2023 Ford Fiesta Active 1.0 EcoBoost Automatic

2023 Ford Fiesta Active 1.0 EcoBoost Automatic

Up until Covid-19 hit and then the shortage of semi-conductor chips began, Ford’s Fiesta was the best-selling new car in the UK and had been for many years. But with a limited number of chips to go round, Ford has understandably prioritised those cars that made more profit, and so has been focusing on delivering anything but the Fiesta. That hasn’t been ideal for fans of Ford’s smallest car in the UK, however, it’s now back, and with a mid-life facelift that has made a noticeable difference to aesthetics.


FIRST UK TEST

The changes see the Ford logo move to the centre of the broader front grille and encompasses a new bonnet design that raises the height of the nose. There’s new LED headlights that are standard across the range and more ornate detailing to the side vents of the bumper, while at the rear there’s new smoked rear light clusters. Inside, a 12.3-inch configurable digital dashboard is standard on Vignale versions, and there’s a new safety feature called Wrong Way Alert that delivers warnings if the driver attempts to join a motorway in the wrong direction. And while Sync4 features on the latest Focus, the Fiesta soldiers on with the current Sync3 arrangement with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Our test car is the more rugged Active variant, tested in Active Vignale trim. With CO2 emissions of 127g/km, that’s normally outside the realms of EcoCar, so think of it as a Vignale, as listed on the specifications section, but with some additional equipment added on, particularly larger 18-inch alloy wheels. As a package, the latest Fiesta is exceptionally well kitted out, with no such thing as a base model anymore. Even the entry-level Trend version comes with air conditioning, cruise control, lane assist, LED headlights, heated front windscreen and an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Active models add a chunky body kit, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, navigation system, keyless start, rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, driver drowsiness detection and automatic high beam for the headlights, while Active Vignale versions add 18-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, climate control, part-faux leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, keyless entry, reversing camera and 12.3-inch digital dials.

The Fiesta has long been the benchmark for driving prowess in the supermini segment, and that acclaim is highly deserved, as it handles with great agility, is hugely responsive and delivers excellent feedback through the steering wheel. It’s as manoeuvrable around town as it is pleasing on entertaining back roads and will put a smile on the driver’s visage. There’s very little body lean to speak of, too. The 1.0-litre turbocharged triple delivers pleasing performance, with decent mid-range overtaking muscle. The mild hybrid technology works away in the background, harnessing as much of the lost energy while slowing down, ready to feed it back in later to boost fuel economy or lessen the work that the engine has to do. Our car came with the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission that delivers slick and smooth changes. On a motorway gallop, road noise is higher than we would like, and this may be down to the larger 18-inch alloys fitted to our Active Vignale model. Ride quality is excellent, with only bigger bumps and potholes unsettling the status quo.

The design of the interior largely remains the same as before, except for the new super clear digital dials that are now fitted to the Vignale models. The cabin is neatly laid out, made from quality materials that feel solid and built-to-last. The dashboard top is nicely squidgy and the 8-inch touchscreen sprouts from the centre, just where you want it for easy viewing. If we’re being picky, the ventilation controls are positioned slightly too low, and the ergonomics would be enhanced if they were placed more closely to the touchscreen. The chunky steering wheel is nice to hold, and Ford has stuck with a conventional lever for the gearbox, rather than a rotary dial, like on other models in its line-up. It’s a shame that Apple CarPlay isn’t wireless, though we’re guessing it won’t become available until Sync4 arrives in the future.

There’s plenty of storage around the cabin, including ahead of the gear lever, where the wireless charging pad is located. There’s relatively narrow door pockets, a compact glovebox, pair of cupholders and a deep area underneath the central armrest. There’s plenty of head and legroom up front, while in the back, space on offer compares favourably to its close rivals. Boot space is pretty good, too, with 313 litres of carrying capacity with the seats up and that can be extended to 1,093 litres by folding the rear chairs down.


2023 Ford Fiesta Active 1.0 EcoBoost Automatic


FACTS & FIGURES

  • On sale Now
  • In showrooms Now
  • Prices £17,905 to £24,205
  • Bodystyles 5-door hatchback
  • Engines 1.1 Petrol manual (74bhp), 1.0 Petrol manual (99bhp), 1.0 Petrol mild hybrid manual and automatic (123bhp)
  • Trim levels Trend, Titanium, Titanium Vignale, Active, Active Vignale, ST-Line, ST-Line Vignale
  • Also consider Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa
  • Model tested 2023 Ford Fiesta Active 1.0 EcoBoost Automatic
  • Price £24,215
  • Built in Cologne, Germany
  • Codename B479
  • Generation 7 Facelift
  • Platform B3
  • Bodystyle 5-door hatchback, 5-seats
  • Layout Front-wheel-drive
  • Powerplant 999cc, 3-cylinder, 12-valve, turbocharged petrol with mild hybrid technology and start-stop
  • Gearbox 7-speed twin-clutch automatic
  • Max power 123bhp @ 6,000rpm
  • Max torque 155lb ft @ 1,750rpm
  • Top speed 124mph
  • 0-62mph 9.6secs
  • CO2 emissions 121g/km
  • Economy (combined) 50.4-53.3mpg
  • Tank (fuel) 42 litres
  • Range 492 miles
  • Insurance 17
  • BIK rate (2022/2023 tax year) 29%
  • Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,068/1,941mm
  • Boot space (min/max) 311/1,093 litres
  • Kerb/max towing weight 1,251/1,000kg
  • Euro NCAP rating (pre-facelift)
  • Spare wheel (Full-size/spacesaver/run-flat/selfseal/repair kit) No/£200/no/no/yes
  • Warranty 3 years/60,000 miles
  • Verdict As entertaining to drive as its predecessor, it’s still the benchmark for those buyers looking for a great driver’s car.
  • Rating ■■■■■■■■■■9/10
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