Update 1 | | | | | |
Update 1 – What is it? (8 May 2018)
This is the new Ford Fiesta, which you’ll likely already have seen bowling around your home town – those heavy eyeliner LED daytime running lights are hard to miss. More than being ‘just’ a Fiesta, this is the ST-Line model that promises semi-sporting prowess and fully-sporting looks, mated to a variety of engines that promise lower costs than the full-fat Fiesta ST hot hatch which the ST-Line mimics.
We’ve opted for the cheapest version; the 98bhp 1.0T EcoBoost 100 petrol, which is a 1-litre three cylinder turbocharged motor, complete with six-speed gearbox. Full tech specs are below, but the official economy and CO2 certainly suggests that this’ll be a cheap car to run. There are more powerful variants of the same engine, and a diesel option if economy is your chief priority.
Our specific car will hopefully be cheap on fuel, but it’s not all that cheap to buy thanks to the heady number of options fitted. All the costs are broken down below, but after all of that’s been added, the car comes in at a touch over lb21k or lb311 per month for three years after a lb3k deposit. Which seems a bit steep for a 98bhp Fiesta, to be honest, but it certainly looks awesome and should have all the comfort and convenience we could ask for.
What we want to find out
We’re very keen to find out how this little engine fares for real-world economy; it’s a popular choice, but often the rev-happy little three-cylinder engines like this one can fall a very long way short of the claimed figures. We’ll be doing everything from long motorway schleps to inner-city commutes, so we’ll be sure to find out the best, worst and overall average you can expect to get from this car in all sorts of driving conditions.
And this engine doesn’t just need to be frugal, it needs to be fun. This is the ST-Line, after all, and while the looks are the key reason that most buyers opt for this trim, it’s also important that it lives up to the semi-hot hatch bravado implied by the name. So does it? We’ll find out.
We’re also keen to find out how the Fiesta stands up on the practicality front. In our triple test of the Seat Ibiza, Ford Fiesta and Citroen C3, the Fiesta proved to be tight for rear passenger- and boot space, which is why the much roomier Ibiza came out the ultimate winner. So can the Fiesta prove that it is up task of daily life?
Finally, the price. The equipment makes this a properly eye-catching looking little hatch, and the comfort stakes are there, but it’s certainly got something to prove given those monthly costs of more than lb300 per month despite Ford’s zero percent offer currently adding appeal. For context, a standard version of this car with nothing but metallic paint on it will set you back lb233 per month on the same terms, so the extras do have the monthly cost jumping significantly. Check out our first drive for a full break down of what you get on the ST-Line and what it’s like to drive, and keep an eye on Motor1 UK for regular updates on our slick new Fiesta.
List price: lb17,790
Est. PCP finance: lb311pcm [based on lb3,000 deposit, 36 monthly payments, 9,000 miles per annum, 0% APR]
Options on test car: Moondust Silver (lb495); 18-inch ST-Line alloys (lb600); rear privacy glass (lb250); City Pack incl. rear parking sensors, power-folding heated mirrors (lb350); Comfort Pack incl. heated front seats and steering wheel (lb250); Driver Assistance Pack incl. AEB city braking and adaptive cruise control (lb400); B&O sounds system and Ford SYNC 3 navigation (lb650); CD player (lb150); Shadow Black contrast roof and mirrors (lb150).
Price as tested: lb21,085
Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles
Servicing intervals: TBC
Update 2 – wheel snafu (29 May 2018)
The first couple of weeks of running our new Fiesta ST-Line were marred by an unfortunate puncture on the left rear tyre, which turned out to be surprisingly difficult to get sorted.
The 205/40 R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres were very difficult to come by in what is a comparatively small (for a sporting tyre) 18-inch format, with none of the workshops we spoke to having any in stock.
One place offered us some alternative-brand tyres off an Alfa Romeo 4C, which is a bizarre colleague for the Fiesta to have, but we ended up having to wait a week for new Michelins to be ordered in. Not very convenient.
If this was the spicy ST version, or a hotter RS model, we could understand the scarcity of the rubber, but the whole virtue of the ST-Line specification is that it offers the convenient blend of performance looks and the all-round ability of the standard car.
Nevertheless, the ST-Line has got compliments for its sporting looks – the silver paint job shows off the curves of the car nicely.
Update 3 – expert engineering (11 June 2018)
Jumping in the Fiesta after driving almost anything else helps you to really appreciate how good the engineering on the Ford is. The pedals are firmly weighted, controls precise and you’re never left in any doubt as to what the car is doing.
If I have one complaint it’s that the ride is rather on the firm side, which I gather is what the kids are after these days, but if I’m honest I’m getting to the age in life where I just want something nice with heated seats to take the edge off my chilly bones. The Fiesta certainly scores well in that regard thanks to its heated seats and heated steering wheel, both of which are still getting use even during these early summer weeks.
One confusing aspect of this lb23,000 car is the presence of window winders in the back. We first noticed on a particularly hot day when we tried to put all of the windows down, hunting around for the extra switches. It seems a little churlish not to have electric rear windows on the Fiesta.
Update 4 – B-road master (28 June 2018)
Until now the Fiesta has mostly been used around town or on the motorway – needs must, and all that. I’m usually running late for something, so there’s no chance to get off the beaten track. This week I found myself heading towards the countryside for a carmaker’s UK launch event in the middle of nowhere.
Suddenly the Fiesta came alive – precise turn-in, well-weighted steering, and the ride that often seems fussy in the city suddenly had the car clamped to the road, pouring through the bends and showing the sort of engineering skill from Ford that really separates it from the opposition. There are particular moments like this when suddenly the Fiesta transcends from shopping car, commuting tool or part-time runabout into an almost-sports car.
In fact, given the way of things these days, I rather imagine you could have more fun in a Fiesta on a day-to-day basis than most exotic machines.
Update 5 – Losing its cool (11 July 2018)
We all know it’s hot at the moment – let’s take it for granted that we’re all mildly sunburned and suffering through the humidity and avoid the deluge of social media updates and polite bus stop conversion that only makes it worse. But I will say that the Fiesta’s air conditioning seems to be suffering too…it just doesn’t seem to manage to get the car cool.
Now I’ve been in cars with heated seats you could fry eggs on, and others equipped with the sort of air conditioning that could be used to train polar explorers, but the Fiesta falls into neither category (although the heated seats are pretty good, they’re rather redundant currently). Of course these are strange and uncertain times in the UK, but the Fiesta is sold in all sorts of hot countries around the world.
It could be that it’s because I drive around with Eco mode switched on in an effort to try and boost fuel economy, so that’s getting turned off for a little while to see whether it makes any difference.
Update 6 – Sporty or frugal? (6 August 2018)
Since our last update on the Fiesta we’ve driven mainly with the Eco function turned off, and combined with a tank of mostly city miles, the fuel economy plummeted to a depressing 30mpg, leaving us with a 37.9mpg long-term average.
There is certainly a noticeable difference with full-fat power – the car is less sluggish away from junctions and much keener to rev, with overtaking on dual carriageways less likely to need a gear change. The fuel hit is not insignificant, though it does help you drill down to what you really want out of a car like this.
The ST-Line is only intended to ape the performance end of the Fiesta range, and it certainly manages that with its sharp looks. But the fitting of the company’s 1-litre Ecoboost engine surely hints at a more frugal approach.
Update 7 – A sad goodbye (16 August 2018)
Well, we’ve said goodbye to the Fiesta ST-Line – not an emotional goodbye, but a wistful one certainly. It had its niggles – that firm ride, so-so fuel economy and an Apple CarPlay system that sporadically gave up and stopped working. But when that’s all we can come up with after 1,600 miles of hard city and country driving, that’s a testimony of the Fiesta’s crushing domination of the supermini segment and its seemingly unmatchable talents.
In this spec it was a little pricey for our liking at over lb20k, but there is a Fiesta for everyone in a wide range of cars that covers almost every taste. The Volkswagen Polo runs it close in some areas – better interior quality, perhaps – and the Peugeot 208 offers a bit of gallic flair, but why look elsewhere when the Fiesta is this good? Well played, Ford, well played.