Ford Fiesta 1.5TDCI ST-Line 2017 Road Test

On the evidence of the new Ford Fiesta 1.5TDCI 120 ST-Line it’s not surprising that Ford is quietly confident of keeping its small family hatch at the top of the sales charts.

For sheer joy of driving I had thought a few others were catching up, and that the Mazda 2 actually bettered the Fiesta. On a recent back-to-back test, the Suzuki Swift was rougher round the edges, yet more fun.

However, it seems that particular Fiesta was on the wrong tyres. For the ST-Line, Ford chassis engineers have managed to tune the suspension for a brilliant combination of comfort and seat of your pants handling.

Ford Fiesta ST Line 2017 17 Inch Wheel

A lot of this is due to a significant change in wheels and tyres. Previously the 17-inch wheel option came with 205/40 R17 tyres.  Now the tyres are 45 profile, and while that doesn’t read very much it significantly reduces shocks red through to the cabin from broken surfaces and potholes. You can go daft and specify 18-inch wheels with 205/40 profile tyres but you’d have to be nuts to sacrifice the ride and handling of the 17s for a dubious ‘boy racer’ look.

Ford Fiesta ST Line 2017 Cockpit

The chunky leather covered steering wheel feels solidly connected and tells you exactly what’s going on at both ends of the car. So effectively you can even flick the back out if you want to, though this isn’t recommended on the Queens highway.

Power and torque of the 120PS 1.5 turbodiesel are well matched to the car, too. It’s definitely sporty and torquey rather than ‘dieselly’. I can’t tell you how close it gets to it NEDC 80.7mpg combined because on my short, much interrupted drive I didn’t see more than 36.7mpg. You can save £930 by opting for the 1.0 petrol Ecoboost 140 and £1,230 going for the 1.0 Ecoboost 125. All come with an excellent snicky, fast changing 6-speed manual transmission.

Spend £1,350 more and you can upgrade to the ST-Line X that brings goodies such as satnav, cruise, part-leather seats and electric folding mirrors (see the specs page for the full list).

Ford Fiesta Vignale Seats

Or you can go all out for the luxurious Vignale spec with its signature pleated leather seats and an opening panoramic glass roof (quite a rare thing on small cars these days). The Vignale comes in at £2,700 more than the basic ST-Line, but the same reductions apply if you opt for a petrol engine.

Ford Fiesta Vignale Panoramic Roof

But there aren’t many other luxurious Fiesta size cars. The 3-door only DS3 springs to mind at similar money. There’s the Audi A1 that offers lots of status and illusion of quality, but nothing like the ride and handling of the Fiesta. After that, it’s Polos, Ibizas, Micras, Clios.

As for the Fiesta ST-Line, the Mazda 2 1.5 GT has it beaten on kit for list price (not that anyone ever pays list price for Fiesta). And the chunky 60 profile tyres of the Mazda 2 will shrug off bigger potholes then the 45s of the Fiesta. But for sheer joy of driving, the Fiesta narrowly steals podium place.

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