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

Used car deals
Owners Rating

2.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£16,385 - £26,780

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, this is perhaps unsurprising. After all, Ford wouldn't want anything too radical sending disillusioned buyers into the arms of rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo.

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.

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.

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 94bhp, while the 123bhp engine goes without the hybrid assistance when specced with the new seven-speed automatic gearbox. The entry-level Fiesta Trend model now uses the 94bhp version of the 1.0-litre instead of 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.

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.

Next Steps

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

Most Popular

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?
2020 Ford Puma - front tracking
Ford Focus hatchback
10 Nov 2020

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

Refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery breaks cover
Land Rover Discovery
10 Nov 2020

Refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery breaks cover

What is ESP on a car?
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

What is ESP on a car?

More on Fiesta

2019 Ford Puma SUV teased ahead of reveal
2019 Ford Puma - render
Ford Fiesta hatchback
19 Jun 2019

2019 Ford Puma SUV teased ahead of reveal

The all-new Puma SUV will be officially unveiled on 26 June
Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition limited to 600 UK drivers
Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition front 3/4 static
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
10 Apr 2019

Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition limited to 600 UK drivers

A very orange Fiesta ST Performance Edition with handling upgrades will arrive in June
Used Ford Fiesta buying guide: 2002-08 (Mk6); 2008-13 (Mk7)
Ford Fiesta
6 Feb 2019

Used Ford Fiesta buying guide: 2002-08 (Mk6); 2008-13 (Mk7)

The Ford Fiesta has been a top-selling model for decades, so it’s easy to get hold of this supermini
Ford Fiesta vs hatchback rivals
Ford Fiesta
22 Jan 2019

Ford Fiesta vs hatchback rivals

Britain’s best-selling car is back and even better. How does the Ford Fiesta compare to the VW Polo, SEAT Ibiza and others?
All-new Ford Focus revealed
Ford Fiesta hatchback
11 Apr 2018

All-new Ford Focus revealed

Bold design, new engines and aggressive pricing for Ford’s family hatchback
Ford Fiesta Active available to order now
Ford Fiesta hatchback
19 Mar 2018

Ford Fiesta Active available to order now

Rough-and-tumble crossover joins new Fiesta range
New 2018 Ford Fiesta ST has 197bhp and track mode
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
12 Mar 2018

New 2018 Ford Fiesta ST has 197bhp and track mode

2018 Ford Fiesta ST has a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol with three cylinders and 197bhp
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback (2013-2017)
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
20 Nov 2017

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback (2013-2017)

"The Ford Fiesta ST has become renowned as one the best hot hatchbacks ever. It ticks all the boxes, being as practical and affordable as it is fast a…
Mitsubishi supermini set to rival Ford Fiesta
Mitsubishi Mirage
8 Nov 2017

Mitsubishi supermini set to rival Ford Fiesta

Mitsubishi is set to capitalise on its Renault-Nissan alliance with a Clio-based supermini
Handbags, hairdryers and the iPhone X: cars vs everyday objects
Audi A1
7 Nov 2017

Handbags, hairdryers and the iPhone X: cars vs everyday objects

Buying a car is expensive, but just how costly, and what else could you get instead?
Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa
Ford Fiesta hatchback
12 Sep 2017

Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa

The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best-ever selling car. But can it better the Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo? Find out in our triple test
New Kia Picanto X-Line launches with SUV cues
Kia Picanto hatchback
5 Sep 2017

New Kia Picanto X-Line launches with SUV cues

Kia Picanto city car gets crossover treatment with X-Line mods; 15mm higher, SUV-inspired bumpers and silver skid plates
Should I buy a new or nearly new Ford Fiesta?
Ford Fiesta hatchback
29 Aug 2017

Should I buy a new or nearly new Ford Fiesta?

The latest Ford Fiesta is a great car, but could it pay to buy nearly new?
Ford Fiesta: which one is right for you?
Ford Fiesta hatchback
25 Jul 2017

Ford Fiesta: which one is right for you?

We compare the latest Fiesta with its predecessor to help you decide
Ford Fiesta hatchback (2008-2017)
Ford Fiesta hatchback
20 Mar 2017

Ford Fiesta hatchback (2008-2017)

“The Ford Fiesta has been a huge hit thanks to its excellent handling, economy and affordability. With an all-new version arriving soon, be quick if y…
The biggest car news of 2016
Jaguar F-Pace SUV
28 Dec 2016

The biggest car news of 2016

New cars, new taxes: here are the most popular stories you read in 2016
Five-door, £9K Ford Ka+ full details
Ford Ka hatchback
8 Jun 2016

Five-door, £9K Ford Ka+ full details

Low-cost and high practicality for this Fiesta-based Ka
More power for Ford Fiesta ST200
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback
2 Jun 2016

More power for Ford Fiesta ST200

Faster, harder hot hatch will make Goodwood debut
Top 10: Britain’s slowest cars
Renault Twizy hatchback
21 Mar 2016

Top 10: Britain’s slowest cars

If you thought the days of pedestrian acceleration times were over, think again. Here’s our list of the 10 slowest cars available today.
Top 10 most popular car reviews of 2015
Nissan Qashqai SUV
28 Dec 2015

Top 10 most popular car reviews of 2015

We take a look at the year's most-read reviews on Carbuyer.co.uk
UK new car sales bounce back in November
Audi A3 Sportback hatchback
4 Dec 2015

UK new car sales bounce back in November

New car registrations return to growth in November after October saw the first decline in nearly four years.
Watchdog: Ford gets in gear after auto clutch dispute
Ford Fiesta hatchback
6 Oct 2015

Watchdog: Ford gets in gear after auto clutch dispute

Dealer twice failed to spot auto box judder, but technician test drive proves owner right
Watchdog: New Fiesta crippled by Bluetooth battery drain
Ford Fiesta hatchback
18 Aug 2015

Watchdog: New Fiesta crippled by Bluetooth battery drain

Mystery starting problem on 64-reg Fiesta finally diagnosed, but Ford gets repair wrong