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By 5 April 2013 | Categories: news

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Ford’s aggressive new Fiesta is tasked with enticing buyers away from more conservative rivals such as VW’s Polo (the second best selling passenger car during March). Is it up to the task, or does a drive in the Fiesta lead to a deep siesta?   

A lot of vehicle manufacturers choose to adopt conservative designs that will appeal to the broadest section of car buyers, and ultimately result in a somewhat bland looking end-product.
Ford’s designers was a bit more bold, giving the new Fiesta a sportier, more distinctive appearance to help it stand out from the current crop of b-segment hatch rivals, including the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20.
From the outside, the exterior changes are highlighted by a new front, dominated by a large trapezoidal grille. This grille design is the new family face of Ford and consequently makes the Fiesta look like a smaller Focus in your rearview mirror.
Under the American bonnet
The Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost model sits atop of the Fiesta range, which is a little strange given its mini-me, one litre three cylinder turbocharged engine. Diminutive it may be, but this little gem of a powerplant effortlessly churns out a highly respectable 92 kW at 6000 RPM and 170 Nm of torque between 1400 and 4500 RPM.
This allows the hatchback to bring up 100 km/h in 9.4 seconds (quicker than both the 1.6 litre TDCi and 1.4 petrol Fiesta variants), before running out of steam at around 196 km/h. As impressive as the power output of the powerplant is the surprisingly glorious, bassy engine note emanating from under the bonnet every time you floor the pedal (or pleasure pedal as we dubbed it).
The little engine that could punches above its weightclass and sounds awesome.
Steering, ride and fuel usage
Steering was pinpoint accurate, and really light at slow speeds, which made tricky mall parking jobs an almost mindless affair.  On the highway the steering feel was slightly firmer (more weighty), making us feel more assured whilst cruising at 120 km/h. Shifting the five speed manual was fluid and accurate, whilst the ride quality was quite comfortable.    
In terms of fuel usage, Ford provides a claimed usage figure of 4.3 litres of petrol per 100 km on a combined cycle (highway and town) route, but we only managed to get around eight litres per 100 km in our limited review period.
The lowest fuel usage was obtained during highway driving at which time the average usage was around 6.8 litres per 100 km. Our affinity for the exhaust note meant that within city limits our right foot frequently found its way to the floor, pushing the average usage up but still broadening our smiles though every single time.
No fence sitters when it comes to design
On the inside, we found the cabin layout to be comfortable, quite spacious and for the most part well laid out, but we are still put off by the fussy dashboard and its conglomeration of switches and dials.
You rarely use those buttons thanks to Ford’s capable in-vehicle infotainment system dubbed Sync and its useful voice functionality. When connected via Bluetooth with your smartphone, Sync enables drivers to perform functions such as streaming music from your mobile device or making calls by using only their voice and steering mounted buttons. It is incredibly easy to use and plays nice with all the major smartphone brands and mobile operating systems.  
The cabin is spacious and comfortable, but the Blue Oval needs to rethink that button-loving dash. 
To the point
Ford’s Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Trend might sport a mini engine, but slipping into the driver seat will require having to fork out plenty of cash to cover its maxi R211 200 pricetag.
The Ecoboost most definitely manages to punch well above its weight-class in terms of its performance, so much so that it has us drooling over the prospect that is the forthcoming Fiesta ST. It might not net you the stateliest ride in this car class, as that honour still belongs to the VW Polo, but it does make for a much sportier way to commute to work everyday.
As with all Fiesta models, this price includes a fully comprehensive four year or 120 000 km warranty; four year or 60 000 km service plan; three years worth of roadside assistance; as well as a five year corrosion warranty. Service intervals are staggered at 20 000 km intervals.

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