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No siesta for Fiesta.

Byline: DECEMBER 29, 2017 HUDDERSFIELD EXAMINER STEVE HOWARTH WITH THE LATEST ON FOUR WHEELS

NOW - when it comes to replacing a car that's been named Britain's best seller you need to proceed with some care.

The Ford Fiesta was officially named the number one for sales in the UK back in 2014 - when it overtook the 4.1million Escorts Ford sold over three decades. But it needed an update for 2017 so as not to be caught napping by the up and coming opposition.

First launched in 1976, the Fiesta is now onto its eighth generation and we got our hands (briefly) on the multi award-winning 1-litre 99bhp EcoBoost engine model in Titanium trim.

As you can see from our pictures of the new model seen alongside its predecessor - which has been around now for eight years - the biggest external difference is at the rear where larger, horizontal tail lights help give the Fiesta a more up to date look.

It is also a fraction bigger - 71mm longer and 12mm wider with an extra 4mm in the wheelbase - all of which adds up to a useful increase in cabin space and slightly more boot capacity (292-litres) with a wider opening tailgate. The biggest improvements are definitely on the inside where things have really come right up to date in terms of tech, connectivity and quality.

While it is evolution on the outside the interior is a revolution with the previous cheap plastics, tiny screen and myriad of buttons replaced with a more modern look and premium feel.

The dashboard is dominated by a large, tablet-style touch screen that sits high up, in the driver's line of sight - although on our model it is a PS300 upgrade to get sat nav.

However, all Fiestas from the Zetec up get Ford's SYNC3 software as standard with clear graphics and easy smartphone integration.

Our car was also fitted with a powerful Bang & Olufsen 10 speaker sound system (again PS300 extra) to add to that premium feel alongside soft touch materials and solid construction.

Also for 2017 you now press a button to start - none of that old fashioned key nonsense (I am sure I remember my first Mini had a push button start) - and the threecylinder EcoBoost fires fairly quietly into life - not as thrummy as rivals unless pushed hard. Improved soundproofing in the body and revised suspension bushes also mean less road noise.

A combination of wider track (30mm at the front and 10mm at the rear), slicker steering and a similar torque vectoring set-up to the Focus mean the Fiesta is even better to drive too.

Standard kit on the Titanium now includes 16" alloy wheels, cornering lights, power fold door mirrors with puddle lamps, heated windscreen, DAB radio, cruise control, auto lights and wipers plus hill start assist. Our test car also had almost PS2,000 worth of extras including that premium sound system, larger alloy wheels, rear camera, auto park assist and a safety pack which had pre-collision assist, pedestrian detection, distance alert and adaptive cruise control.

There's an Active version and luxurious Vignale flagship, plus the familiar Zetec trim levels. Then there is an ST-Line version with more sporty pretensions available with the most powerful 138bhp version of the 1.0-litre threecylinder EcoBoost petrol engine. Engine wise there is also the choice of a 123bhp three cylinder petrol, a naturally aspirated 1.1-litre and a 118bhp 1.5-litre TDCi plus an all-new 197bhp three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol for the hot hatch ST.

So it is back to the front of the pack for the Fiesta? Well yes but some people may be surprised to find prices also creeping upward.

Our 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 5-door is from PS16,795 on the road - although increasingly these days those choosing a new car are more interested in the monthly PCP payments rather than the full list price.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2017
Words:648
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