UK Drive: The new Ford Fiesta is still one of the best superminis you can buy

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
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To date, the Ford Fiesta regularly sits at the top of best-selling car lists. It wasn’t until the Ford Puma went on sale a few years ago that it found a challenger, but recent data suggests it’s still the most common sight on UK roads, with nearly 1.6 million driving around.

It may have dropped off the top 10 seller list last year, but the Fiesta is still a big seller for Ford. It is small but practical and, most importantly for the sector, is great value for money. With revamped styling and improved technology, we’ve tested the latest version to see if it’s still one of the best money can buy.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
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From the outside, one of the visible changes is a tweaked exterior design with clearer specification differences. There are also new technologies such as Matrix LED headlights and a configurable digital instrument display.

As seen elsewhere in the Ford lineup, the Vignale name is now used as a high-spec package that expands on what each trim level has to offer – not as a standalone trim level.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
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One of the Fiesta’s main selling points is its range of electrified engines, which all competitors can’t offer at this price point. There are hybrid and mild-hybrid petrol powertrains to choose from.

Our test car came with a 1.0 liter mild hybrid with 123bhp and 170Nm of torque, promising 50mpg on a combined cycle. It felt pretty powerful for a car of this size, but would have worked better with a manual transmission because the seven-speed automatic on our car felt sluggish and stupid in urban driving.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
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Aside from the auto’ box, the Fiesta is a fantastic little thing to drive. We’re testing the car in the ST-Line Vignale specification, which means it comes with ‘sports tuned suspension’. This is usually translated into English as ‘annoyingly jiggly’, but at the Fiesta we generally felt capable of providing a comfortable ride on all roads except the most potholed ones.

The steering is also well rated, light and easy to use around town without getting too fidgety at higher speeds. By the way, the Fiesta does get a little noisy on the highway but otherwise is quite refined for longer trips.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
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The classic form of the Fiesta never goes out of style and in the latest version its subtle changes have given it a simpler and more sophisticated edge. The new hood shape increases the nose height and the top grille is bigger, while the Ford badge has been moved to the grille.

The new LED headlights give it a more modern look, while the taillights have a classy new black surround.

Each trim level now has a more distinctive look, with our ST-Line model gaining a sporty edge. As such, it gets a new top grille with deeper inserts and a glossy black honeycomb finish, while the wide side vents add a more aggressive look.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
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Inside the Fiesta is quite spacious, although the driving position can be a little awkward for taller drivers. Nonetheless, the quality of the materials on offer is truly impressive, although perhaps as expected with our high-spec version of the Vignale.

The technology is decent for a car of this size, with the new 12.3-inch digital instrument display feeling like something you’d expect to find in a bigger, more expensive car. The infotainment system’s eight-inch screen is starting to feel a little outdated in comparison.

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
(Wandering)

Our ST-Line Vignale weighs in at £25,270, with features including 18-inch alloy wheels, a unique ST-Line body kit, selectable driving modes, Ford Sync 3 infotainment technology with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats and steering wheel , and various driver assistance features.

The final price is £27,970 after optional add-ons, with the main highlights being the Matrix LED headlights (£850) and the B&O premium sound system with wireless charging pad (£425) The parking package feels like good value at £300 too, bringing to front parking sensor and door edge guard.

While having all this equipment undoubtedly makes the Fiesta more attractive, the Fiesta starts to lose its value for money when you consider the base model starting at around £18,000. For the price of our car, you can get a Focus spec…

Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
(Wandering)

The Ford Fiesta may lose the mainstream sales bet with the Puma crossover, but there’s still a lot to like about this smart supermini. It’s still cute to drive and comes with some pretty impressive gear and technology as standard.

While our model fosters the value for money ethos that makes the Fiesta so appealing, if you’re reasonable with your specs, it’s easy to get a smart supermini with everything you need to keep a small family happy.

  • Model: Ford Fiesta
  • Starting price: £17,905
  • Model tested: Ford Fiesta ST-Line Vignale
  • Price: £27,970
  • Engine: 1.0 liter mild hybrid
  • Power: 123bhp
  • Torque: 170Nm
  • Maximum speed: 124mph
  • 0-60mph: 9.4 seconds
  • MPG: 50.4
  • Emission: 126g/km CO2

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