RAC

Ford Fiesta Centura

The Ford Fiesta Centura celebrates 100 years of Ford in Britain. Andy Enright runs the rule over this special edition.

Ten Second Review

The Ford Fiesta Centura is a special edition that commemorates 100 years of Ford in Britain. Finished in black like the iconic Model T, it packs in an extra £1,800 worth of equipment over the Fiesta 1.25 Zetec and adds around £1,200 to its asking price. It's an old engine but any Fiesta is fun on the right road.

Background

You have to wonder what old Henry would have made of the Ford Fiesta Centura. Built to celebrate 100 years of Ford in Britain, the Centura is a long way removed from 1911's Model T but in common with that car, you can have it in whatever colour you like as long as it's black. It's just a shame that Ford couldn't see their way to offering it for the £200 it charged for a Model T back then. This seventh-generation Fiesta might have utterly transfixed the pioneers of vehicle mass production but today's supermini customers are a different proposition altogether. They want the lot; value, reliability, economy and a spirited drive. The Centura doesn't do at all badly on those scores.

Driving Experience

The 1.25-litre engine that powers the Fiesta Centura might sound familiar and that's because it's a real old stager. It wasn't ever fitted to the Model T but it was in the last generation Fiesta and the one before that, first showing up in 1995. The reason why this Zetec engine, which was replaced by a 1.3 and then reintroduced, has such legs is that it's a fundamentally solid powerplant. What it isn't is a very quick one, its 82bhp not shifting the Centura up the road with any great verve. Sixty comes and goes in 13 seconds on the way to a 104mph maximum. Peak torque is 84Nm at 4,200rpm, so you'll need to be rather active with the right foot. 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 soundly executed in terms of quality with a pronounced modern feel.

Market and Model

Based on the Fiesta Zetec, the Centura tacks on another £1,800 of additional equipment, including metallic Panther Black paint, chrome mirror and door caps, LED daylight running lights, 16-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, automatic headlamps and windscreen wipers, reverse parking sensors and a parking camera mounted in the rear view mirror. Ford aims to sell 1,000 Fiesta Centura special editions, priced at £13,395 for the three-door version and £13,995 for the five-door car. Given that the 1.25 Zetec opens at £12,195, that's not bad value for money. Obviously it helps if you were already intending to specify quite a few of the extras that are fitted to the Centura with the others effectively being thrown in for 'free'.

Cost of Ownership

The performance might not be stellar but the Fiesta Centura's running costs are agreeably low. Economy and emissions are kept well in check. You'll get 50.4mpg on the combined cycle while emissions are rated at 129g/km. With a little determined Googling, you'll easily turn up rivals that offer cleaner tailpipes, a legacy of this engine's age, but all too often you'll pay extra for these eco editions. There's something rather honest about this Fiesta. You won't get stung when it comes to servicing or insuring the Centura. It falls into insurance group 6 which means that it's a car that younger drivers can't afford to overlook. The Fiesta also holds its value reasonably well, with a strong used demand and the added cachet of this limited edition might also be worth a few pounds when the time comes to cash in.

Summary

The Ford Fiesta Centura adheres to a tried and tested special edition formula. It adds a whole bunch of equipment for a comparatively modest mark up, in the process shifting engines that may not be at the peak of their demand cycle. The 1.25-litre lump found under the bonnet has done great service for Ford but it now looks like the weakest aspect of this Fiesta, being slow and not particularly low on carbon dioxide emissions. Where it does score is in its perky handling, clean styling, solid build quality, undoubted reliability and relative affordability. The car's black paintwork gives it a classy appearance and it shouldn't be too tricky for Ford to shift the 1,000 we've been allotted. As long as you're not too concerned about sheer pace, it's hard to see how this car could disappoint.

The Ford Fiesta Centura adheres to a tried and tested special edition formula. It adds a whole bunch of equipment for a comparatively modest mark up, in the process shifting engines that may not be at the peak of their demand cycle. The 1.25-litre lump found under the bonnet has done great service for Ford but it now looks like the weakest aspect of this Fiesta, being slow and not particularly low on carbon dioxide emissions. Where it does score is in its perky handling, clean styling, solid build quality, undoubted reliability and relative affordability. The car's black paintwork gives it a classy appearance and it shouldn't be too tricky for Ford to shift the 1,000 we've been allotted. As long as you're not too concerned about sheer pace, it's hard to see how this car could disappoint.

The Ford Fiesta Centura adheres to a tried and tested special edition formula. It adds a whole bunch of equipment for a comparatively modest mark up, in the process shifting engines that may not be at the peak of their demand cycle. The 1.25-litre lump found under the bonnet has done great service for Ford but it now looks like the weakest aspect of this Fiesta, being slow and not particularly low on carbon dioxide emissions. Based on the Fiesta Zetec, the Centura tacks on another £1,800 of additional equipment, including metallic Panther Black paint, chrome mirror and door caps, LED daylight running lights, 16-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, automatic headlamps and windscreen wipers, reverse parking sensors and a parking camera mounted in the rear view mirror. The Centura is priced at £13,395 for the three-door version and £13,995 for the five-door car. Given that the 1.25 Zetec opens at £12,195, that's not bad value for money. Obviously it helps if you were already intending to specify quite a few of the extras that are fitted to the Centura with the others effectively being thrown in for 'free'. Where the Centura does score is in its perky handling, clean styling, solid build quality, undoubted reliability and relative affordability. The car's black paintwork gives it a classy appearance and it shouldn't be too tricky for Ford to shift the 1,000 we've been allotted. As long as you're not too concerned about sheer pace, it's hard to see how this car could disappoint.

The Ford Fiesta Centura is a special edition that commemorates 100 years of Ford in Britain. Finished in black like the iconic Model T, it packs in an extra £1,800 worth of equipment over the Fiesta 1.25 Zetec and adds around £1,200 to its asking price. It's an old engine but any Fiesta is fun on the right road. The 1.25-litre engine that powers the Fiesta Centura might sound familiar and that's because it's a real old stager. It wasn't ever fitted to the Model T but it was in the last generation Fiesta and the one before that, first showing up in 1995. The reason why this Zetec engine, which was replaced by a 1.3 and then reintroduced, has such legs is that it's a fundamentally solid powerplant. What it isn't is a very quick one, its 82bhp not shifting the Centura up the road with any great verve. Sixty comes and goes in 13 seconds on the way to a 104mph maximum. Peak torque is 84Nm at 4,200rpm, so you'll need to be rather active with the right foot. 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 Ford Fiesta Centura adheres to a tried and tested special edition formula. It adds a whole bunch of equipment for a comparatively modest mark up, in the process shifting engines that may not be at the peak of their demand cycle. The 1.25-litre lump found under the bonnet has done great service for Ford but it now looks like the weakest aspect of this Fiesta, being slow and not particularly low on carbon dioxide emissions. Where it does score is in its perky handling, clean styling, solid build quality, undoubted reliability and relative affordability. The car's black paintwork gives it a classy appearance and it shouldn't be too tricky for Ford to shift the 1,000 we've been allotted. As long as you're not too concerned about sheer pace, it's hard to see how this car could disappoint.

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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