Still the blueprint for small hatchbacks
- Great to drive
- Cheap to run
- Packed with latest tech
- Safer than ever
- Rivals more practical
- Finance rates not that competitive
- Some cheaper-feeling cabin plastics
- Glass roof severely saps headroom
The 2017 Ford Fiesta hatchback has Titanic shoes to fill – over eight generations it has become the best-selling nameplate in the UK.
It enters an incredibly competitive marketplace featuring impressive vehicles such as the SEAT Ibiza, Nissan Micra, Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio and countless other cars. In fact, at last inspection there were more than 20 protagonists in this sector alone.
The success of this small hatchback (called a Supermini in industry parlance) is due to its sheer breadth of ability. Low list and finance prices couple with entertaining driving and fun styling to appeal to a huge swathe of the UK’s car-buying population.
2017 Ford Fiesta: What’s on offer?
The new Fiesta will be available in a variety of guises – there are nine trim levels from Style up to plush Vignale or sporty ST-Line, and a range of optional extras on hand to further personalise your car.
Zetec is set to be the most popular by a significant margin (up to 60% of the total mix), while Titanium will account for one fifth of sales.
On top of that, there's a choice 1.1-litre non-turbo petrol engines with 70-85hp, a suite of excellent 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost units with between 100 and 140hp, and two 1.5-litre diesels with 85 or 120hp.
We’re expecting three in five Fiestas sold to be powered by the 1.0-litre in its trio of power outputs.
Then there’s the choice of three- or five-door body styles. We’re expecting Ford to sell these in a ratio of 70:30 respectively.
What’s the 2017 Ford Fiesta like to drive?
Very good indeed. We’ve no reason to expect anything other than gargantuan sales of this new Fiesta. It’s as good to drive as the previous version but now comes equipped with some of the latest tech and driver assistance features – if you pay for them.
Sure, there are some cheaper-feeling materials in the cabin, and we’d give the glass sunroof (standard on Vignale, optional otherwise) a wide berth for its cabin headroom and wind noise penalties, but on initial inspection from our early drive, we think it’ll remain among the class leaders without a shadow of a doubt.
Will the Ford Fiesta be cheap to finance and run?
From launch Ford’s finance deals are a bit off the pace - figures of £116 per month for a PCP on a Zetec and £150 on a Titanium have been quoted, albeit with a relatively large £5,000 deposit and reasonable 2.9% APR over 36 months.
We’d expect better deals after the initial fanfare has died down, however.
Insurance groups range from 2E up to 15E, so it’s at the cheaper end of the spectrum here too, and fuel economy and tax bills are very low indeed thanks to a recent range of high-tech engines.
New Ford Fiesta ST and Active models in 2018
The new Fiesta ST will follow in 2018 – great news for enthusiasts. This is big news simply because the previous version became the benchmark for all hot hatches. Its ultra-competitive price was joined by hilariously entertaining handling and a peppy engine that begged to be worked hard.
The recipe for the next version includes a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine (downsized from the previous 1.6 four-cylinder) and the very same mix of attributes listed above. We can’t wait.
At the other end of the spectrum and widening the Fiesta’s appeal further is the Active – a higher-riding version that aims to snag sales from the burgeoning SUV sector. This one launches at the same time as the ST, in February 2018.
The Parkers Verdict
The eighth incarnation of the Fiesta is as good to drive as ever, and features even more safety, driver assistance and infotainment kit. It comes at a price relative to the competition, both for outright buyers and those looking to finance.
It's not perfect – the interior isn't class-leading in terms of design or quality – and althought it's comfortable, it's not as polished dynamically as we'd like. But it's a very good effort, and given the previous-generation model was Britain's bestselling car, it's understandable that Ford stuck to the formula by refining what it had.
In conclusion, it's up there among the best small hatchbacks you can buy, but it's not decisively head and shoulders above them – as was the 2009 Fiesta when it was launched.