In-depth reviews

Ford Fiesta hatchback review

"The economical and fun Ford Fiesta is a more complete package than ever before"

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£16,385 - £28,475

Pros

  • Impressive economy
  • Terrific handling
  • Roomy interior

Cons

  • Evolutionary style
  • Some safety kit optional
  • Top models are expensive

The latest Ford Fiesta doesn't look that different from the old one, which it replaced in 2017. Given there wasn’t much wrong with that car, a model that had been on sale for nine years, it’s perhaps unsurprising there weren’t more major changes. After all, Ford wouldn't want to risk sending buyers into the arms of manufacturers like Vauxhall and Volkswagen, who make rivals to the Fiesta in the form of the Corsa and Polo respectively.

So far in 2021, the Vauxhall Corsa has outsold the Fiesta and in some months the Fiesta was also less popular than the Ford Puma. To redress the balance, Ford has announced an updated model of the Fiesta, featuring slightly tweaked styling and updated technology. It’ll be on sale in the early part of 2022 and prices should stay roughly the same.

Driver appeal was something the old Fiesta excelled at and with talented rivals such as the SEAT Ibiza, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 breathing down its neck, the new one couldn't afford to drop this particular ball, either. At the same time, supermini buyers want to have their cake and eat it: a small, economical car that’s also comfortable, well built and stuffed with the latest technology. It helps that the latest Fiesta delivers on these fronts, too.

Top 10 best small cars and superminis 2021

It might look similar to the model it replaces, but look harder and you’ll notice this Fiesta is actually bigger where it counts. For a start, it’s longer, allowing Ford's designers to increase passenger space in the back. At the same time, subtle styling details distinguish trim levels from one another, adding to their allure.

The Fiesta range starts with a new Trend spec, which replaces Zetec and the sparse Style trim, and then ascends through Titanium, Titanium X, ST-Line, ST-Line X and high-end Vignale. Trend and Titanium versions have a front bumper that Ford says is intended to be friendlier and ‘more optimistic’. A smart touch is its pair of vertical fog lights. As its name suggests, the ST-Line pair have a sporty bias, courtesy of slightly stiffer suspension and a bodykit. It’s not expensive to run, though, and we’ve found its suspension still provides plenty of comfort, while handling better than 'warm hatchbacks' like the Suzuki Swift Sport.

For luxury seekers, there’s the Fiesta Vignale with optional 18-inch alloy wheels (17-inch alloys are standard) and, inside, hexagonally quilted leather upholstery. These features put in contention with a MINI hatchback or Audi A1, but also make it too expensive to represent the sweet spot in the range; the overall interior quality is good but not on par with more upmarket superminis, while its design doesn’t quite match up to the more sophisticated offerings of its rivals. Undeterred, Ford has announced that you’ll be able to order a Vignale pack on several trim levels on the updated Fiesta, which should add some of the luxury without the eye-watering price.

The Fiesta Active, meanwhile, blends SUV elements – a raised ride height, body protection and roof rails – with low supermini running costs and easy driving manners. And performance enthusiasts will be more excited by the Fiesta ST (our favourite hot hatch), which we’ve reviewed separately.

While a 197bhp version of the EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol engine is fitted in the ST, the regular Fiesta line-up still offers an excellent range of petrol engines with varying power outputs and the option of mild-hybrid electrical assistance. No plug-in hybrid or electric version has yet been announced, and the electrical assistance is less noticeable than Ford makes out - although it does boost fuel economy slightly. In late 2020, the diesel engine was discontinued.

You’ll get the mild-hybrid tech on the 123 and 153bhp versions of the turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine; the latter is good for a nine-second 0-62mph time. The same engine is available with 99bhp, while the 123bhp engine is now available with mild-hybrid assistance when specced with the seven-speed automatic gearbox. The entry-level Fiesta Trend model now gives the option of the 99 and 123bhp engines, alongside the old-fashioned, non-turbocharged 74bhp 1.1-litre engine.

No matter which engine you choose, the Fiesta is a pleasure to drive, either on a long motorway trip or a challenging country road.

The mechanical package stacks up well and Ford has clearly taken the latest Fiesta’s inside story seriously, too, with an interior feel that comes close to matching the very best in its class. The cleanly styled dashboard is made from high-quality, tactile materials and everything feels superbly put together. The Fiesta’s connectivity and infotainment systems are now better than ever, too – gone is the rather dated mobile-phone-style button pad below the previous rather cramped infotainment display; a ‘floating’ tablet-style screen takes its place with Ford’s clever SYNC 3 system on most models. This brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, while top models now get a classy-looking eight-inch touchscreen and sat nav.

Every model features lane-departure warning and assistance, a sign of Ford’s big push on safety. It’s a shame that so much of the Fiesta’s most advanced safety equipment is optional at extra cost, though. You can add automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and active parking assistance that can apply the brakes if needs be, plus blind-spot monitoring, as well as traffic-sign recognition and auto-dipping headlights. The 2022 model will gain standard LED headlights and a Wrong Way Alert, plus more models will benefit from a reversing camera.

A glance at the price list shows that the most lavishly equipped models are rather expensive, but when you realise the mid-range version has all the must-have features, Fiesta value-for-money looks good. And while economy, practicality and quality have all improved, the car’s fun-loving character has been kept intact. As Ford has completed the package with a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test verdict, the Fiesta is a tough supermini to beat.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.1 75 Trend 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £16,385

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TDCi Trend 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £17,985

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBoost ST-2 Navigation 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,655

Recommended

Range Rover SUV review
Range Rover SUV
Range Rover
22 Oct 2021

Range Rover SUV review

Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV review
Ford Mustang Mach-E - front 3/4 dynamic
Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV
21 Oct 2021

Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV review

2021 Citroen C3 updated with more equipment
2021 Citroen C3
Citroën C3
21 Oct 2021

2021 Citroen C3 updated with more equipment

Ford Kuga SUV review
Ford Kuga Titanium
Ford Kuga
20 Oct 2021

Ford Kuga SUV review

Most Popular

What is AdBlue?
What is adblue?
Tips and advice
18 Oct 2021

What is AdBlue?

Genesis GV80 SUV review
Genesis GV80 SUV
Genesis GV80
19 Oct 2021

Genesis GV80 SUV review

Top 10 best company cars 2021
Hyundai Ioniq 5 front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
14 Oct 2021

Top 10 best company cars 2021

More on Fiesta

London ULEZ: what is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?
ULEZ Zone
Ford Fiesta hatchback
20 Oct 2021

London ULEZ: what is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?

The ULEZ came into force on 8th April 2019. Our guide explains what it means for drivers in London
Ford Fiesta wins 2022 Carbuyer Used Car of the Year award
Ford Fiesta - Best Used Car of the Year 2022
Ford Fiesta
14 Oct 2021

Ford Fiesta wins 2022 Carbuyer Used Car of the Year award

A multiple award winner as a new car in the past, the Ford Fiesta has now been named the Carbuyer Used Car of the Year for 2022
Best used cars: our 2022 Best Used Car Award winners
Carbuyer Best Used Car Awards 2022 - the winners
Awards
13 Oct 2021

Best used cars: our 2022 Best Used Car Award winners

These are the winners of Carbuyer Best Used Car Awards 2022
Top 10 best hot hatchbacks 2021
Hyundai i20 N
Hot hatches
8 Oct 2021

Top 10 best hot hatchbacks 2021

The best hot hatchbacks offer sports car thrills and performance with everyday usability and practicality for a reasonable price.
Top 10 best first cars 2021
VW Up! - front
First cars
29 Sep 2021

Top 10 best first cars 2021

A good first car needs to be cheap to buy and to run. It also needs to be well-equipped, reliable and safe. Here's a rundown of the best
Facelifted 2022 Ford Fiesta breaks cover
2022 Ford Fiesta
Ford Fiesta
16 Sep 2021

Facelifted 2022 Ford Fiesta breaks cover

The new Ford Fiesta gets a mild redesign, upgraded technology and more safety features
Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa
Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa header
Superminis
8 Sep 2021

Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa

The Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa are among the UK’s best-selling cars - but which should you pick? Find out in our triple test
Top 3 used sporty cars for £5,000
Top 3 used sporty cars for £5,000 header
Car buying
8 Sep 2021

Top 3 used sporty cars for £5,000

Dear Carbuyer, I need to replace my loved but rusty Ford Puma coupé with something as characterful. What can I get for £5,000?
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback review
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback front 3/4 tracking
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
7 Sep 2021

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback review

"Fast and fun yet practical and economical, the latest Ford Fiesta ST is as great a hot hatch as ever"
Ford Fiesta Active hatchback review
Ford Fiesta Active hatchback
Ford Fiesta Active hatchback
7 Sep 2021

Ford Fiesta Active hatchback review

"The Fiesta Active adds hints of SUV style, strength and substance to the standard model without compromising comfort or driving fun"
Top 10 best cars for students 2021
Skoda Fabia hatchback front 3/4 static
Best cars
3 Sep 2021

Top 10 best cars for students 2021

If you're a student, and you're looking for a new car, chances are you're after something compact, inexpensive, practical and cheap to run. The cars o…
Top 10 best automatic cars 2021
Blue BMW 3 Series driving
Best cars
21 Jul 2021

Top 10 best automatic cars 2021

Many people opt for an automatic gearbox for their relaxed driving characteristics, and many are just as efficient as their manual equivalents. Here a…
Top 10 best road-tax-free cars 2021
Renault Kadjar
Best cars
19 Jul 2021

Top 10 best road-tax-free cars 2021

Only new electric and hydrogen-powered cars are free from annual road tax today, but a range of used cars are also available without any road tax.
Top 10 best self-parking cars 2021
DS 3 Crossback
Best cars
16 Jul 2021

Top 10 best self-parking cars 2021

We name the 10 best cars with self-parking technology, so read on to find out which cars take the stress out of parking
Top 10 best used small cars 2021
Ford Fiesta Mk7
Best cars
9 Jul 2021

Top 10 best used small cars 2021

Looking for a small, sensible secondhand buy? We name 10 of the best small used cars
What is Ford SYNC 3?
Ford Focus ST Estate infotainment display
Ford Focus hatchback
30 Jun 2021

What is Ford SYNC 3?

Everything you need to know about the Ford SYNC 3 infotainment system
Top 10 best cars with panoramic sunroofs 2021
Toyota Yaris
Best cars
28 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cars with panoramic sunroofs 2021

Putting a hole in the roof can add a real feeling of light and warmth to a car's interior. Here's our rundown of the best panoramic sunroofs
Top 10 best cheap sports cars 2021
Ford Fiesta ST driving around corner
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap sports cars 2021

Sports cars deliver superb thrills, but they don’t have to cost a fortune. We’ve listed the best cheap sports cars that shouldn’t break the bank.
Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

Our rundown details the best and most fuel-efficient cars on sale today
Top 10 best cheap cars 2021
Dacia Duster SUV
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap cars 2021

We look at the best cheap cars on the market that offer spectacular value for money, proving that you really can spend a little but get a lot.
Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?
2020 Ford Puma - front tracking
Ford Focus hatchback
4 Jun 2021

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?

Everything you need to know about Ford’s high efficiency EcoBoost engine technology
New 2021 Ford Fiesta spotted for the first time
2021 Ford Fiesta prototype - front
Ford Fiesta
9 Mar 2021

New 2021 Ford Fiesta spotted for the first time

Ford Fiesta will get facelift inspired by new Puma SUV
Top 10 best used hatchbacks 2021
2014 Skoda Octavia in blue driving around a corner
Family hatchbacks
12 Feb 2021

Top 10 best used hatchbacks 2021

Cars like these are easy to park, spacious, well-equipped and cheap to run. We pick out the best used hatchbacks

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
29 Sep 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Ioniq 5
Best cars
20 Oct 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks