ON THE ROAD- Ian Lynas drives the new Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta continues to be one of the most popular small cars; drive any road, in any village, town or city in Ireland and you will see a Fiesta. On numerous occasions it has topped the best seller charts and despite a very competitive market it still manages to be in the charts. To date more than sixteen million have been built in a number of plants across the world.

The first Fiesta took to the road in 1976; it was developed under the name “Bobcat” and it was the oil crisis of 1973 which accelerated the development of the small car from Ford. Throughout its history I have driven various models and to bring the story right up to date I recently put the new five door Titanium model to the test. My first impressions were excellent build quality and the one litre engine. Just a few years ago if you had mentioned to anyone that you had been impressed with such a small power unit, you would have been greeted by shock and surprise. Today the car manufacturers have turned their skills to developing and producing small petrol engines. These units offer low emissions and very good fuel economy. Very often the economy gained rivals that of a diesel engine. Known as the one litre EcoBoost, power output is impressive at 125PS with a low CO2 figure at 98g/km. When it comes to performance, this little number is no slouch with the ability to travel from rest to 62mph (100kph) in 9.9 seconds.

The Titanium model, which I tested, is not top of the Fiesta line-up; however it does come extremely well equipped and can be recognised easily with its set of 16 inch ten spoke alloy wheels. For improved night vision, halogen projector headlamps and there are LED daytime running lights. Still with lighting, fog lamps and cornering lamps while at the rear, LED Night Signature is standard. Moving to the interior which is well appointed. Yes people now want their small car to have all the creature comforts of a larger model. The three spoke steering wheel has audio controls, meaning you do not have to take your eyes off the road ahead. There are a number of driver assistance features, a 4.2 inch TFT screen, Traffic Sign Recognition, Auto High Beam and Driver Alert. This model is equipped with Ford SYNC 3 Navigation and the DAB radio has six speakers so everyone onboard can enjoy the audio experience. Behind the wheel, keyless start, just a press on the button and for effortless driving you can switch to cruise control. Should weather conditions deteriorate there are rain sensing wipers and added on road security, electronic stability control and there is even Hill Start Assist. Security, a Thatcham alarm, remote central locking and an engine immobiliser are all part of the package.

The drive experience is good, a small car that is capable of taking on all challengers. Of course like so many other cars on our roads today, the Fiesta has a range of options to further enhance the drive experience.
The Fiesta story rolls on with the news of a new ST variant. With outstanding performance from a 1.5 litre three cylinder turbo engine which delivers 197bhp. After having spent a week with the new Fiesta, my appetite has been wetted to get behind the wheel of the ST when the opportunity arises. In a way, I am glad that Ford went with the name Fiesta all those years ago and not Bobcat, the latter would be best on a Mustang type of vehicle. After all what is in a name, it is the quality of wheels at your control.