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Ford Fiesta Zetec

Regular readers will know that we've long been a fan of the diesel Fiesta, and find it hard to believe that the same basic shape is coming up to almost seven years old. Of course it has had a facelift along the way, and with that brought the new generation of downsized 1.0-litre threecylinder powerplants.
Up until now, we've always concentrated on the diesel end of the range, but with Eco Car now having a wider remit, we've got behind the wheel of the most powerful petrol car available with CO2 emissions under the magic 100g/km barrier, which entitles the owner to vehicle excise duty free motoring.
And first impressions are pretty good, with a zingy engine that burst into life at the turn of the key. It's quiet, refined and revvy, and delivers a characterful thrum that is oddly intoxiating.
There's plenty of punch away from rest, and though diesel fans will miss the effortless torque that they're used to, this turbocharged Fiesta is a pretty good companion. What hasn't changed is the enormous fun the baby Ford is to pilot, with agile, precise steering that continually keeps you updated on what the front wheels are up to. No other small car can match the Fiesta for smiles per mile, with body control through the bends that other car makers can only dream of. Ride comfort is sportily firm and general comfort good, but larger potholes and rutted roads do get transmitted into the cabin.
At motorway speeds, it's calm and pliant, and coupled with subdued engine, road and wind noise, this Zetec S badged car is actually a nice companion for long journeys. The cabin of the Fiesta is beginning to look dated, though, and the audio system that dominates the top of the dashboard is awash with small buttons that need some education before you can recognise them without taking your eyes off the road. There's a smattering of soft-touch plastics for the dashboard top, but everywhere else it's a sea of hard surfaces.
But that's alright, because it gives the Fiesta an air of durability and a sense that it will stand up well to unforgiving family life. The controls are easily located and mostly mounted high up, though we wish the ventilation controls were higher up. The heavily bolstered seats deliver great support when cornering fast, and it's easy to get a decent driving position thanks to plenty of available adjustment. Up front there's decent head and legroom, while at the rear only the taller passengers will desire more head space, with legroom actually pretty decent, despite the car's diminutive dimensions.
Access to the rear seats is always going to be a challenge, however, the front seats are designed to slide out of the way. Boot space is par for the course, and is decently square and well-shaped. The luggage room can be extended by tumbling the chairs forward, or in a 60:40 split fashion - it's just a shame that they don't fold down totally flat. Space for oddments is well catered for, with a large bin ahead of the gear lever, a series of trays and cupholders between the front seats, together with a decent glovebox and door pockets.

Price £15,945
Made in Cologne, Germany
Configuration 3-door hatchback, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 999cc, 3-cylinder, 12-valve, turbocharged petrol with stop-start
Transmission 5-speed manual
Power output 123bhp @ 6,000rpm
Maximum torque 148lb ft @ 1,400rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 122mph/9.4 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 99g/km (A) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 53.3/76.4/65.7mpg
Fuel tank size/range 42 litres/607 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 15/14%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 3,982/1,978mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 290/974 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,091/900kg

Ford Fiesta Zetec Images

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