RAC

Ford Fiesta Style

Sitting between the entry-level Studio and well-appointed Edge, does the Fiesta's new Style trim spec hit the sweet spot? Steve Walker checks it out.

Ten Second Review

With 12 million already sold across the world, the Ford Fiesta has a lot to live up to and it's been carefully designed to succeed. And that means keeping its trim and spec levels competitive. The latest Style option aims to maximise value in the lower half of the range.

Background

Ford's Fiesta lineage goes back to 1976 but over all those years, one thing has remained constant. This has always been the car that signified the health of the supermini sector. It was always there or thereabouts when buyers were drawing up shortlists and it was usually the best car in its class to drive by quite some margin. The previous sixth generation car was again a great drive but lacked the quality modern cabin of the best cars in its class. This seventh generation Fiesta covered those bases and continues to fine-tune the line-up to consolidate its position at the top.

Driving Experience

So, climb in: what's the experience like? Well, the first thing that you'll probably notice is that there's nowhere to put your key, Ford having switched to one of those trendy (but rather pointless) 'Power' buttons which you press to start. It's easier to get comfortable at the wheel than it was in the old car thanks to the improved seating and rake/reach wheel adjustment. Peace of mind comes with the news that this was the first Ford small car to feature a driver's knee airbag, along with side airbags and optional curtain airbags. The Style models are available with five different petrol engines: a 59 or 80bhp 1.25-litre, a 96bhp 1.4-litre - choose between manual or automatic transmissions - and a 120 or 134bhp 1.6. The higher-power 1.6 is available only in three-door form. There's a brace of oil burners, too: a 1.4 with either 70 or 95bhp. The latest Fiesta is such a slick piece of engineering that it largely masks the deficiency in outright pace with its poise and fluency on the road. This is a fine handling car with its variable power assisted steering providing weighty reassurance at speed and a light touch when manoeuvring. The suspension absorbs bumps expertly and in a manner that puts some far larger cars to shame. The Fiesta provides a huge degree of adjustment in its driving position and even lankier individuals will be able to get comfortable behind the wheel. The gearchange is a fraction rubbery in feel but very positive in its action and pleasant to use. Forward visibility is fine but the small rear window and thick C-pillars can present a problem when reversing.

Design and Build

The wedge-effect of the Fiesta in profile doesn't bode well for the rear seat passengers in the three-door car but the Fiesta surprises with decent legroom and headroom that's manageable even for a six-footer. The windows are small and set high up, so light isn't abundant in the back but the shopping bags, coats and road atlases that owners will store there most of the time won't be overly worried. The five door models fare better with a bigger glass area creating a roomier feel and all derivatives share the same easily navigable control system for their various electronic functions. All Fiestas share Ford's 'Kinetic' design. Themes as seen on the Mondeo, S-MAX, Focus and others are put to work again but the signature features seem to gain cohesion in closer proximity on a smaller car. The eye is led along the creases, across the cutaway surfaces and the multi-angular effect is highly dynamic in total. The interior styling reprises the edgy and angular themes of the outside, the fascia contrasting soft-touch materials with hard silvery plastics. The car feels modern and is very nicely executed in terms of quality with a pronounced modern feel.

Market and Model

It's the price that's going to persuade the majority of Fiesta Style owners to take the plunge. It's the most cost-effective way to get yourself into decently equipped version of Ford's iconic small car and for many, that will be a recommendation in itself. You'll pay just under £10,000 for the entry-level Studio model with the 59bhp engine and three doors. Fiesta prices are a lot more competitive than they used to be and, for the money, the Style spec is impressive, building on the usual entry-level Fiesta's ESP, ABS, front, side and knee airbags, a CD player with controls on the steering wheel, central locking and electric heated mirrors with body-coloured door handles and door mirror casings and USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The diesel-engined five-door 1.4 TDCi Style costs £12,695.

Cost of Ownership

The Ford Fiesta has garnered a reputation for being one of the cheapest superminis to run and this continues. Ford reckons that the improvements in efficiency made across the range will save owners of 1.4 TDCi models, as just one example, around a thankful of fuel a year (45 litres over 9,300 miles). The ECOnetic will grab the headlines with its 98g/km emissions and 76mpg economy but even the standard 1.6 TDCi manages 107g/km and 67mpg while the 81bhp 1.25-litre petrol returns 50mpg with 129g/km emissions. Insurance premiums and repair costs have been kept low by an intelligent approach to manufacturing.

Summary

The Fiesta may not be the largest car in the supermini sector but on just about every other main criteria, it's either up there or class-leading. It at last has cutting edge looks and a decent cabin, and with more competitive pricing plus the new Style trim level it offers a pragmatic mix between tried and tested elements that are cost effective and shiny new details that gel extremely well. Small car buyers simply can't ignore this car. Big enough for the whole family, comfortable enough for long journeys, sporty enough to entertain and stylish enough to satisfy the image conscious, these cars really are all-rounders. The 1.25-litre Fiestas don't have quite such a comprehensive array of strengths but they do a lot of what the more expensive options do at a temptingly low cost.

The Fiesta may not be the largest car in the supermini sector but on just about every other main criteria, it's either up there or class-leading. It at last has cutting edge looks and a decent cabin, and with more competitive pricing plus the new Style trim level it offers a pragmatic mix between tried and tested elements that are cost effective and shiny new details that gel extremely well. Small car buyers simply can't ignore this car. Big enough for the whole family, comfortable enough for long journeys, sporty enough to entertain and stylish enough to satisfy the image conscious, these cars really are all-rounders. The 1.25-litre Fiestas don't have quite such a comprehensive array of strengths but they do a lot of what the more expensive options do at a temptingly low cost.

The Fiesta may not be the largest car in the supermini sector but on just about every other main criteria, it's either up there or class-leading. It at last has cutting edge looks and a decent cabin, and with more competitive pricing plus the new Style trim level it offers a pragmatic mix between tried and tested elements that are cost effective and shiny new details that gel extremely well. Small car buyers simply can't ignore this car. The Style models are available with five different petrol engines: a 59 or 80bhp 1.25-litre, a 96bhp 1.4-litre - choose between manual or automatic transmissions - and a 120 or 134bhp 1.6. The higher-power 1.6 is available only in three-door form. There's a brace of oil burners, too: a 1.4 with either 70 or 95bhp. Big enough for the whole family, comfortable enough for long journeys, sporty enough to entertain and stylish enough to satisfy the image conscious, these cars really are all-rounders. The 1.25-litre Fiestas don't have quite such a comprehensive array of strengths but they do a lot of what the more expensive options do at a temptingly low cost.

With 12 million already sold across the world, the Ford Fiesta has a lot to live up to and it's been carefully designed to succeed. And that means keeping its trim and spec levels competitive. The latest Style option aims to maximise value in the lower half of the range. So, climb in: what's the experience like? Well, the first thing that you'll probably notice is that there's nowhere to put your key, Ford having switched to one of those trendy (but rather pointless) 'Power' buttons which you press to start. It's easier to get comfortable at the wheel than it was in the old car thanks to the improved seating and rake/reach wheel adjustment. Peace of mind comes with the news that this was the first Ford small car to feature a driver's knee airbag, along with side airbags and optional curtain airbags. The Style models are available with five different petrol engines: a 59 or 80bhp 1.25-litre, a 96bhp 1.4-litre - choose between manual or automatic transmissions - and a 120 or 134bhp 1.6. The higher-power 1.6 is available only in three-door form. There's a brace of oil burners, too: a 1.4 with either 70 or 95bhp. The latest Fiesta is such a slick piece of engineering that it largely masks the deficiency in outright pace with its poise and fluency on the road. This is a fine handling car with its variable power assisted steering providing weighty reassurance at speed and a light touch when manoeuvring. The suspension absorbs bumps expertly and in a manner that puts some far larger cars to shame. The Fiesta provides a huge degree of adjustment in its driving position and even lankier individuals will be able to get comfortable behind the wheel. The gearchange is a fraction rubbery in feel but very positive in its action and pleasant to use. Forward visibility is fine but the small rear window and thick C-pillars can present a problem when reversing. The wedge-effect of the Fiesta in profile doesn't bode well for the rear seat passengers in the three-door car but the Fiesta surprises with decent legroom and headroom that's manageable even for a six-footer. The windows are small and set high up, so light isn't abundant in the back but the shopping bags, coats and road atlases that owners will store there most of the time won't be overly worried. The five door models fare better with a bigger glass area creating a roomier feel and all derivatives share the same easily navigable control system for their various electronic functions. The Fiesta may not be the largest car in the supermini sector but on just about every other main criteria, it's either up there or class-leading. It at last has cutting edge looks and a decent cabin, and with more competitive pricing plus the new Style trim level it offers a pragmatic mix between tried and tested elements that are cost effective and shiny new details that gel extremely well. Small car buyers simply can't ignore this car. Big enough for the whole family, comfortable enough for long journeys, sporty enough to entertain and stylish enough to satisfy the image conscious, these cars really are all-rounders. The 1.25-litre Fiestas don't have quite such a comprehensive array of strengths but they do a lot of what the more expensive options do at a temptingly low cost.

Scores
Performance 7
Handling 10
Comfort 8
Space 7
Styling 9
Build 9
Value 8
Equipment 7
Economy 8
Depreciation 6
Insurance 8
Total 87

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