Ford Fiesta Zetec S
The 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. It just suits this sporty hatch better than the 94bhp 1.6 diesel.
The Ford Fiesta Zetec S provides the same goes-where-you-point-it fun as a sporty hatchback, without the punishing insurance costs.
The Zetec S is a standalone model in the Fiesta range. There's a choice of two 1.6-litre engines – a 118bhp petrol and a 94bhp diesel. Lower and firmer sports suspension and the addition of a bodykit mean it looks far sportier than the rest of the Fiesta range. There are skirts on the front and rear bumper and beneath the door sills, a rear spoiler, smart 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome headlamp surrounds and front foglights. Sports seats, alloy pedals, a leather steering wheel and splashes of silver paint highlight the interior. The result is that a car that's already brilliant to drive and excitingly styled becomes even better, although the ride is a little more uncomfortable because of the suspension changes. We think that's a small price to pay for the outstanding driver enjoyment you get in return.
We love the way the Fiesta drives, even in its most humble form, and with a bit more power and a sportier suspension set-up, it's a hugely entertaining car to drive. It darts around corners in a way that only a MINI comes close to, but it's never nervous or edgy, even if you encounter a mid-bend bump. The suspension is a bit stiffer than in other Fiestas, but still on the right side of comfortable. Ford has done a good job with the restyling package, too. The Zetetc S looks sporty without going over the top, and the same goes for the interior.
The Zetetc S is only available as a three-door, which will immediately rule it out for some potential buyers, and while insurance is a highly reasonable group 13, that could be a step too far for younger drivers. As for our other complaints, it's a familiar Fiesta story: poor rear legroom and versatility (the back seats don’t fold flat) and unfathomable gaps in the standard specification. If any Fiesta deserves Bluetooth and side curtain airbags, it's this one, but it doesn’t get either. Nor does it have a better audio system than humbler Fiestas, or Ford's push-button engine starter.