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First drive: 2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.

First drive: 2022 Ford Fiesta Active
Ford has given the Fiesta a selection of minor updates, but is that enough to keep it at the top of the class?

   



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2022 Ford Fiesta Active Vignale 1.0 EcoBoost mHEV 125

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The Ford Fiesta is a bit of a legend in automotive circles. That's not because it's especially expensive or remarkable in terms of performance, but because it's one of the UK's most popular cars. Or at least it was. Supply shortages have dented sales, but Ford has still seen fit to revamp the car that was once king of all it surveyed. Changes are admittedly minor, but we tested a rugged-looking Active model to find out whether they add up to make a big difference.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Ford Fiesta Active Vignale 1.0 EcoBoost mHEV 125
Price: £28,305 as tested
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol mild-hybrid
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 125hp
Torque: 170Nm
Emissions: 127g/km
Economy: 50.4mpg
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Top speed: 124mph
Boot space: 311 litres

Styling

Ford hasn't changed the Fiesta design all that much, so it's still instantly recognisable. There's a new grille with a floating Ford logo in the centre, and there are some new lights and some new colours. Otherwise, it's much the same as before, and this Active model is set apart by its slightly raised ride height and some rugged body cladding, which gives it a slightly chunkier look. However, if you prefer a sportier image, you can always go for the ST-Line models with their body kits and sports suspension.

Interior

While Ford might not have done much to the Fiestaís exterior, the Blue Oval has done even less inside. That isnít so bad, because the Fiesta feels modern and well built, with some good materials and excellent build quality for a car in this class. Compared with its rivals, it even feels a cut above the larger Focus when it comes to quality.

Unlike the Focus, the Fiesta hasnít been bestowed with the latest-generation Sync4 infotainment system, and instead has to make do with the old Sync3 unit. That isnít so bad Ė the Sync3 system is very clear and easy to use Ė but it doesnít quite have the functionality or the modernity of the newer system.

At least Ford has added some new technology in the form of the digital instrument display, which is available on higher-spec cars. It isnít the cleverest system of its type Ė itís a bit smaller and less configurable than that of the VW Polo Ė but itís easy to read, easy to navigate and the display is pin sharp, even in bright sunlight.

Practicality

The Fiesta comes with a good amount of cabin space, given its diminutive proportions. There's as much rear space as anything else in the class, so fitting four adults won't be a problem unless they're exceptionally tall. It might be a bit cramped for really long journeys, but there'll be no complaints for any trip shorter than an hour or so. Boot space is slightly less impressive, however, with 311 litres of luggage capacity, compared with 351 litres in the Volkswagen Polo. That said, 311 litres should suit most drivers, and you can always fold down the back seats to free up a substantially larger space.

Performance

The Fiesta is available with a choice of petrol engines (the diesel was quietly canned a while ago), most of which are turbocharged and/or available with mild-hybrid technology. The entry-level option is the 1.1-litre, 75hp motor that's only available on basic Trend models, but the bulk of the range is made up of Ford's award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engines. There's a choice of three power outputs, ranging from 100hp to 155hp, with a mid-range 125hp version in the middle. That's the engine we tried, in mild-hybrid form and with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Every engine in the core Fiesta range is efficient, returning more than 50mpg on the official economy test, although the 200hp 1.5-litre motor in the ST model isn't quite so frugal. And with 125hp on tap, our test car had more than adequate poke, achieving 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds and hitting a top speed of 124mph. We'd opt for the slick manual transmission over the automatic, but that's a question of preference, rather than an indication that there's something wrong with the auto. Ford's gearboxes are usually excellent, and this one is no exception.

Ride & Handling

The Active model is, perhaps, not the best example of the Fiesta breed when it comes to ride and handling. The high-riding hatchback doesnít have a lot more ground clearance than the Titanium models, but itís just enough to compromise the suspension slightly. Even so, the Fiesta Active drives well, with keen steering and lots of grip from the front end. The body rolls quite a lot, as you might expect, but itís well controlled and it bodes well for more road-orientated versions of the Fiesta.

In the past, the Active has also had a slightly firmer ride than the standard Fiesta, although comfort has never been the carís focus. The new model still rides slightly awkwardly at times, although itís never too jarring or uncomfortable, even over quite severe bumps. Again, itís a strong showing for a car of this ilk.

However, those choosing the Active for its off-road credentials will be disappointed. Thereís no all-wheel-drive option and there are no clever off-road assistance systems Ė just a marginally increased amount of ground clearance. Most customers wonít care, but those who do want an all-wheel-drive hatchback might be better served by a Fiat Panda or a Suzuki Swift.

Value

The Fiesta range is quite large, and it splits into three distinct branches once you pass the basic Trend trim. The conventional next step is the Titanium, but customers could instead choose the sporty ST-Line or the rugged Active seen here. All three are available in more luxurious Vignale trims, and there's a go-faster ST model at the top of the range.

Ford is having trouble building Fiestas at the moment, so prices are a bit of an unknown. Indeed, Ford isn't even advertising prices on its website. However, we know our Active Vignale-spec test car cost a little over £28,000 with options, but it did come with an automatic gearbox. An entry-level Trend model with the basic 1.1-litre engine and manual transmission would probably come in at well below £20,000. That makes the Fiesta roughly the same price as the Polo, which starts at just under £19,000.

Verdict

The Fiesta might not have changed much, but then it didn't need to. With great handling, efficient engines and competitive amounts of interior space, it's still one of the best small hatchbacks you can buy. We'd steer clear of the Active models, however, because they cost more but add little in terms of capability.



James Fossdyke - 11 Aug 2022



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2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.

2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Fiesta Active. Image by Ford.







 

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