Overall rating: 4.5/5
Ford's Fiesta is Europe's best-selling small car for a reason and updates that mark out the 2013 model year are sure to cement that position, even in the face of stiff new competition. The addition of 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol power is a particular highlight.
In the Metal:
Visually, the biggest change to the Ford Fiesta is its new nose. The bumper, bonnet and headlights have all been replaced with shapelier items and particular emphasis is placed on the dramatic inverted trapezoidal grille - the five classy metallic slats are standard on all versions of the new car. Elsewhere there are new colours, wheels, door mirrors, a re-profiled roof spoiler and new graphics for the rear lights. It's enough to keep the Fiesta fresh and we're big fans of the front grille design.
Inside, the 2013 model year updates are more obvious the higher up the range you go. Some of the switchgear has been moved, the ambient lighting is different and there are more material and colour options than before. In the boot we noticed that the Fiesta has adopted the B-Max's split-level boot floor design. Rear legroom is still at a premium, but there's loads of oddments space and plenty of adjustment of the steering wheel and driver's seat.
Ford hasn't done a lot to the chassis of the Fiesta, but arguably it didn't need to. It claims to have enhanced the refinement and ride quality. Tyre noise dominated proceedings at speed in our example, though the Fiesta undeniably rides maturely. While you might hear the suspension working through ruts and bumps the occupants are well-isolated from them for the most part. Along with that the Fiesta remains an enjoyable car to drive, flowing down a twisting road with ease. The steering is linear, the brakes well-modulated and the five-speed manual gearbox smooth.
Actually, you soon realise that you don't need to stir the gearbox all that much thanks to the low-down torque available from the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. This unit is a perfect match for the Fiesta. It's surprisingly quiet at a cruise and around town though it has an unmistakable three-cylinder sound when you ask more of it. The 125hp version we drove delivers strong urge that makes the Fiesta really quite relaxing to drive and faster feeling than the bare numbers might suggest.
What you get for your Money:
Full Irish details of the new Fiesta have yet to be released, but we do know that the starting price is €15,550, there will be three trim levels offered (base, Zetec and Titanium) and four powertrain options. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is included in that, but as yet we don't know if both 100- and 125hp outputs will be available. The 1.25-litre petrol engine continues, as does the 1.6-litre petrol unit in conjunction with an automatic gearbox. The only diesel option will be a new 75hp 1.5-litre TDCi engine.
The updated Fiesta is the first European Ford to feature the company's 'MyKey' technology. This allows parents to give their kids a different key for the car, in which settings can limit the top speed and stereo volume, prevent deactivation of safety systems and warn the driver earlier about a low fuel level.
Another new bit of technology to the Fiesta is the company's 'SYNC' system, developed in conjunction with Microsoft - much like Fiat's Blue&Me. This groups various items of connectivity under one voice-activated system and features a few niceties such as reading out your text messages to you and letting you call out a track you'd like to hear from the music on your phone. Apparently the next generation of this will include radio station selection and even adjustments to the climate control settings. An emergency assistance system is also built in, which can automatically alert the authorities following an accident.
Really, we could have written this report without driving the new Fiesta. The facelift is highly successful, buyers will love the new technology options and it remains one of the best cars in its class to drive. The charismatic EcoBoost engine only reinforces that position.