Car Review: Ford - Fiesta  Series 08 (5 stars)

Best-in-class styling, handling and refinement - what more could you want?

Ford has been on a roll since around the mid-'90s, when the fourth generation Fiesta became a car that you wanted to drive a bit further than you needed to. The Focus and then the Mondeo came along - all cars that prioritised strong driving dynamics and good handling as an important part of owning a car. The fifth generation Fiesta was launched and, whilst it was a fine drive, it looked as interesting as a bowl of porridge.

Anonymous looks were exactly the wrong idea as BMW's new Mini arrived and individualism became the new fashion trend that everyone wanted to be a part of. Ford really needed Fiesta number six to be something that would stand out in the face of its premium retro challengers and the suddenly credible attacks from bargain Korean automobiles.

With some weight shed and an expensive haircut, suddenly the Fiesta is back on form - the 'kinetic' design language that Ford has oft trumpeted might sound like so much nonsense but it really does work here, giving the Fiesta an attractive, athletic stance. Inside there is a thoroughly modern look with high-class materials that lend the Fiesta the quality feel of something from several classes higher.

Ford has managed the unlikely job of making the Fiesta both sporting and luxurious at the same time. The ride is supple and comfortable yet firm and controlled, whilst at the same time the steering is agile and light. You can almost spec the car to magnify whichever side of the Fiesta's personality you particularly want to emphasise. The larger petrol engines are eager to rev and are fun to drive, whilst the diesel engines (and the 1.6 TDCI in particular) are torquey and hushed.

Whilst it may be in the supermini segment, the Fiesta feels much larger than it really has any right to. Four even quite sizeable adults can fit quite comfortably inside and share a pleasant journey together. The whole experience is of something grown-up and sophisticated but manageable around packed city streets and really quite fun.

The Fiesta was a potential car crash of opposing values - sporty versus luxurious, small versus big, quick versus slow, but all of these seem to have been happily married into a cohesive whole. Ford not only shows that the past 12 years have been a warm-up, but also proves that you can have your cake and eat it too.

Ford Fiesta Series 08 StatisticsCar Reviews

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