This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Ford Fiesta Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Even though the automatic and diesel versions are a touch disappointing and sluggish - especially from standing - the nippy 1.25 and 1.4 16-valves are worth that little bit extra for the acceleration advantage. Once the Fiesta is in the higher gears, it can happily coast at motorway speeds, and is economical enough to ensure that your wallet stays firmly in your pocket.

The Fiesta is by no means a hot hatch and wasn’t designed for extensive voyages either, but the engine should cope fairly well with anything in between - although it does struggle on hills, if heavily laden, and can be raucous if pushed hard.

The Fiesta’s predictable handling is great for a reassured, no-thrills drive, but those looking for a sportier experience and corners that they can approach at speed and tear away from, need to look elsewhere. The ride is a little bouncy - you really feel every bump on uneven surfaces - but the Ford is unlikely to offer any nasty surprises that may catch you out on bends or roundabouts.

The Fiesta’s great grip makes it fun to drive all round and the Mk 4 is a marked improvement on its elder brother.