Small car, tiny engine, huge impact - new Ford Fiesta EcoBoost.
Forget preconceptions; the 1.0-litre Fiesta is the best model in the range.
Good points: great engine, Fiesta good to drive as ever.
Not so good: not as economical as Ford makes it out to be.
Test car details:
Model tested: Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost
Pricing: €18,230 (Fiesta range starts at €15,550)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Kia Rio, SEAT Ibiza, Toyota Yaris
CO2 emissions: 99g/km (Band A2, €180 per annum)
Combined economy: 65.7mpg (4.3 litres/100km)
Top speed: 180km/h
0-100km/h: 11.2 seconds
Power: 100hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 169Nm at 1,400- 4,000rpm
It should be no surprise that Ford's new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is a perfect match for the lithe Fiesta hatchback; after all, the tiny unit does good service in the Focus. And from the off it makes the Fiesta an even more appealing car than it was, thanks to willing low-down performance, a charismatic off-beat thrum from under the bonnet and sharp dynamics.
The Fiesta has always been blessed with one of the best chassis in the small car segment, combining good body control with decent bump absorption, feelsome steering and nimbleness that makes the most mundane of journeys a pleasure. None of that has changed in the new-look model, though the presence of the willing EcoBoost engine under the bonnet enhances the experience no end. Of course, you'd expect that of the 100hp version we drove. Ford also offers a 65hp 1.0 EcoBoost engine, which does without a turbocharger.
From the rear of the Fiesta you'll be hard-pushed to spot the 2013 model, as there are only slightly restyled lights to give the game away, but the front is all-new, featuring a bold, chromed grille and slender lights. They work particularly well with one of the new paint colours.
Inside, the Fiesta is little changed either. There are plenty of places for your bits and pieces in the cabin, including a decently sized glovebox, though that's the only closed area and the cupholders are a bit rubbish. The interior is well made and durable and the switchgear tactile enough. Depending on specification, SYNC, Ford's Bluetooth-based connectivity suite, may be fitted. There are standard, Zetec and Titanium options. All feature one-touch electric front windows, USB and aux-in connectivity, stability control, central locking and seven airbags.
The Zetec model tested adds 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, MyKey, a leather trimmed steering wheel with remote audio controls, a trip computer and body coloured door handles and mirrors. Titanium grade additionally features a different style of alloy wheels, more chrome detailing, LED daytime running lights, air conditioning, nicer interior trim, an alarm and a heated windscreen.
Now, it's not all glory for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. We averaged 8.6 litres/100km (32.8mpg), though in fairness that was all in town with plenty of use of the air conditioning. Just be aware that, with the big-engine performance comes bigger engine consumption.
Nonetheless, so long as you're not plying the motorway network too frequently that shouldn't be too much of an issue. The Fiesta EcoBoost is a very likeable car, one that's really enjoyable to drive and now better looking than ever.
Kia Rio: under the radar, perhaps, but a great all-rounder with a cracking warranty.
SEAT Ibiza: one of the few cars of this size that's on a par with the Fiesta in terms of driving appeal.
Toyota Yaris: not our favourite small car, but still very popular.