Ford Fiesta 2017: early review

  PROS

  • Sharp handling, sweet steering
  • Dramatic increase in standard equipment
  • Interior quality significantly improved

  CONS

  • Some would say the styling isn't adventurous
  • You'll have to wait for the Fiesta ST hot hatch
  • Finance deals are currently uncompetitive
Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8

New car launches don’t get bigger than the 2017 Ford Fiesta, and this our first review of this enormously important new supermini.

The latest Fiesta has titanic shoes to fill, as it replaces the car that's been the UK bestseller since 2009. On sale in July, it competes in the incredibly popular small hatchback segment, a sector of the market where rivals are many and varied.

New from the wheels up, the 2017 Ford Fiesta is sharp to drive, well equipped and great value for money

2017 Ford Fiesta trim levels and engines

This eighth-generation Fiesta will be available in a wide range of versions – there are nine trim levels from Style up to newly introduced and super-plush Vignale, with a host of optional extras available to further personalise your car.

Zetec is set to be the most popular selection by a significant margin, accounting for up to 60% of registration, while well-equipped Titanium will account for one fifth of sales.

Engine choice is also extensive: there's a pair of 1.1-litre non-turbo petrol engines with 70-85hp, a suite of 1.0-litre turbocharged Ecoboost units with between 100 and 140hp, and two 1.5-litre diesels with 85 or 120hp. Three in five Fiestas sold are expected to be powered by the 1.0-litre Ecoboost, in one of its varying power outputs.

Then there’s the choice of three- or five-door body styles. 70% of buyers are likely to opt for the three-door.


What's the Ford Fiesta ST-Line 140hp Ecoboost like to drive?

2017 Ford Fiesta review

Until the sportier Ford Fiesta ST arrives in 2018, the ST-Line version of the Fiesta is the zippiest of the bunch. It certainly looks the part, with 10mm lower suspension, 17-inch wheels and its bodykit, but crucially on the road it’s a highly impressive set-up.

Ford has dialled out some of the steering’s resistance in the eighth-generation Fiesta, meaning it’s less effort when driving quickly, but it’s super-responsive when you want to change direction and does weight-up at speed  so you’re always confident the car’s going to do what you ask of it.

How does it handle and ride?

That lowered suspension doesn’t appear to have much effect on the Fiesta’s comfort levels either, with compliancy over speed bumps, rutted roads and even gravel. It settles down almost instantly following a bump, so you’re always feeling like the ST-Line’s ready for the next bend.

The sports seats are supportive but don’t pinch, and we’re impressed with the Sync 3 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s standard on higher-spec models.

Does the ST-Line go as well as well as it looks?

Our car’s equipped with the 140hp version of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, and while it’s not going to be the most popular motor in the range (the 15hp less powerful version gets that honour), it’s definitely the one to pick if you’re a keen driver; until the aforementioned full-fat ST comes out, anyway.

This engine has been around for a long time now and it’s clear Ford has put a lot of work into smoothing out the power delivery that can sometimes feel a little lumpy on other three-cylinder engines. Its turbocharger gets going extremely quickly too, which means there’s impressively sharp response from pushes of the accelerator.

We found the six-speed manual gearbox as solid-feeling and rewarding as it was in the previous Fiesta, so no gripes there either.

Overall, you won’t be disappointed with the ST-Line Fiesta in this specification. It’s going to account for a minute proportion of overall sales, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without myriad merits – especially if you love to drive.

  • Driven: Ford Fiesta ST-Line 5dr 140hp EcoBoost
  • Stats: 140hp, 62.8mpg, 102g/km, 9.0sec 0-62mph, 126mph

What's the Ford Fiesta Vignale 140hp Ecoboost like to drive?

Ford Fiesta Vignale 140hp Ecoboost

At the top of the Fiesta line-up for those not interested in the sporty ST-Line, Ford has produced a luxury-focused Viganle model. Similar in spirit to the Kuga, Edge, S-Max and Mondeo Vignales, it’s festooned with posh leather upholstery and the very best of the kit on offer on the Fiesta.

The standard equipment tally includes an opening glass panoramic sunroof – and that’s the primary reason to avoid it if you want adults to sit in the back. We found the lower ceiling height relative to non-sunroof-equipped cars made it actively uncomfortable for six-foot-tall humans to sit line-astern in the Fiesta. This isn’t an issue otherwise.

However, the other upgrades you get are slightly more compelling. The exterior styling pack is attractive enough, and as long as you pick the right colour it separates it from the rest of the Fiesta’s line-up nicely.

The Vignale interior treatment

It’s inside where you get the real improvements. The quilted leather seats are as good to look at as they are to sit on, and are heated in the front as standard – as is the steering wheel.

A rear-view camera and acoustic rear parking sensors make parking trouble-free, and the ride quality on its exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels was fantastic.

In the Vignale you’re treated to the Sync 3 infotainment system with the largest 8.0-inch touchscreen. This works quickly and intuitively, flicking through menus easily and zooming in and out of maps on the navigation almost perfectly – the sign of a powerful processor.

You get the B&O Play uprated speaker system too, which has 360-degree surround sound and eight high-end speakers, resulting in crisp and deep sound quality.

Ford Fiesta Vignale 140hp Ecoboost

  • Driven: Ford Fiesta Vignale 140hp Ecoboost
  • Stats: 140hp, 62.8mpg, 102g/km, 9.0sec 0-62mph, 126mph
  • Priced from: £20,995

The Parkers Verdict

Early impressions are looking extremely positive. The Fiesta feels just as good as its predecessor in every way, yet in some important aspects – interior finishing, safety and infotainment – it’s a dramatic step forwards. 

It’s also a few thousand pounds more expensive than an ST-Line with the same engine as tested above; we know where our cash would go…

Back to the 2017 Ford Fiesta details, prices and specs