FORD FIESTA ZETEC REVIEW
VEHICLE STYLE: Five-door hatchback
PRICE: $22,990 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 1.6 litre petrol, Ti-VCT DOHC in-line four cylinder.
Outputs: 88kW @ 6300rpm / 151Nm @ 4300rpm.
Transmission: six-speed Powershift ‘dual-clutch’ automatic.
Official fuel efficiency: 6.1 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 146 g/km
Ford’s new Fiesta range comes with some neat styling refinements, the addition of a sedan to the range, a willing new diesel (in addition to the super-frugal Econetic diesel) and a new six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
We put the sporty and well-kitted Fiesta Zetec Hatch automatic through its paces, and the news is good.
- Quality: At $22,990 (plus) for the auto, the Fiesta Zetec can hardly be described as bargain buying, but it offers body-hugging sports seats, appealing trim materials, an extensive feature list and a solid quality feel.
Only the drab plastic centre console lets down an otherwise nicely designed and very appealing interior.
- Comfort: Rake adjustable steering wheel (but not for ‘reach’), good ride, well-bolstered seats and good legroom in the back.
- Equipment: The premium Zetec comes with a new rear roof spoiler, fat 16-inch alloy wheels, multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, voice-control audio with CD, MP-3, USB and aux-in capability, Bluetooth compatibility, power front windows, cruise control.
- Storage: The Zetec hatch can swallow the weekly shop or luggage for the weekend get-away. Split fold seats also help for larger items. An underseat storage tray is also provided.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The Fiesta’s dynamic on-road performance is the ace in its deck. Despite its size, it has a well-balanced comfortable ride and excellent feel through the wheel.
- Refinement: The new Fiesta is at the top of the class for refinement. Even on coarser surfaces, road noise is well-isolated (the Fiesta is better in fact than a lot of larger cars). Wind noise too is barely evident.
The six-speed auto works well, although the ‘clutch-slip’ on changes - designed-in for durability - can be a little disconcerting. We’d also prefer a manual ‘sport mode’ such as in the Focus. Engine noise can intrude, but it makes a nice cheeky zing over 4500rpm.
- Suspension: The Zetec gets a sports suspension package with specially tuned MacPherson struts, sports stabiliser bar and a beam axle rear.
- Braking: Disc brakes up front, drum rear (with ABS), have no trouble reeling in the lightweight Fiesta.
- ANCAP rating: 5-Star (Zetec and LX models)
- Safety features: Dynamic stability and traction control, ABS braking with EBD and emergency brake assist; seven airbags: driver and passenger, curtain and driver’s knee airbag. Also passenger ‘Beltminder’ system.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: Three years/100,000km with five-year warranty against perforation corrosion.
- Service costs: Costs to be confirmed
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Hyundai i20 Premium auto ($23,490 plus on-roads) - worth a look, but bettered for dynamics and style by the Fiesta. (see i20 reviews)
- Mazda2 Genki auto ($22,590 plus) - the Fiesta’s more robust feel and better interior gives it the edge over the capable 2. (see Mazda2 reviews)
- Honda Jazz VTi-S auto ($23,690 plus) - appealing style, but the Fiesta offers better on-road refinement and interior packaging. (see Jazz reviews)
- Toyota Yaris YRX auto ($21,390 plus) - now showing its age and bettered by the Fiesta. (see Yaris reviews)
- Holden Barina Spark CDX ($13,990 plus) - the edgy Barina Spark has a good interior but is well beaten by the Fiesta’s on-road performance. No auto option also scores against the Barina. (see Barina Spark reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include on-road costs or dealer delivery
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
In mating a technologically-advanced dual clutch auto to a free-revving 1.6 litre engine, Ford has made one of the best buys in the light car segment an even better buy.
None in the Thai-built Fiesta range is for buyers looking for the cheapest buy, but there is a real sense of quality about the Fiesta Zetec, both in fit and finish and in its on-road performance.
It is a lot of fun to drive; its sporty good looks and funky lines add to the appeal.