Well it’s week two with the new seventh-generation, Ford WS Fiesta Zetec and I have to say, I’m still impressed.
- Matt Brogan
The car performs exceptionally well in all manner of traffic situations, weather conditions and through a variety of life’s little chores including moving furniture and renovating the garden.
As we’ve just moved house, there are a number of overgrown garden beds to contend with and the frequent runs to the nursery have proved an easy task for the little Fiesta.
The boot compartment holds 281-litres with the seats up and parcel shelf in place (only two litres less than the Corolla hatch), though when the 60:40 rear seats are flipped down this is readily expanded meaning plenty of room for bags of top soil, manure, red gum chips and plants.
We even managed to fit myself and one passenger, two assembled tub chairs and a small side table in the back on one trip!
On the style side of things, the looks are spot on for a modern car. Ford’s kinetic design language really works on a car of such proportions and there’s not an angle I don’t like the car from - except to say I feel the 16-inch alloy wheels look a touch small in such big arches.
‘Ocean’ metallic paint (as fitted) comes at a premium of $320 on the base price of $20,990 though is worth it in my opinion for lending the car a little more class.
Inside the layout and décor is impressive. The driving position is very comfortable and as you (can) sit rather low in the car, headroom is quite spacious, making the cabin feel larger than it really is.
The glovebox takes a full size bottle of wine, the door pockets and centre console cavities hold all manner of knick knacks and with a minimalist feel to the dashboard’s layout, the impression of space is a credit to the design team.
Audio comes compliments of an MP3 compatible single-CD tuner that also features a 3.5mm input jack and USB connectivity. The sound is excellent, very clear and with rich bass, a shame more cars cannot offer such a stereo as standard equipment, though I can't stand that the control buttons are still aimed toward a left-hand-drive orientated position.
Instrumentation is sharp, and very easy to read at a glance. The red trip computer readout is easy on the eyes at night, as are the white illuminated dials for tachometer and speedo.
In the centre, the display for the radio, (Bluetooth) phone and vehicle settings (featuring steering wheel mounted controls and accessible via the Convers+ menu system as per Mondeo) is well placed and simple to understand with voice recognition proving not only a valuable asset to safer driving, but a lot of fun to show to your mates.
Fuel consumption is rated at 6.1-litres per 100km (combined) and given the 1.6-litre engine only has to carry 1101kg most of the time; the figures are quite acceptable, even if the Fiesta prefers 98RON petrol (also E10 compliant – CO2 emissions are 143 grams per kilometre).
What’s even better however is that on a long highway run, I managed to get 851.5km from the 43-litre tank, which equates to 5.04 litres per 100km. Around town though, figures run steadily at 7.85L/100km.
Of slight annoyance is a small 'kick' or surge which feels cyclic when the air-conditioning is in operation. It's very slight, but is certainly noticeable, almost as if you can feel the compressor engage.
On a long flat road with the cruise on it's the only interruption to an otherwise pleasant journey. Even the road noise is good on all but the harshest of coarse chip roads.
The entire length of the car is 3.95-metres, and with a wheelbase of 2.49-metres the overhangs are quite minimal, meaning sharp steering response from the electric power assisted (or EPAS) steering, good bump absorption and damping as well as superbly balanced handling - but sadly a somewhat average turning circle of 10.2 metres.
Over the next week or so we’ll get a little more enthusiastic with the Fiesta and see just how well its capabilities stretch to twisty country roads and indeed if the disc/drum brakes are up to the rigours of a challenging drive.