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A fond farewell to fabulous Ford Fiesta

By Maxine Ashford | January 16, 2023

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It’s one of the easiest models to drive and, just like a favourite armchair, you immediately feel comfy and at home behind the wheel.

A fond farewell to fabulous Ford Fiesta

It’s nigh on impossible to sum up the impact the Ford Fiesta has had on people’s lives. It’s the car that many of us learnt to drive in back in the day and was often the go-to choice for a first car too.

It’s one of the easiest models to drive and, just like a favourite armchair, you immediately feel comfy and at home behind the wheel. And if you need further proof of its appeal, the Fiesta has clocked up in excess of 22 million sales since launching back in 1976.

But now just short of celebrating 50 years in production, Ford has announced it is pulling the plug and it’s time for the final Fiesta siesta.

The reasoning behind the decision is simple enough. While the Fiesta frequently topped the best-sellers list here in the UK year after year, its popularity had started to wane. Rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa knocked it off the top spot and it finally dropped out the top 10 altogether. 

And with Ford keenly eyeing an electrified future, it was time to drop the bombshell that, after seven generations, Fiesta production would cease in June this year.

But we couldn’t turn down the chance of spending one more week behind the wheel of the car that has played such a vital role in British motoring history.

Of course, it comes in many guises and there are souped-up versions for thrill-seekers such as the Fiesta ST hot hatch.

But we wanted to go for something more sedate and more in keeping with all the reasons the car has proved such a global success. With that in mind, we booked the five-door model powered by the award-winning 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine in ST-Line X guise. 

Styling & Technology

Throughout the years the Ford Fiesta has simply gone about its business without being too flashy and that is part of its charm. It looks smart but it’s certainly not in-your-face in any way.

Our ST Line X model was quite a sporty looking car with rear privacy glass, an ST-Line grille, full bodykit styling and a body-coloured rear spoiler. It featured LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights.

Take your seat behind the wheel and it’s like this vehicle has been made especially for you. It’s the sort of car that has enough manual seat and steering wheel adjustment to make people of any shape or size fit just right.

The neatly upholstered seats feature red stitching and contrasting red trim on the steering wheel and around the air vents add a sporty flair.

There is lots of tech to explore but it’s all set out in a way that will avoid driver distraction. For example, all the climate control settings are accessed via a separate panel so there’s no over-complicated touchscreen menus needed to increase the temperature a notch. There is an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and DAB radio. Our car boasted a high-end 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system which added £1,025 to the cost.

It's a simple, yet effective layout and the 12.3-inch driver display shows all the vital data such as speed, driving distance and fuel levels.

Handling & Performance

Our Fiesta was powered by Ford’s highly successful 1.0-litre mild hybrid Ecoboost petrol engine delivering 125PS and 170Nm of torque. It could complete the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 9.6 seconds and maxed out at 124mph.

It had a seven-speed automatic gearbox which was beautifully timed and whilst it’s not the quickest out the starting blocks, it’s no slouch either.

When it comes to performance, the Fiesta takes everything in its stride. It can cruise effortlessly at 70mph on motorways, is well balanced through twisting country lanes and is easily manoeuvrable in busier city centre settings.

The steering feel is good with ample driver feedback and the suspension system does a worthy job of smoothing out most bumps and dips along the way. 

Inside the cabin, occupants are well protected from any engine sound but a little tyre rumble noise does filter through at higher speeds.

It doesn’t set the world on fire, but it was never meant to. Yes, it can be pushed hard and will deliver but this car seems happiest just going about its day-to-day chores without too much fuss. And that’s one of the things we have grown to love about the Fiesta through the decades.

Space & Practicality

The five-door Ford Fiesta is a practical option and, over the years, we have frequently seen them packed to bursting with books, bedding, cooking utensils and the likes as students head to and from university.

There is room for a couple of passengers in the back or three at a squeeze with a surprisingly generous amount of leg and head space.

Boot space is okay with a 292-litre limit that increases to 1,093 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats folded forward. In addition, there are cup holders, a glovebox, door bins and a central cubby box to store bits and bobs.

But one of the main appeals of the Fiesta is its versatility. The whole family can share this car as its so easy to adjust any seats or the steering wheel and it takes a matter of seconds to familiarise yourself with all the fixtures and fittings.

The driver visibility is good and parking sensors, plus a rearview camera, help make light work of squeezing into tight parking spaces.

Running Costs

Our Ford Fiesta ST-Line X was priced at £26,430, but a number of optional extras such as Beautiful Berry paintwork, Matrix LED headlights, a Driver Assistance Pack, a Parking Pack and a premium sound system saw the final cost increase to £29,630.

That may seem steep for a Fiesta but this is a car that will run and run. The fuel efficiency impressed with a WLTP-tested combined 50.4mpg and the car has carbon emissions of 126g/km.

This CO2 figure would mean a first-year road tax bill of £190 dropping to the standard fee of £165 after 12 months and the test car sits in insurance group 18.

Another plus-point is that all Ford models are renowned for being really easy to work on, so any repair costs should be kept to a minimum. 

Verdict

It seems strange to think that this will probably be my last time behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta. It seems to have been around forever, but all good things must come to an end.

The good news is that there are thousands of models on our roads and, with a reputation for good reliability, they should be fizzing around for many years to come.

But for now, it’s like we are waving goodbye to a favourite pair of jeans that are becoming a little too threadbare, or a comfort blanket that has been through too many spin cycles. A sad day yes, but there is lots of really exciting stuff to come from Ford as the company prepares for its electrified future.

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