The Ford Fiesta Sport is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
On paper, a hatch hovering just above $20,000 with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine doesn’t stir excitement. But the baby of the Ford range is no bland ecobox. Thanks to a punchy engine and a sure-footed road handling, the Fiesta Sport is a nimble hatch that will inspire a smile on almost anyone.
I took the Fiesta Sport out to see how the tiny three-pot could handle itself.
Designed by the German arm of Ford, the Fiesta Sport sits just under the top-of the hot hatch ST in the range, and it’s clear that the Sport is cut from the same cloth as its bigger brother.
My test car was finished in Panther Black prestige paint and, combined with the sports grille and 16” alloy wheels; people couldn’t help but comment.
It’s a premium look that is carried into the interior – immediately noticeable thanks to diamond-stitched bucket seats, glossy piano black interior trim and premium eight-speaker Sony sound system with Ford SYNC™.
I tested out the 6-speed PowerShift auto and for a hatch sitting below $25,000, Ford has gone to great lengths to make it feel like it’s worth a whole lot more.
Three-cylinder engines were traditionally the domain of budget brands – shoehorned into tinny/plasticky base models.
But increasingly, mainstream brands have looked to developing engines that can eke out every drop of performance and fuel efficiency. This is certainly true of Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which has been tuned precisely to make the most of its power to create a driving experience that’s actually engaging.
Squeezing 92kW and 170Nm of torque is impressive for an engine that is fractionally larger than what can be found in a motorcycle. Thanks to the Fiesta’s engineering, it feels a lot lighter and zippier when taking off from a standstill.
In terms of practicality, the Fiesta comes with a 267-litre boot and 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating – thanks to a host of active and passive safety features, including seven airbags and electronic braking suite.
Fuel economy is, predictably, fantastic from the 1.0-litre engine. Ford claims 4.9L/100km in the manual and 5.3L in the automatic, and it prefers to sip rather than gulp over that figure if you feel like getting your boy (or girl) racer on. And good news is that it will drink e10 fuel – but if you want the most out of your Fiesta, 95/98RON premium is what you really want to be filling up with.
Space up-front is wonderful – as a true racer should be. Rear legroom can start to crowd taller passengers, and it'll start to get testy on longer trips.
The Fiesta range starts at $15,990 (drive away) for the Ambiente manual ending up at the range topping hot hatch ST at $25,990 (plus on-roads.)
Automatic transmissions run at a $2,060 premium cost in all models except the manual-only ST. Premium paint is a $385 (manufacturer list price.)
A ‘Sports Executive Pack’ is also available as an addition for the Fiesta Sport – which adds rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, rear parking sensors, climate control and keyless entry/push button start.
My test car was priced at $23,435 drive away, based on current offers (including auto transmission and premium paint.)
The Ford Fiesta has evolved rapidly since replacing the Festiva in 2002. The current style has been on sale since 2009, with the model getting its current facelift touches for the 2014 model year to keep it competitive in a crowded marketplace.
The introduction of the EcoBoost engine into the range, sharp styling and keen pricing has really put the Fiesta at an advantage to corner the warm hatch market.
Go-kart handling, sleek lines and wallet-friendly pricing all add up to a sporty hatch that’s as fun during the work week as it is racing out of town on the weekend.
Motorama Ford has the entire Fiesta range ready for you to jump in and take a spin; so why not come down and see why the Fiesta is a party worth going to.