Fab Fiesta’s magical mystery tour

Ford should seriously consider renaming their Fiesta the Ford Feisty.

For an economical little engine, it sure packs a punch. Or maybe it should be the Ford Enigma – it leaves more questions than answers! Not since Cadbury mysteriously got the caramel into caramello, has there been such a puzzle; but this mystery about how so much power can come out of a frugal little motor.

The latest Fiesta range rolls out in Trend, Sport and ST versions.

Bay Driver took the Sport auto for a spin this week, with the 1L motor that won the International Engine of the year in 2012 and 2013. It is appropriately coloured Chilli Orange. It sure was hot!

Any misconceptions about the Fiesta being a nana’s shopping basket were firmly blown out the back hatch as we unleashed this startling little beast onto Hewletts Rd and out to the highway. Although I hasten to add that the Fiesta is perfectly well-mannered and could easily cruise along in the role of sedate shopping cart if so desired.

However, even the most conservative nana would be reluctant to rein back the willing little horses under the hood, once experienced. Coupled with very reassuring handling characteristics, the Fiesta package inspires positive and confident driving, in any traffic and any conditions.

Tie down the croquet mallet, ma, you’re gonna to feel the rush!

“Fuelled by confidence” is a line from the brochure that really does sum up the Feisty.

Science and cunning
Equally, the sporty handling and a ‘spring in its stride’ will be appealing to the younger set, looking for a snappy performer with firm, sporty ride, great handling and responsive power on demand.  (And of course, those all-important “connections” to the etherworld, without which the current generation would grind to a halt).

How Ford has managed this amazing paradox of economy and power, from a 1000cc, three-cylinder engine is beyond me. I guess that’s why they make cars and we just talk about them.  

Last time I drove a three-cylinder was an ancient Charade of 900cc that really shouldn’t have been let out alone. Dad’s rotary hoe had more torque, and probably handled better. It was a positive menace on the highway and the motor should have been reserved for a motorbike or a large lawnmower.

However, the feisty Fiesta’s Ecoboost is a far cry from those dim days; and it shows just how far science and cunning has come in a couple of short decades.

Ford has taken a step closer again towards that holy grail of miserly economy motoring, twinned with performance when you need it. (The improved fuel economy means reduced emissions, too, if you stress about homeless polar bears and keeping beardo weirdos in high paid jobs saving the planet).

The innovation doesn’t stop there. Hands-free technology means not only is the car accurately controlled – your work requirements, social life and entertainment are also kept in check. Everything from music to phone calls are under voice command, while hands and eyes are focussed on the road.

So you can call Greenpeace by just breathing out some CO2, keeping your eyes watching for endangered little spotty penguins, while zipping along in economical yet highly-responsive mode.

Safety technologies are taking leaps and bounds, and Ford calls it the Intelligent Protection System – airbags and side impact airbags in the front, side curtain airbags front and rear, collapsible steering column and driver pedals, dynamic stability control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist.

The list goes on with impact-absorbing shell, rigid safety cell and crumple zones. It all adds up to a five star ANCAP rating.

Street appeal
It’s a sexy package, too. For a hatchback with a trendy almost wedge-like shape, it has surprisingly excellent visibility from the inside. The new grille is part of the latest Ford family DNA that’s becoming familiar on virtually all new models. The striking looks on the outside are matched by its capability on the street.

On the road
Out on the road, we were quickly impressed with the power on tap, combined with smooth and precise shifting through the six-stage automatic. Handling was extremely precise. I’ve always respected Fords for their rail-like cornering; and first impressions in the Fiesta took me back to the days of the Lasers, which I believe were streets ahead in road feel and precision handling. That same thrill of exacting driving experience would be reason enough to like this feisty Sport.

Everything felt right, driving the Fiesta. The ride was firm and sporty. The seats with partial leather inserts wrapped and hugged while offering support; leaving the steering wheel for just that. The Ecoboost was free and easy with the power, delivered light and smooth with almost unperceivable shifts between the six gears. Out Welcome Bay Rd and into the foothills, the Fiesta was easily urged along country roads, equally at home on the twisty byways, as the broad highways.

Around town, the Fiesta behaved impeccably as a small town car. Parking was a doddle. At the lights, hill park start assist prevents rolling back while on a slope.

Into the shopping centre and the Fiesta was neat to park. The front door access is wide and easy for those who have mobility restrictions. There appears to be no sacrifice for the back seat either, with ample room in a truly spacious four-door car.

We came away from Ultimate Motor Group genuinely impressed with the Fiesta. And at the same time still a little mystified about that pocket rocket under the bonnet. Bearing in mind this model is the 1L. There’s also 1.5L and the stunning ST with a 1.6L engine; if you really want to endanger some species.

Contact: Ultimate Motor Group – Ford. Phone 07 579 0180


Ford Fiesta Sport

Engine: 1.0 litre EcoboostTM GTDi (Gasoline Turbo injection)
Power: 92kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 170Nm @ 1400-1450rpn
Safety: 5 Star ANCAP safety rating
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 6 speed powershift


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