Ford Fiesta review: Black panther is a purr-fect car

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8 September 2017 3:38PM

I WAS given the opportunity to test drive for work and leisure the new Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre, 100PS Titanium model, which costs £15,890 on the scrappage scheme

Ford has been a part of my family for generations. My father, Reg Bolger, and uncle, Pete Bolger, worked at the plant, making the cars at the Halewood site in Merseyside from the 1970s. I have, therefore, always greatly valued the brand.

I personally own a 2007 Fiesta and use a 2016 Fiesta pool car through my work as a staff photographer for The Mail. I cover many miles in west Cumbria, averaging about 400 miles a week.

I quickly got to experience a lot of hours driving the new Fiesta. It certainly feels a faster, fitter, more toned and efficient version of the previous models. It is hard to believe the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine – the block of which fits on a size A4 piece of paper – can make the car feel so powerful and agile. It also achieves 65.7mpg on the combined cycle.

The switched-on, sporty grandchild of my own Fiesta boasted not five but six gears. The car complemented my hours of daily driving in many ways, including reminding me when to shift up to sixth gear.

Aesthetically, the Fiesta feels like an expensive and well-made sporty car – like all Fords – and I felt proud to arrive to any job in it.

The car flew up hills, taking some of the most challenging stretches of the A595 in its stride. I felt very confident in the car for my daily commute on the west Cumbrian roads and it handled really well in the changeable weather.

I had invested in a dash cam the previous week and did feel extra cautious driving a car which had only 30 miles on the clock.

The Fiesta certainly turned a few farmers’ heads down our lane. They asked if I had been promoted and what I was doing with such a vehicle!

The Fiesta has a slinky design and was very comfortable. It felt safe and had plenty of room for passengers and all my gear in the boot.

The car offered lots of features. Importantly, there were dual cupholders, which were easy to reach. The heating was extremely fast to warm up. The large display screen is excellent – displaying the radio, sat nav and reversing camera and many more features. I found the reversing camera useful but it’s not something I would rely on. I pride myself on my parking skills and feel people should be fully aware of everything around them when parking and manoeuvering, and shouldn’t rely on cameras which can lull them into a false sense of security. I always take an extra look over my shoulder. We should all be using our own 360-degree human senses – but that is just my opinion.

One feature I absolutely loved was a very simple one. When the car was locked, the wing mirrors automatically tucked in. This probably saved me repeatedly returning to the car to check if I had locked the car as a simple glance was enough to reassure me the car was locked. Tucked-in wing mirrors are a dream for anyone with OCD.

The handling of the car is better than any other car I have driven. I took the car for a drive up to Wasdale Head along Wastwater to “Britain’s best view”, meeting many hazards, including tourists, tractors, sheep and cyclists.

The Fiesta nipped around the narrow lanes. Even people who had stopped in the middle of the road to consult their maps did not hinder my journey.

I took some images of the car at Wastwater as no studio could recreate the backdrops we have in the Lakes. It was a fantastic drive to Britain’s best view and, in my opinion, the new Ford Fiesta is by far Britain’s best car.

It was an emotional farewell when I handed back the car I named “the black panther” to Graham Park at Pye Motors.

The recent offer from Ford to cash in the older Ford models for discounts on the newer, more economical ones should surely swing anyone seriously interested in a new Fiesta to take the leap. What’s not to like?

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