Ford Fiesta: Driving time

Fiesta reputation justified

Two weeks with the Fiesta has given me plenty of time to test the performance and handling and with a few long-distance trips on the motorway as well as a number of stints on twisty roads under my belt, it has not left me disappointed.

When it comes to the handling, there's few faults. Around town and in congested areas it is easy to manoeuvre thanks to the light steering and compact proportions. On a recent trip in London a missed turn was easily corrected with a nifty and painless three-point manoeuvre

The Fiesta really came into its own out on the open road, however. A motorway-free trip to Southend-on-Sea gave me the ideal opportunity to see how it would cope, and it wasn't found wanting. It delivers an engaging drive, particularly in tight corners where you can turn in with plenty of confidence.

It's not quite so at home on the motorway though, and a couple of long-distance trips revealed its frailties. At motorway speeds the 1.4-litre 95bhp engine felt like it was straining and with five gears only it was pretty noisy.

So if you are going to spend most of your driving time around the town and country B-roads the Fiesta is ideal, but if motorways make up the bulk of your journeys then you might be better off opting for the 1.6-litre petrol model with 118bhp or, if fuel economy is a priority, the 1.6 TDCi.

Current mileage: 7230

Average mpg: 39.3