“How good is it possible for cars to become?” That question stirred at the back of my mind while driving the new 2018 Ford Fiesta ST-Line.
Neil Lyndon hits the road in the sporty All New 2018 Fiesta ST-Line 1.5 TDCI 120PS 5-Door
For build quality, driving dynamics, comfort and equipment, it would genuinely be hard to conceive what any manufacturer could do to make a better mass-produced car than this one. Nobody driving a Fiesta 20 years ago could ever have dreamt that the same name could be applied to a car this good. Even if you had been driving a BMW 20 years ago, you couldn’t have imagined a small car with these depths of refinement and engineering excellence.
At £24245 all-in, it is very far from being a bargain-basement supermini; and, judged as a family car, it does have some shortcomings. Leg and shoulder room in the rear seats is a touch confined for growing kids. It may be more than adequate for titches; but the parents of teenagers with racehorse appetites are likely to hear squeaks of complaint from the back.
Similarly, boot space under the hatch is a fraction on the mingy side compared with some others in this class. A family going on holiday in this car would need to pack light.
If, however, this Fiesta were to be a second car for occasional family use and school runs - or a car for a childless couple – it could hardly be bettered. In fact, that price would begin to look cheap if the customer sensibly chose the Fiesta ST-Line over snootier brands with fancier prices who like to advertise themselves as “premium” – a word that is more accurately translated as “paying through the nose”.
An overall body kit, LED running lights, a special grille, a rear spoiler and 17” alloys make the ST-Line externally distinguishable from the standard Fiesta. Inside, sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering-wheel, touchscreen infotainment and keyless ignition are all included.
Our test car was on 18” alloys which made it stand out even more aggressively and cost £600, had a sliding sunroof (same again) and a Bang&Olufsen 10-speaker sound system that was so good our teenage daughters preferred it to the personal devices and headphones to which they are customarily wedded. That would set you back another £350.
If I were spending my own money, I would probably go for the 1.0-litre version of this car with its knockout 138 bhp petrol engine. However, our test car came with the 120 bhp 1.5 TDCi which is set up for an appealing combination performance and fuel economy. The six-speed box is a nest of long gears which means that it has to be worked constantly to maintain progress (no hardship, with such a precise and snicky shift action). Even so, Ford’s claimed 80.7 mpg for average consumption looked as if they were having a laugh compared with our consumption which was almost 25% higher. But it’s always hard to know – when making these comparisons – how far the figures are affected by an enthusiastic test-driving approach which calls for far more hard acceleration, cornering and braking than normal family life might permit.
Certainly, the car responded delightfully to those demands. That 270 Nm of torque gives it a nifty turn of oomph out of corners. Firmer suspension and shard, accurate steering make it a reassuringly controlled package on twisty roads, with fathomless agility. You’d have to be hooning like a loon to get this car out of shape.
The fact that I almost achieved that excess says nothing about my character but only proves my devotion to duty.
Car reviewed: All New 2018 Fiesta ST-Line 1.5 TDCI 120PS 5-Door - Base Price On the road £20,895 price with options as tested £24,245 0-62mph 9.0 secs Top speed 121mph Fuel Economy combined 80.7mpg CO2 emissions 89g/km Engine 1499cc TDCi 5-cylinder diesel EU6 Max Power 120PS@3600rpm Torque 270Nm@1750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
Refined and well-engineered
Fun to drive
Rear leg and shoulder room
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