One of the few positive things I could say about owning a RenaultSport Clio was it never left me short of things to write about.
From the way it demolished a corner to the way it demolished a gearbox, every journey was an anecdote. Owning the Clio was exciting in the same way that owning a live hand grenade would be exciting. By this yardstick, the Fiesta simply cannot compare. It is simply too smoothly competent to inspire easy prose. Go for a drive however and the Ford proves to be a capable story teller in its own right.
Like any good writer, the Fiesta feeds through just enough information to keep things interesting. Unnecessary details are written out; speed humps and potholes have their edges rounded off. Rolling refinement is good, with only the worst concrete surfaces transmitting through to the cabin. Wind noise is well suppressed. Indeed, the Fiesta will easily mix it with the ton up boys on the motorway, the 1-litre three pot an entertaining companion at full chat.
Ah yes, what a character the tiny Ecoboost is. Clattering away like an old CVH on the outside, in the cabin the three pot positively warbles. Fords have always favoured tractability over economy and true to form, an indicated 35.4 mpg is disappointing. Easing away from the lights instead of constantly exploiting all that low down turbo boost would likely improve matters (as if that were at all likely in my care).
Complaining about the accommodation in a small car is churlish. If hauling people or stuff is a requirement, Ford will gladly sell you a long wheel base Transit. Surely enough, two big adults up front will find the Fiesta tight elbow-wise, if not in terms of legroom. Even so, sufficient room remains in the rear for sub-teenagers and their enormous seats. The smallish boot will struggle to accommodate a child’s interminable things, especially if a modern pushchair is thrown in. One wonders how young mothers used to get around in their mark 1 Fiestas? Quite tolerably, if the alternative was taking the bus.
Nonetheless, a Honda is more adept at finding space where there is none. Incidental stowage is another sketchy detail. While there are two cupholders up front (with mood lighting, no less), the rear has none. A mobile phone docked into the USB socket rolls around the cabin for the lack of a birth. At least the glove box has capacity for a couple of copies of Moby Dick; a Seat Ibiza I once had use of would not even swallow its own manual.
That Syncing Feeling
Historically, reviewers have zeroed in on the Fiesta’s Sync interface, and it is easy to understand why. Whilst the Microsoft designed system is speedy, navigating it is not. We have touched before on the dashboard’s many, many buttons; traversing the hierarchy of menus is achieved via a four way directional pad and four unlabelled buttons granting context sensitive options. It would be better to group the screen and buttons together, plus colour code the four context option buttons with the red one always being “back”, as per game controllers. The numerical keypad is entirely redundant.
As it stands, the distance between the welter of interface buttons and a small screen set far away introduces an uncomfortable dissonance that never fades. In short, the system is crying out for a touch screen set much closer to the driver. And speaking of crying out, Sync’s voice command function is little help. Thankfully, holding the voice button slightly longer launches Siri on a paired iPhone, leaving Sync performing as the Bluetooth phone preparation you actually need it to be.
Winding It Up
Six months and nearly 4000 miles into a lease, and despite a daily gauntlet of speed humps and potholes, the Fiesta is yet to manifest any creaks or rattles. Nothing has fallen off; no warning lights have come on; the engine has not used a drop of oil. All very welcome from an ownership perspective, but not so good for a wannabe hack requiring grist for the mill.
The plain truth is that my impressions have altered not a whit from my initial test. On the road, the Ford continues to delight. That it has also proven turn key reliable thus far is a Fiesta bonus.
Ford Fiesta Red Edition 1.0
Time on test: 6 months