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In-depth reviews

Ford Fiesta hatchback - Interior & comfort (2017-2023)

The Ford Fiesta has a stylish interior that almost matches the best in class for quality

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

3.0 out of 5

It’s fair to say that the previous Ford Fiesta was far from class-leading for interior design, quality and comfort. The great news here is that the latest model is a massive improvement. The dashboard and interior fittings feel well assembled and the materials used are pleasant to the touch.

As well as improved fit and finish, travelling comfort is now far ahead of the previous Fiesta. There’s much more sound-deadening than before – including an ‘acoustic’ windscreen, while redesigned suspension and engine mountings reduce road noise and vibration. Even the ST-Line, with its lowered sports suspension, does a terrific job of insulating passengers from bumpy road surfaces.

Ford Fiesta dashboard

Throughout the latest Fiesta’s interior, the onus has been on creating a more mature, grown-up feel than previous models. Not only does it now almost match the Volkswagen Polo for build quality, it has a more individual look than most rivals and both looks and feels truly welcoming.

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Fiesta drivers are faced with a large, clearly designed instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch colour display between the rev counter and speedometer, on which fuel economy and other drive-related information is displayed, as well as a natty start-up sequence. User-friendliness quibbles are limited only to a rear wiper switch mounted at the end of the stalk in a position where it's easily pressed unintentionally.

For a time, all X versions were fitted with an impressive 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, however this is now back on the options list. It’s very nice to look at, even if it lacks the customisation ability you get in rivals like the Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 208. Because it doesn’t have many screens to scroll through, there’s little benefit to be had for choosing this tech-fest system over models with the cheaper, conventional dials.

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Elsewhere, the look is dominated by the infotainment system. The cheapest models in the range no longer have a simple 4.2-inch display or a 6.5-inch infotainment system. Instead, even the entry-level Trend now has a tablet-style eight-inch SYNC 2.5 screen that looks a little jarring in the way it juts out from the top of the dashboard, almost like an afterthought. Fortunately, it turns out to be a pleasure to use. It’ll recognise pinch-and-swipe gestures and also has the advantage of considerably reducing button count – the myriad identical small buttons in the previous model weren’t the easiest to use. The dedicated button to black the display out at night is a thoughtful touch too. one that we wish was fitted more widely. If Ford had chosen to fit its latest SYNC 4 system in the facelifted car, the Fiesta would be pretty near the top of the class for tech. Instead, even SYNC 3 is now an optional extra.

Equipment

The main trim level line-up consists of Trend, Titanium, the ST-Line with its sporty styling, and an SUV-style Fiesta Active and performance hot-hatch Fiesta ST also available and reviewed separately. The previous, rather starkly equipped entry-level Style is gone, and so is the smaller Ford KA+ city car.

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All Fiestas are pretty comprehensively equipped, however, with air-conditioning, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Quickclear heated windscreen, hill-start assistance, auto headlights, alloy wheels, Ford’s MyKey driver profile settings, remote-control central locking and Bluetooth standard across the range. In June 2020, the FordPass Connect function was also made standard, giving online connectivity and extra features accessed via a smartphone app, but this is now an optional extra when SYNC2.5 is upgraded to SYNC3.

Cruise control and LED headlights were amongst the standard features added in the 2022 facelift, although it’s a little curious that alloy wheels have been replaced with old-fashioned steel wheels with plastic covers on Trend and Titanium.

Titanium has a very well-rounded specification and is a big seller with private buyers. Chrome trim and rear privacy glass establish its look, while auto-dipping headlights, rain-sensing wipers and power-folding mirrors add convenience. Keyless start and rear parking sensors do the same. 

As well as rugged SUV-style exterior trim, Active models get unique roof bars and a suspension system tailored to rougher road surfaces as well as 17-inch alloy wheels.

This leaves the ST-Line, which gets a different set of 17-inch alloy wheels, a distinctive body kit and sports suspension to appeal to youthful buyers. Supportive sports-style front seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel add a racy theme.

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The Titanium X, ST-Line X and Active X models come with added technology and features that were available on the discontinued Vignale option, while each retaining their unique characteristics. They bring features such as LED rear lights, more sophisticated climate control, keyless entry, a rear-view camera, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. ‘X’ models also get partial Sensico (Ford’s leather-like material) on the interior trim.

Options

Notable options are adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, as well as a door-edge protection system that deploys a flap when you open the doors to prevent them damaging neighbouring cars.

There’s a winter pack, consisting of heated front seats and steering wheel, which can be ordered on non-’X’ models (which come with it as standard). A worthwhile option – and one that really ought to be standard – is the driver assistance pack. This bundles autonomous emergency braking with adaptive cruise control and a distance warning system.

Every version except Trend can be specified with the B&O PLAY stereo. It includes a total of 10 speakers, one being a boot-mounted subwoofer and another being a front central mid-range speaker for crisp voice reproduction. With 675 watts of total amplifier power, this setup should ensure your favourite music overcomes any road noise.

From late 2023 SYNC3 with navigation and FordPass connectivity moved to the options list, which can only be seen as a backwards step when rivals offer increasingly lavish kit. The upgrade costs around £500, increasing to £1,000 with the addition of a 12.3-inch digital instrument display.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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