Catch it while you can, the Ford Fiesta ST-Line 2016 Review

In Car Reviews, Ford by Neil Lyndon

Our neighbour is a highly successful businessman, a self-made entrepreneur who has worked like a man possessed to build his own company.

 
A true story.
 
For his 50th birthday, he gave himself the present of the Porsche he had always longed to own – a beautiful black Cayman S, with all the trimmings.

This fully deserved treat filled him with delight for – oh, at most two weeks. Things went wrong from the start. Little niggles sent the car back and forth to the dealers as frequently as the bride’s nightie is reputed to go up and down on nuptial night. Every fault drove this OCD-driven perfectionist frantic. The last straw broke the camel’s back when they wanted to charge him £1300 for brake repairs which fell outside the warranty because, they said, he hadn’t covered sufficient miles to keep the brakes in good fettle. “If I pay £50,000 for car,” roared the man who knows the value of every penny, “I’ll drive it as much or as little as I choose.”

He jacked it in, took the appalling loss of money on the chin and walked away. Guess what he bought then?

A Ford Fiesta. And guess what he found?

He loved it, without reservation. He said with total conviction that it was almost as much fun to drive as the Cayman, superbly built, totally reliable and unimpeachable value for money. “To hell with adolescent dreams,” he said. “Give me a car I can count on every time.”

That story came back to my mind last week when we borrowed a Fiesta ST-Line 1.0 EcoBoost. Every member of our family loved it. I had to prise the keys out of my wife’s hand to get the chance to take it on a test drive because she so enjoyed driving it to work. Our younger daughter – who has developed an educated awareness of car – said it was the best small car we’d had all year. My less than limber aged mother-in-law found it the perfect height for getting in and out when I took her to the supermarket.

And the best thing is – this was the outgoing Fiesta, the one that is being retired to make way for the New Model that came out this summer. What we had on our drive last week may, therefore, be the best bargain going among new cars on the dealers’ forecourts today.

  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 2
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 9
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 5
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 8
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 4
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 11
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 3
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 6
  • Neil Lyndon drives the last of the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST-Line 10

A canny old Ford dealer once told me that the moment to buy a Ford was when a new model was coming onstream. At that moment, he said, all the glitches and wrinkles in the car’s development had been ironed out and, at the same time, the company would have loaded up the retiring model with every extra to make it more appealing and wring out the last few sales they could get.

All of that wisdom holds true for the Fiesta we borrowed.

What a cracking little car! That 140 bhp three-cylinder, one-litre engine is a treasure. The distinct growl of menace it generates around 6000 rpm is hilarious: like a little squirt squaring up and saying “All right: it you want a fight, put your fists up!”. Fond as I am of the new generation of three-pot engines (such as those in the Up! and Aygo), it has to be admitted that their buzzy rasp can become wearisome. The note from the Fiesta’s tiny iron block with its aluminium cylinder-head never gets on your wrong side: it stays sweet as a nut – with startling supplies of torque – at all revs. The 62.8 mpg Ford claim for average fuel consumption ought, in theory, to be realisable with such a compact engine; so I guess the 43.2 mpg we recorded has to be attributed at least in part to the exuberant enthusiasm with which I was driving home from the school run.

All the ST-Line knickknacks had been loaded into this little car, including full body styling kit with rear diffuser, rear roof and lip spoilers, black honeycomb grille and dark surrounds for the foglights. Sports suspension lowers ride height by 10mm while 17in eight-spoke alloys lift the sense that this is no bog-standard Fiesta – a feeling complemented by red-stitched sports seats, leather steering wheel, aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates.

Naturally, Ford threw all that kit into the mix in an effort to extract the highest possible return from the Fiesta at the end of its run, which explains why they were asking a gob-smacking £20,000+ when this car first went on sale last year. Now, however – with the new Fiesta fully on stream – any dealer who still has one hanging around on his inventory might tear your hand off to get a fraction of that sum.

Bargain time, ladies and gentlemen. Ask my neighbour.



Car reviewed: Fiesta ST-Line 1.0-litre EcoBoost 5-Speed Manual – Base Price On the road £17,585 with options £20,730 0-60mph 9 secs Top speed 125mph Fuel Economy combined 62.8mpg CO2 emissions 104g/km Engine 999cc 3-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost EU6 Max Power [email protected]000 rpm Torque [email protected] Transmission 5-Speed Manual


  • Connector.Connector.

    Loveable small hatchback

  • Connector.Connector.

    Possibly a wise choice

  • Connector.Connector.

    A cracking little car

  • Connector.Connector.

    Economy can suffer when driven hard

Watch our video of the All-New Ford Fiesta ST-Line also available now

About the author
Neil Lyndon

Neil Lyndon

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Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK's national stage for 40 years, writing for every "quality" newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 - the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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