Fantastic fun. Refined ride. Good quality interior. Safe. Affordable.
The Ford Fiesta has for over 10 years been the BEST super mini on the market. The Volkswagen Polo might be a higher quality vehicle and the Vauxhall Corsa might have more special editions, but neither can match the Fiesta's sporty nature and big car appeal. Younger drivers will buy the 3dr version but in truth the 5dr version is where it's at, offering extra room for rear occupants and a better all round family car. For young mums in particular, I have a hunch that the Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec is the ultimate car.
The Ford Fiesta has seen a face lift for 2013, but even 2012 and 2011 models look the part. The facelift includes a revised front end and a new range of alloy wheels. It certainly looks more modern than the Vauxhall Corsa, but for looks, I personally prefer the VW Polo. The new head lights on the 2013 Fiesta are the biggest change from the prior model; they are very reminiscent of an Aston Martin's, which is of course a good thing, and the new front grill is classier too. There is only one colour option available which costs no extra money, Race Red, but most Fiesta's on the road are either Frozen White (£250) or Nautical Blue (£495). I would personally save the money and go for red, which looks classy and it won't show up scratches much either. The Fiesta is a very feminine car, but if you want a sportier looking machine, Zetec S and ST trims will suit you well for a far higher price tag.
Powered by a 1.25-litre petrol engine which develops 82 bhp and 84 lb /ft of torque, the Fiesta is never fast hitting 60 mph in 13.3 seconds and a top speed of just 104 mph. These figures betray the cars sporty nature though, and around town, the Fiesta feels very nippy with a responsive throttle and a nice burble from the engine. The ride quality of the Fiesta is without a doubt its stand out feature as it is firm when it needs to be (around corners) but soft when you want it most (over potholes). It's safe to say that in the Fiesta you won't wake your child up over a rough road. On the motorway the Fiesta is refined; the 5-speed manual gearbox is slick with a long 5th gear, enabling easy cruising. There isn't much power at the top end but then again you wouldn't expect it from such a small capacity engine. You're best sticking around town with the Fiesta, where it feels most at home due to its very light 1045 kg kerb weight. Safety in the Fiesta is top rate and it has a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, with 91% adult occupant safety, 86% child occupant safety and 65% pedestrian safety.
The Ford Fiesta has never been known for its interior quality and following on that trend inside it's all very scratchy-hard-plastic. The driving position is good and the seats are very comfortable for both driver and passengers but the center console and door panels are a little disappointing to the touch. They follow the exact same design as the pre-facelift Fiesta meaning you get a Starship Enterprise style set-up. The steering wheel is the biggest disappointment in the interior, though, which frankly looks very dated, although the dials are nice with a white and blue backlight for easy reading. Around the back you'll find a well sized boot with a capacity of 290-litres and if you fold the seats flat this expands to 974-litres (or, more than enough room for a monthly shop or two!). Overall you'll be comfortable in the Ford Fiesta but you won't be awed by its quality.
The whole Fiesta range is economical so no matter which model you choose you won't be filling up at the pumps all that often. My pick of the engine range, the 1.25-litre petrol, will return 52.3 mpg combined and around town you'll get mid 40's. This is extremely good and a major selling point to Ford's cheapest engine set up. If you want a little bit more power and can afford a better engine, the 1.0 EcoBoost with 100 bhp will return a VERY impressive 65.7 mpg combined.
Trim and equipment
Zetec trim is my pick of the Fiesta line up. As standard you get air conditioning, heated electric mirrors, heated windscreen, MP3 / iPod connectivity, CD player, alloy wheels and fog lights. Optional extras include metallic paint (£495), sat nav (£700), Bluetooth (£200), Alarm (£100), and secure spare wheel (£95). The only optional extra that will really help with resale value is satellite navigation but at £700, it's going to bump up the monthly finance payments slightly. Zetec S trim is the next step up and this gets you a flashier body kit, so you don't look like a single mum when you're pulling the lads ;).
If you are on the lookout for a car that is cheap to buy, cheap to run and cheap to insure, little can beat the Ford Fiesta 1.25 5dr in Zetec trim. It offers all of the equipment you'll ever need and it has a top class 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The Fiesta 5dr is ideal for a young mum or couple proving easy to drive and to live with, and it will hold its value well too so long as you keep it in good condition. The biggest competitor to the Ford Fiesta is the Vauxhall Corsa but this is not as good looking nor is it as easy to live with, although both cars have their qualities. A Volkswagen Polo may suit you better if you can afford the extra, although this is less fun. If you are a young mum in the market for a reasonably priced car, I'd recommend the 1.25 Zetec Fiesta all day long.