petrol warning on the car when their offsprings drive it is something most parents will welcome.
Inside the new Fiesta is stylish with a nice blend of functionality and style. Piano black surrounds on the gearshift, upper dashboard and door handles are a nice touch.
Space in the car is dramatically improved over previous generation models with rear seat passengers having good legroom – helped by the cut away backs of the front seats – as well as plenty of head room.
I would have liked a little more forward and backward movement of the steering wheel though to have been able to get completely comfortable and this model still has wind-up rear windows – not to mention drum brakes on the rear wheels.
That said the new Fiesta 1.5-diesel is a car I really enjoyed driving, and I was sad to see it go.
Model: Ford Fiesta Zetec 5-Door.
Mechanical: 1498cc, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox.
Max speed: 104 mph.
0-62mph: 13.5 secs.
Combined mpg: 76.4.
CO2 emissions: 98 g/km.
Insurance group: 9E.
Warranty: 3 years 60,000 miles.
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