Many years ago, and many careers ago, I often used to zip to and from work in a Ford Fiesta, and have fond memories of that little car. The best thing about it was the motor, because while the luxuries in the Fiestas of those days were basically limited to a radio/tape deck, that car was no slouch on a nice bit of country road.
With the newest model of Fiesta, I expected something similar, basic, but nippy. I was wrong on the first part, but spot on with the second expectation. From the moment you get into this car and grip the small sports steering wheel in your hands, it feels quick. But even before you start the engine, nowadays Ford gives you plenty of gadgets you need to get familiar with.
The steering wheel, with nice cross stitching and a chunky feel, is also a hub for some of the most important controls on the car, like the audio and telephone (both hook up via Bluetooth) buttons, the cruise control, and the display options for the main dashboard. On the back of the steering wheel are the flappy paddle gear selectors, in case you want more control than the standard automatic gives you.
The kit on this car isn’t limited to that though. Sitting above the central part of the dash, above the air conditioning and heating controls, is a touch screen control centre. From here you can access all kinds of different functions and vehicle information. The only thing that might be missing is the Angry Birds app, but that might be something of a distraction while driving…
So, familiarised with all the knobs and buttons, bells and whistles, it’s time to start the engine, slip it into drive, and see what it’s like on the road.
Stops and Starts
This Ford Fiesta is an eager little car, it doesn’t take much coaxing from the right boot to get it zipping along the road, bringing back those fond memories of oh so many years ago. No matter what speed you’re starting from, on an open road the pick-up is immediate and impressive. On top of that the handling is solid too – you can corner with confidence, this thing has great grip.
Then, inevitably, you reach town and that means one thing in Kyiv – traffic. Here we now come to the one feature on this car that I wasn’t totally enamoured with – the auto stop-start feature. This isn’t specific to Ford, in fact it’s becoming common on lots of cars, but this was my first experience driving with it. Basically, if you’re sitting at a traffic light, the engine cuts out, and then as soon as you’re ready to move off again the motor instantly kicks in. This should be a no-brainer: it saves fuel, therefore you save money, and of course we should all do anything we can to help #CurbClimateChange, but, I found it strange. And then I discovered there’s a button to turn it off! Ford have thought of everything!
As I get more used to the car and the controls, I start to notice how refined the interior and the display are. The graphics on the touch screen display are well thought out and impressive; every change of volume on the music system or the climate control pops up on screen to let you know where you’re at in volume or temperature level; pull into a car park and you’ll see how the subtle interior lighting design makes the cockpit a warm and comfortable place.
My weekend test-drive complete, it’s time to drop the car off. All I have to do is hand back the keys and the “tech passport” to the dealer, and as I do so I notice something striking. The engine that has propelled me around Kyiv for the last couple of days is just a one litre, and that is maybe the most impressive thing of all about this outstanding family vehicle.
Ford Fiesta 1.0 L EcoBoost
Stats for the Boys
- 3 cylinder
- 0 L
- 197 horsepower
- Torque vectoring control
Pros for the Girls
- Fabulous sculpted design + 10 colours to choose from
- Advanced communications and entertainment technology
- AdvanceTrac = helps maintain breaking control under severe weather conditions.
There are options for voice recognition system, ambient lighting to match your mood, and Apple CarPlay or Google Music which means you can synch your phone to your Ford. Navigation systems will also get you where you need to go, along with giving you reports on the weather once you get there. It will even sneak in the latest sports score if your wife won’t let you listen to the game (though that’s not a problem in my case!). And then there’s the push-start…