Let me introduce you to a new recruit to the Fast Fleet this month - a Ford Fiesta Zetec S. If, like me upon my first encounter with the car, you’re shrugging your shoulders, looking it up and down and thinking ‘Whatever’, take a closer look, a real hard look, and tell me you don’t think it’s cool. The sharp lines, the sweeping lights, the bulging arches, the Gallardo-style door mirrors, the spanner-shaped alloy spokes, the ready-to-pounce stance… Admit it. It looks pretty good, doesn’t it?
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The car-buying public would seem to agree, too, as last year the Fiesta was the UK’s best-selling car by a mile, shifting 177,296 units and taking the number one spot away from the Focus. That’s no mean feat, as the Focus has topped the chart for the last ten years. The Fiesta was also the only car to enjoy increasing sales in recession-hit 2009, and if the Zetec S is anything to go by, you can understand why, as it’s surprisingly well equipped as standard.
There’s a 118bhp engine, lower, stiffer suspension, 16in alloys, an ‘aero kit’, sports seats, air-con and an iPod connection, all for £15,623 on the road. Being evo, we’ve added a few trinkets, including the ‘Street Pack’, consisting of privacy glass, 17in alloys and ESP, plus Bluetooth and voice control, a USB connection, metallic paint, rear parking sensors and a spare wheel. That takes the final price to £16,905, though, which puts it in the same bracket as a basic Clio 200 Cup, Mini Cooper S or SEAT Ibiza Cupra. Tough opposition…
The Fiesta and I have a bit of bonding to do, as this will be the first time I’ve run a Ford. In the past I’ve owned both a mk1 and a mk2 Golf GTI, which tends to rule out going anywhere near a car sporting a Blue Oval. It would be like a Liverpool supporter wearing blue. It just doesn’t happen. The sharp exterior design is certainly helping to win me round, though. It has a real up-to-date feel and I can certainly see the Ford family DNA, with plenty of styling cues from its big brother, the Focus RS. John Barker described the Zetec S as looking like ‘a large car shrunk; it hasn’t got those cute big headlamps you expect from this kind of car’. He’s got a point.
The interior came as a pleasant surprise too, with a variety of textures on the seats and an unusual rough feel to the top of the blue(!) dash. Some real thought has clearly gone into it. It will take some time to figure out what all the buttons do, though – there are enough to have a 747 captain reaching for the instructions!
First impressions? Generally good, though you have to rev the nuts off it to make decent progresss. No doubt there’ll be more to come as it loosens up. So far the Fiesta is turning out to be less ‘whatever’ and more ‘what a laugh’.
|Date acquired||May 2010|
|Costs this month||£50 (rolling road)|
|Mileage this month||895|
|MPG this month||37.3|