Review

Ford Fiesta hatchback

£10,345 - £18,595

If you’re after a small supermini, then you can’t really go wrong with the Ford Fiesta. It looks great, drives brilliantly and has a fantastic range of engines that brilliantly combine performance and fuel economy. It's easy to see why more Fiestas have been sold in the UK than any other model in history.

You may find, however, that in terms of practicality, the Ford has fallen a bit behind its rivals. Its 290-litre boot is smaller than what you get in the Skoda Fabia, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio and SEAT Ibiza – and only a little ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa. It also feels a bit tight in the back – especially three-door versions, which have a more steeply sloping roofline. This restricts headroom a touch and makes getting in and out of the back seats trickier.

Under the bonnet, as long as you avoid the entry-level petrols, there are loads of great engines to choose from. The famed 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder ‘EcoBoost’ petrol is available with 99, 123 or 138bhp, while the pick of the diesel range is the 94bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder. You can also go for a high-performance Ford Fiesta ST that can be had with either 178 or 197bhp, but we’ve reviewed this model separately.

If you’re after the most efficient Fiesta, then you’ll want the 1.5-litre diesel. This returns around 65mpg on average, while CO2 emissions of 94g/km mean private buyers won’t have to pay any road tax. This also means company-car buyers are only liable for 18% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) contributions.

However, if you think petrol suits you better, we’d recommend either the 99 or 123bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost engines. Their running costs are exactly the same, and although the more powerful version costs more to buy, it comes with a handy chunk of extra performance, too.

As well as having a really good range of engines, the Fiesta is the best car in the class to drive, too. While rivals like the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia concentrate more on comfort and refinement, the Fiesta is all about fun. It really is a hoot to drive and, while not quite as cosseting as its two VW Group rivals, it's not uncomfortable, either. It grips keenly and has marvellously accurate and direct steering.

We’ll be honest, the entry-level Fiesta is a little too sparsely equipped for us to recommend. We’d suggest you go for at least the mid-range Zetec, which gets things like DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, alloy wheels, chrome exterior finish and some leather interior trim.

You won’t be too impressed with the quality or design of the Fiesta's interior. Compared to the likes of the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza, it feels very dated indeed, thanks largely to all the buttons strewn across the dashboard. The small backlit LCD infotainment screen feels very last-decade, especially compared to the pin-sharp colour touchscreens in some of its rivals. Some of the plastics on show don’t feel particularly high-end, either.

You may have some concerns about safety – especially on such a small car, but we’re pretty confident this won’t be an issue. Euro NCAP gave the Fiesta the full five stars when it was tested in 2012 and the car comes with all the safety kit you’d expect as standard.

We do have concerns about reliability, however. The Fiesta came 105th out of 150 cars looked at in our 2016 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, while the brand came 27th out of 32 manufacturers. Owners specifically cited poor reliability and build quality as issues, too.