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Martin

Ford Fiesta 1.4

I needed to hire a car for a work visit to Holland and there isn't a company we have to use, so I decided to try and get a Focus as I've not driven one in years and wanted to see what all the fuss is about. Unfortunately when I arrived, they didn't have any available, so it was either a Fiesta or a Clio Estate. Had to stick with the Ford theme / forum favourite, especially as I've read it's more fun to drive than a Supercar......

Actually, that's not entirely true, I was offered a '4 group upgrade' to a 1.5 MX5 for only 15 Euros as the Focus wasn't available. I was tempted, but I thought I'd choose the fun car instead. Well, either that or I knew I'd be driving for 5 hours on the Motorway and I'd not brought my sunglasses or hay fever medication....

The paperwork said it was a 1.4 99g co2 engine, but I don't think that exisits? I think it was a 1.0 litre (non turbo), because it was so slow. Full throttle increased the noise much more than the speed and when you dropped to 100km/h and wanted to accelerate back up to 130km/h, it took ages and changing down to 4th didn't make much difference. It felt like I was getting in people's way all the time and had to plan well ahead to maintain momentum and remember this was in Holland, introduce a hill and you'd be stuffed.

I'll ignore the engine from now on, because that can easily be solved by choosing something else.

Positives
- Nice colour (first impression, not top of the list!)
- Interior quality was a pleasant surprise, good enough for the price
- Good all round visibility (would have liked the seat lower)
- Comfortable ride
- Quieter on the motorway than I'd expected (at 80mph)
- Comfortable seats. They felt short in the backrest and seat base initially, but I felt fine after 2.5 hours, so they must have been fine
- Plenty of legroom / space
- Sync system connectivity and reasonable quality speakers

Negatives
- Steering feel. Non existant and felt like I needed to keep making adjustments even in a constant radius curve joining the motorway. So bad that I stopped and checked the tyre pressures, but they were OK.
- Too much vertical movement in the suspension, felt bouncy which I hate and remember most of my driving was on pretty smooth motorway
- Initial body roll when turning into a corner was a little alarming, but once it had settled it was fine
- 5 speed gearbox.  Poor shift quality / feel and kept wanting to go for 6th
- Air conditioning was a bit weak. It wasn't that hot (22c) or sunny, but it needed to be in fan speed 3 which was noisy
- Central screen is too small and I didn't like all the buttons
- Speedo / rev counter graphics are awful, why do companies think they need to be 'styled'?

Overall, performance aside, it was absolutely fine for what I needed for the day. It's a nice car, but I had expectations of it being fun to drive and it really wasn't which was disappointing.
Martin

Frank Bullitt

No, no you have it wrong - the Fiesta is the only small car choice as it is sublime to drive.

My passenger experience of a 1.25 recently is very akin to yours, I thought I'd missed out on something not being behind the wheel - clearly not.
Humphrey The Pug

Fiesta's, great to drive, but that is where it ends, everything else is below par on them, I hate the way that all the reviews say it is the best small car out there based purely on the way it drives, there is a lot more that kind of car than driving dynamics.
Martin

This one wasn't great to drive though.  I've only had a brief drive of my mums up! and it was much more to my taste.  That might be due to it having big (17") wheels and sports suspension?   The Fiesta might be better with lower profile tyres and firmer suspension, but it would have to totally transform the steering as well.
Martin

Full hire car spec on the other side



Chris M Wanted a V-10

Not the ecoboost engine, probably the old 1.25 which is why it felt gutless. The heater controls are so fiddly and difficult to use that you need to get one with climate control, which you (I) just set and forget about
Martin

Having had a look at the Dutch website, I think it was the 1.0.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

... but it will be the old 1 litre 4-cylinder non-turbo, not the ecoboost. I had a quick look at the Ford.nl site on my smartphone earlier, but it wasn't easy to get to the spec options.

Surprised about the steering feel and bouncy suspension, maybe the Dutch spec has different components to the UK ?

EDIT: Having just checked the Ford.nl site on the desktop PC, looks like it could be either a 65PS or 80PS version of the old 1-litre 4cyl. If the former, no wonder it felt gutless !
Martin

Yes, definately a non turbo!
Frank Bullitt

Fiesta has a right hash of engines - you can have some variation of the old Zetec 1.25 with 60 or 82bhp on lower spec models or higher spec models get the 1.0 3-pot from the Ecoboost without the turbo and it has 80bhp.
Andy C

Sounds like there was something wrong with the car in regards to your thoughts on the steering, bounce, body roll. I think I've driven 5 Fiesta's now and they've all been brilliant to drive.

To be fair, it's an 8 year old car now. The interior is behind some of it's rivals (MINI, Polo, Mazda 2,) , but Fiesta is still better inside than a 208 or Clio. It's also spacious, refined, good value for money and looks good. The fact is drives well is an added bonus.

MINI also drives well, is very well built, but is not as spacious and costs more.

Polo sounds a good all rounder but is dull as dishwater

208 and Clio I wouldn't even consider due to the awful ergonomics of the 208 and laughable interior of the Clio

So it would be a toss up between a Mazda 2 and Fiesta for me, which for an 8 year old car, is pretty good I think.
PR

Did it have decent tyres or some unknown-brand ditchfinders?
Martin

I didn't look at the tyres I'm afraid.
PhilD

Andy C wrote:
The interior is behind some of it's rivals (MINI, Polo, Mazda 2.

208 and Clio I wouldn't even consider due to the awful ergonomics of the 208 and laughable interior of the Clio



Mazda 2, 208 and Clio interiors all look fresh and modern (and similar). Fiesta is the opposite. Why is the Clio laughable?
Frank Bullitt

I think some of the Clio interior parts are a bit cheap (such as the door cards), like the Captur but it's generally decent - the Dynamique we drove was fine inside and much better than the Fiesta I was in which felt like 'Police Spec'. The Clio was nicer inside I'd say and the 208, with its well-placed dials and superb driving position, was wiping its gooch all over the Fiesta.
Andy C

PhilD wrote:
Andy C wrote:
The interior is behind some of it's rivals (MINI, Polo, Mazda 2.

208 and Clio I wouldn't even consider due to the awful ergonomics of the 208 and laughable interior of the Clio

Why is the Clio laughable?






You think that looks good? A shiny black slab that's prone to scratches which looks like its just been plonked on as an afterthought.
PhilD

As I said it looks modern and fresh, like an Iphone. The Fiesta is more Samsung flip from 2007.
Giant

PhilD wrote:
As I said it looks modern and fresh, like an Iphone. The Fiesta is more Samsung flip from 2007.


+1

The fiesta interior is hideously dated IMO. Would stop me buying one, it's the bit you use and that you spend most time looking at after all.
Frank Bullitt

I'm not really a fan of shiny black plastic, especially when it's tacked-on

Andy C

At least it looks symmetrical and like it was designed to be there in the first place.

I've sat in a few Clio's and the quality is abysmal considering they had 4 years to better the fiesta
Humphrey The Pug

Giant wrote:
PhilD wrote:
As I said it looks modern and fresh, like an Iphone. The Fiesta is more Samsung flip from 2007.


+1

The fiesta interior is hideously dated IMO. Would stop me buying one, it's the bit you use and that you spend most time looking at after all.


Fiesta dash is a mess, looks like a bucket of buttons has been lobbed at it and where they landed was where they were put.

Clio interior is modern and fresh; still and it is now almost 3.5 years old, I can see how some may feel it is poor quality, however 3 year old Clio's have worn very well.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Frank Bullitt wrote:
I'm not really a fan of shiny black plastic, especially when it's tacked-on

The upper parts are soft-touch and non-reflective, lower parts hard and cheap-feeling. The only shiny bits are the door pull/window switch panels and the panel for the Sony infotainment system where fitted.

Clio dash is very similar to the Captur, if you don't mind a 7" touchscreen with slow responses slap bang in the middle, then it's OK but still nothing special
Martin

Just looked at the fuel stats.

I did 261 miles and it took 31.3 litres to fill up, so assuming it had the same amount when I picked it up it did 37.8mpg. That's all motorway, so not particularly impressive. Partially thanks to the current exchange rate, petrol is 144.2p per litre which makes it 17.3p per mile, which is about the same as the Boxster running on Shells finest and 40% more than the 535d. No wonder there are so many electric and plug in hybrid cars in Holland.
Frank Bullitt

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Frank Bullitt wrote:
I'm not really a fan of shiny black plastic, especially when it's tacked-on

The upper parts are soft-touch and non-reflective, lower parts hard and cheap-feeling. The only shiny bits are the door pull/window switch panels and the panel for the Sony infotainment system where fitted.


The Fiesta dashboard in the picture has plenty of shiny black plastic on it.

I much prefer this version;


Nice Guy Eddie

Andy C wrote:
PhilD wrote:
Andy C wrote:
The interior is behind some of it's rivals (MINI, Polo, Mazda 2.

208 and Clio I wouldn't even consider due to the awful ergonomics of the 208 and laughable interior of the Clio

Why is the Clio laughable?






You think that looks good? A shiny black slab that's prone to scratches which looks like its just been plonked on as an afterthought.


If that's like an iphone, take me back to my old Motorola flip phone. I'm sure that's just what the apple boys were going for when they came up with the iphone6.

I haven't driven the current Fiesta, so would have done as you did Martin and gone for one. Every time I've booked a Fiesta as a hire car I've ended up in a Corsa, now that's shit.

I guess we all have different priorities when it comes to what we like from our cars, but if it drives like all the old Fiestas I've driven, I couldn't give a rats arse what the dash was like. Fords are one of those manufacturers that turn out a car that within 100ft of driving off you know some chassis engineer has actually given 2 shits rather than signed off some compromised budget constrained white good. In fact the Fiesta in Chris M spec still looks great but then I quite like the look of the 208 and Clio too.
Martin

I thought the dash was too button heavy, but the quality was OK. I don't have recent experience of its direct competition though, so don't know how it compares.

As I said, it was the driving experience that disappointed me because I was expecting it to be fun and it wasn't. I only have the previous generation MINI (every engine) and Swift Sport to compare it to properly, both of which I enjoyed driving, although the Swift was too noisy on the motorway.

Hopefully my next hire car will be more interesting, as I've got that for a week.
Eff One

Martin wrote:
Just looked at the fuel stats.

I did 261 miles and it took 31.3 litres to fill up, so assuming it had the same amount when I picked it up it did 37.8mpg. That's all motorway, so not particularly impressive.


Sounds to me like you had a dud.

My ST is driven spiritedly on country roads and rarely sees a motorway, and I'm averaging over 39mpg.

I've yet to drive a car with electric steering that I loved; all of the Fiestas I've tried have a slightly 'springy' feel with artificially strong self-centring. But none have felt lifeless and it's easy enough to tell what the front tyres are doing.

The 100 Ecoboost I drove felt nicely damped and light on its feet; just what I want from a small car. By contrast, the Clio rode very comfortably but none of the controls felt connected to anything, and it lurched drunkenly whenever presented with a corner.

Having said that, the Fiesta was a dealer demonstrator while the Clio was a hire car in Spain, so possibly not a fair comparison.

I find my ST's interior a pleasant enough place to be, but it's unquestionably dated compared to the competition.
PhilD

Re: Ford Fiesta 1.4

Martin wrote:


I'll ignore the engine from now on, because that can easily be solved by choosing something else.



You see this so often - car X is rubbish because of the engine.
Martin

Does the Zetec and above get different (firmer / better damped) suspension?
Martin

Re: Ford Fiesta 1.4

PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:


I'll ignore the engine from now on, because that can easily be solved by choosing something else.



You see this so often - car X is rubbish because of the engine.


The engine can easily transform a car, one way or the other.

This experience is the reason why I never hire a small car on holiday, it's too easy to end up with an underpowered dud.
PhilD

Re: Ford Fiesta 1.4

Martin wrote:
PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:


I'll ignore the engine from now on, because that can easily be solved by choosing something else.



You see this so often - car X is rubbish because of the engine.


The engine can easily transform a car, one way or the other.



Indeed, my point was that people who write off an entire model range because the engine they tried was shite are daft.
Martin

Thankfully I didn't do that!  
Bob Sacamano

The Fiesta dash is a bit of a mess, but then again so was the current model Focus' until they fitted the Ford Sync and that sorted that out quite simply - they just need to do the same for the Fiesta.
I had a Focus 1.5tdi Zetec on hire for 6 months and it's only when you drive the Ford daily that you really start to appreciate the depth of engineering that's gone into the drivetrain, controls and ride/handling balance. You also get the impression that it'll go on giving good service through it's second and subsequent owners, right through to becoming a 1k first car for a new driver in the way that other mainstream makes perhaps won't.
PhilD

Bob Sacamano wrote:
The Fiesta dash is a bit of a mess, but then again so was the current model Focus' until they fitted the Ford Sync and that sorted that out quite simply - they just need to do the same for the Fiesta.


Still looks more Goodmans Hifi from Tesco than Bang & Olufsen.
PhilD

Bob Sacamano wrote:
The Fiesta dash is a bit of a mess, but then again so was the current model Focus' until they fitted the Ford Sync and that sorted that out quite simply - they just need to do the same for the Fiesta.


Still looks more Goodmans Hifi from Tesco than Bang & Olufsen.
Bob Sacamano

PhilD wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
The Fiesta dash is a bit of a mess, but then again so was the current model Focus' until they fitted the Ford Sync and that sorted that out quite simply - they just need to do the same for the Fiesta.


Still looks more Goodmans Hifi from Tesco than Bang & Olufsen.


Have to say I disagree completely - it was very good. If Goodmans ever did anything to the same quality they'd clean up.
Martin

The Fiesta has Sync, but it's very fiddly to use, less buttons and a bigger screen would help a lot.
PhilD

Bob Sacamano wrote:
PhilD wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
The Fiesta dash is a bit of a mess, but then again so was the current model Focus' until they fitted the Ford Sync and that sorted that out quite simply - they just need to do the same for the Fiesta.


Still looks more Goodmans Hifi from Tesco than Bang & Olufsen.


Have to say I disagree completely - it was very good. If Goodmans ever did anything to the same quality they'd clean up.


Look not usability! Hasn't Ford's tech been class leading for a while now?
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Martin wrote:
The Fiesta has Sync, but it's very fiddly to use, less buttons and a bigger screen would help a lot.

With Sync, you don't need buttons apart from the one on the steering wheel; just press it, then speak to the car  

Most of the time, I kill the display anyway... less distraction especially at night.

As to the engines, the loan FIesta I had when the Ka played up had the 1.25 engine and it was gutless. I just about got its average mpg over 40 whereas the Ecoboost got around 45 from new with no real effort, and it's gradually getting better as the engine loosens up.  52.4 average is the best so far but it's dropped back to just over 50 thanks to Surrey being at a near-standstill last Friday afternoon... 20 minute journey took me over an hour

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