Car Review: Ford - Fiesta  Series 02 (4 stars)

Recommended. Revised and refreshed - the Fiesta is as great to drive as ever, but now it's quite nice to spend time in, even if it is a touch noisy.

This Fiesta has always been one of the best handling superminis, with a package of mid-term revisions adding a welcome dose of quality to the mix.

As always it's a very sensible choice. Although no longer one of the largest cars in its spatially expanding segment, the Fiesta's tall proportions still give it plenty of cabin space and a reasonably sized boot. Colourful trim now lifts the ambiance effectively, while instruments and switchgear have a quality feel to them that was previously lacking. The driving position is still uncomfortable over longer journeys, though, thanks to a tight footwell and the lack of a clutch foot rest.

Driving dynamics are exemplary thanks to well-weighted controls, accurate steering and nippy responses - both in town and in the country. The only real complaint is with the brake pedal's sometimes rubbery responses. It cruises on motorways effectively, too - although with lots of road noise entering the cabin at speed.

Engine choice feels limited next to the more advanced units of some rivals. The basic petrol engine revs happily but can only deliver modest performance, while the more powerful 1.4 sounds coarse when worked hard - and the 1.6 that propels the supposedly "warm" Zetec-S can deliver barely tepid levels of performance. The TDCI diesels are loud but effective, although the basic 1.4 litre unit lacks much in the way of out-of-town urge - we'd recommend digging deeper for the brawnier 1.6 litre version. The range topping ST is rapid, but looks expensive compared to faster rivals.

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Ford Fiesta Series 02 StatisticsCar Reviews

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