This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Ford Fiesta Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 5 out of 5 5.0

There’s a wide range of engines to choose from, kicked off by a 73bhp 1.25-litre. It’s zesty and easy to drive around town – no surprise then that it is the most popular model on the used market. The 67bhp 1.3-litre was available for a limited time (2002-2003) and was slightly less powerful than the 1.25-litre that replaced it. The 78bhp 1.4-litre is still punchy around town, but not out of its depth on faster roads.

However drivers looking for more a more relaxed drive on the motorway should opt for the 1.6-litre with 100bhp. The diesel line-up includes the 1.4 TDCi with 67bhp and the 1.6-litre TDCi with 88 bhp. Both are excellent units, but for a mix of performance and economy, the 1.4 TDCi does the best job and you can expect to see around 64mpg in everyday driving.

The five-speed manual gearbox gives crisp, accurate changes. There's also a 150bhp ST version which is reviewed separately.

The little Fiesta is doddle to drive around town. Its light steering makes easy work of parking and doesn't become too tiring to use in stop-start driving. Combined with excellent all-round visibility, it makes an excellent city car, but is equally happy out of town. On backroads it feels supple, agile and is great fun to drive. It holds the road well and you'll find that even with some of the more modest engines, you can make fast progress.