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I have to admit a Ford Fiesta would not be my choice of car but having been at the front of a three car pile up a couple of weeks beforehand my own car was off to get a new rear bumper and I was presented with a brand new Ford Fiesta for a weeks driving pleasure although to be honest the only real pleasure was the fact that it had a pretty good air conditioning unit that served to remind me that I needed to get the gas topped up in my own car. Having the car for a week meant I got to do about 500 miles in all on a number of different road types so it served as a pretty good test drive experience.
The particular model I had was the 3 door hatchback with a 1.25 petrol engine, now for running around town it was perfectly fine and it coped ok with rural roads where you were driving in the 45 to 55 mph range however once you get out on the motorway the car is seriously under powered and I was quick to notice the lack of acceleration and also the fact that at 70mph it was running at 3,200 revs in fifth and really struggling, I soon realised that this was not a car that I would trust in any overtaking situation.
The actual driving experience is a comfortable one, I found the adjustable seats were well padded without being too rigid and the lumber support provided adequate comfort for what is occasionally a troublesome back, I also suffer from a troublesome lack of height which is not a problem in the fiesta however he lack of size could be for those of a larger build as I noticed that even in my driving position there was a distinct lack of legroom in the back of the car. Driving on the road the suspension worked well providing a smooth journey and even when the engine was working hard on the motorway the car handled well with no judder on the steering wheel, whilst on country roads the cornering was very smooth and I certainly felt comfortable with the cars road handling abilities. It also handled really well in the rain and coped with the bit of flooding I encountered whilst travelling home through the worst of the July rain.
Initially I felt the brakes were a little spongy when I first started driving it however this may have had something to do with the fact that there was barely a 1,000 miles on the clock and they had not fully bedded in, after a bit of driving they proved a lot more responsive and certainly came to a prompt stop o one occasion in the rain when a dog ran out in front of me, on that occasion they worked perfectly well.
In terms of style and charisma the car does not have much of either. Much to the amusement of friends the one I was given was lilac in colour however secure in my sexuality and with threats hanging over their heads that they would be walking home no one made too many comments, what they did comment on was the fact that it is a bit of an ugly car from the front with two large round lights mounted on the front which makes it look a bit bug-eyed. This love affair with large round displays is repeated in the interior with the air vents for the air conditioning consisting of two round hunks of plastic centred on the dashboard which again seem to stare at you and rather dominate the fascia.
The rest of the interior is just black plastic with only a couple of redeeming features, the first is the clarity of the display which is well framed by the steering wheel, I liked the speedometer which in keeping with the circular theme was clear and framed in silver metal and the digital display showing mileage and petrol use was clear and well illuminated. The CD/radio is Ford branded and is perfectly adequate although the lack of controls on the steering column for it is poor given this feature has been on the focus for a few years now. The other positive is the air conditioning which I have already mentioned and is very powerful and fast responding.
On the negative with the internal features as well as the lack of design appeal I found the seatbelts to be an uncomfortable reach behind to grab, the variable speed on the lowest window wiper setting is much too high and in a light rain you almost have to resort to a manual switching of it on and off or suffer the sound of rubber across dry glass every other wipe.
I found the fuel consumption to be reasonable but not as good as the manuals claim, the predicted 36mpg in urban areas, 60 mpg out of town with a combined 46 mpg was not realised, certainly n urban areas it seemed fine but on the longer runs I reckon I was getting nearer 50 -55 mpg and the combined about 40mpg, now I’m used to driving a diesel engine but I still expected better from the fiesta.
In terms of cost you are probably looking in the £8,500 to £9,500 range depending on features although What Car recommend a target price just below the eight grand mark. As a company car it falls in the 15% bracket and with servicing set at every 12,500 miles or one year and sitting in insurance band 3 it is still a relatively cheap car to run.
Personally this is not the sort of car I would use as it is far too small with inadequate boot space and under powered, ideal for short journeys around town where parking would be a lot easier. If I was going to venture for a Fiesta I would certainly want at least the 1.4 engine which has a better reputation for economy of performance and has a little more grunt as well.