Ford Fiesta variants
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Used Ford Fiesta review – is it still the best first car on sale?

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Finance representative example (PCP)

Total cash price £11,999. Borrowing £9,599 with a £2,400 deposit at a representative APR of 12.9%.

49 monthly payments
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Annual mileage limit
6000 miles

The Fiesta has been a favourite for British drivers since 1976. It regularly occupies the top slot in UK car sales charts, with well over 40,000 examples typically finding homes every year. The appeal of Ford’s smallest model (now that the Ka is no more) lies in its mix of trendy looks, fun driving dynamics, affordable running costs and a servicing network spread far and wide. The new one has moved a little upmarket without forgetting what made it so great in the first place.

Ford Fiesta buying guide

What Ford Fiesta trim levels are there?

When it launched in 2018, the Fiesta range started with a no-frills Style model that effectively took the place of the discontinued Ford Ka. Next up was Zetec, but in more recent times these have both been superseded by the Trend trim level, which is now the entry-level Fiesta. Zetec and Trend are both well-equipped considering their positions in the range, with these versions getting a big media screen with must-have smartphone connectivity, plus air conditioning, alloy wheels and a handy heated windscreen that means you don’t have to get the ice scraper out on a winter’s morning.

The popular ST-Line edition adds sporty styling, with a more sculpted body kit and red accents inside. Earlier models come with broadly the same equipment list as Zetec or Trend trim levels, but Ford has gradually added more kit such as cruise control and tinted windows to the ST-Line over the last couple of years.

Mid-range Titanium swaps the sporty look for more restrained styling and more equipment. You get goodies such as sat-nav, automatically folding wing mirrors and rain-sensing wipers. There’s an ST-Line X model that combines the Titanium’s kit list with the ST-Line’s style, and a Titanium X edition that adds luxury features like wireless phone charging and a B&O Premium audio system.

For the most luxury features crammed into a Fiesta, go for the Vignale. This version is marked out by shiny trim and Vignale badges, and includes extras such as heated seats and a rear-view camera. Earlier cars even get a full-length panoramic sunroof to make the interior feel incredibly airy.

Alternatively, there are the Active editions, with a pinch of SUV flavour and a higher ride height. This not only makes getting in and out easier, but also gives you a slightly more commanding view of the road ahead. Like Titanium and ST-Line, there’s an Active X version with more kit. The Fiesta Active is roughly the same length as any other Fiesta, so it’s just as easy to park.

Ford Fiesta interior and technology

The Fiesta made a big push upmarket with its most recent generation, and technology led the way. Even the most basic examples get an eight-inch Ford Sync touchscreen to control all your infotainment functions, two USB sockets, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. It doesn't end there, with driver assistance features including cruise control with adjustable speed limiter and lane-keeping technology standard across the range.

Compared to the 2008-2017 Fiesta, the latest model has a much cleaner dashboard design – the last Fiesta had a smorgasbord of buttons beneath a tiny, far-away screen. The latest Fiesta’s touchscreen works very well and is easy to operate – a good thing now that it’s home to more of the car’s features.

The Fiesta feels well-built and some of the materials you’ll touch feel high-quality, even if a Volkswagen Polo or a Mini feel that bit more premium inside. But there’s good all-round visibility and, as we touched on above, plenty of gizmos to keep you entertained on long drives.

The Fiesta is no longer the most spacious supermini on the block – it’s beaten by the Honda Jazz and VW Polo for passenger space and boot capacity – but it’s still one to stick on your shortlist. Adults will be fine in the rear, but taller friends might have complaints about the head and legroom on offer. The circa-300-litre boot is plenty for a small pushchair or a judiciously packed weekend away, and you can flip the rear seats down if you need to carry bigger items.

Ford Fiesta engine range explained

(Most popular!) Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost petrol

Ford’s turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is found in most newer Fiestas, and it’s a peach. Capable of nearly 50mpg and nippy acceleration, it’s a great all-rounder that’s good for town driving and motorway jaunts. When launched it came with either 100hp, 125hp or 140hp. The middle power output was offered across the range, while the others were offered in lower or higher-spec models respectively.

Recently, the latter two engines received mild-hybrid assistance in the form of a small battery and electric motor. You’ll notice that the stop-start system cuts in sooner to save a little bit of fuel, but in most respects the cars don’t feel much different to a non-hybrid EcoBoost petrol engine. In this switch, the 140hp engine was swapped for a 155hp version.

All 1.0-litre Fiestas come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, or there’s an automatic gearbox. If you’re looking at automatic Fiestas, try to make sure it has the newer seven-speed gearbox; the older six-speed automatic is slower and less economical in comparison.

Ford Fiesta 1.1 Ti-VCT petrol

It might be a bigger engine, but Ford’s 1.1-litre petrol doesn’t come with a turbocharger so it’s less powerful than the 1.0 EcoBoost. The 1.1 is the entry-level engine, only available with the Style, Zetec and Trend trim levels. It won’t set the tarmac on fire with its performance, but the upshot is that it’s cheaper to insure than 1.0-litre Fiestas. Over the years it’s been offered with 70hp and 85hp. If your budget will stretch, we’d recommend the 1.0-litre EcoBoost over this 1.1-litre engine.

Ford Fiesta 1.5 EcoBlue diesel

Ford no longer offers its 1.5-litre diesel on the latest-generation Fiesta, but it did when the model first came out, and you’ll sometimes find these little gems popping up in the Motorpoint network. With a claimed 74.3mpg they’re a great way to keep running costs in check. But they’re no good for frequent short journeys – we’d only suggest a diesel Fiesta if you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the motorway.

Ford Fiesta ST 1.5 EcoBoost petrol

Exclusive to the range-topping Ford Fiesta ST and Puma ST, this 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol is much more powerful than the 1.0 EcoBoost engines. This 200hp fizz-fest is one of the main elements that makes the Fiesta ST so good – it’s widely regarded as one of the best hot hatches you can buy. The Fiesta ST also has fantastic handling, yet retains all the positives of the standard car. It’s even quite economical when you settle down to a cruise.

Your Ford Fiesta questions answered

The Fiesta trim level range might be extensive, but all are available as a five-door hatchback that’s easy to park yet spacious enough for four adults and the weekly shop. Certain versions are also available with three doors, giving a slightly sportier look – although five-door cars make rear-seat access easier. The current Fiesta has been on sale since 2018.

It’s been a best-seller for so long because the Fiesta is the right size for many people. It manages to feel roomy inside despite measuring around four metres long. The Fiesta is marginally shorter and lower than the Volkswagen Polo. Fiesta Active models are taller due to a raised ride height and SUV-aping roof rails.

The 1.1-litre petrol engine offers the cheapest insurance, and the 1.5-litre petrol in the ST offers the best performance. If you'd like a good mix of both, go for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Many buyers do – it's the most popular engine choice, and it suits the Fiesta very well.

The Fiesta should be very safe, as it was awarded a five-star safety score from Euro NCAP in 2017. Its scores for adult and child protection are 87% and 84% respectively, which are very impressive for a small car. One thing to note is that the safety tests are made tougher nearly every year, so the Fiesta’s result isn’t directly comparable with rivals that have been tested more recently.

The answer to this obviously depends on the age, mileage, condition, engine and trim level of the Fiesta. Brand-new Fiestas start from over £19,000, while nearly new examples here start from roughly £12,000. Or, if you’re paying monthly, that equates to under £200 per month.

The Ford Fiesta is a great first car. It’s reasonably cheap to insure, it’s economical and cheap to run, it handles really nicely and has plenty of space for you and a few mates – or bulky sports gear or festival kit. Add in cheap parts, a strong safety score and a huge choice and it’s clear to see why the Fiesta is so good if you’re just starting out on the road.

It is possible to find a Fiesta in group 2, but the 70hp Style is very rare. The new entry-level model, the Trend, starts in group 4. Buy a Fiesta with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – the most common choice – and you’re looking at groups 10-20 depending on age and spec. Unsurprisingly, the more powerful Fiesta ST is in a higher group.

You won’t find the Fiesta in many lists of the most reliable cars, but that doesn’t mean it’s unreliable. With the sheer number of Fiestas on the road, it’s almost inevitable that some will run into problems. Many will prove to be completely dependable. As long as you keep up with routine servicing and maintenance, a Fiesta should be as reliable as any supermini.

One of the brilliant things about the Fiesta is how much choice there is, so the question of which Fiesta is best comes down to your priorities. If you want a sporty feel, there’s the ST-Line. Titanium and Vignale offer a more luxurious experience, while the Fiesta Active appeals to buyers who want SUV styling or a higher ride height. There are Fiestas with low insurance costs and Fiestas with high performance, plus the choice of three or five doors and manual or automatic gearboxes.

The Ford Fiesta shouldn’t be expensive to maintain as parts are cheap and widely available. Ford’s servicing costs aren’t generally too costly, either – you should find it cheaper to maintain than a Volkswagen Polo or Mini.