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First drive: Ford Fiesta Black Edition. Image by Ford.

First drive: Ford Fiesta Black Edition
Ford's brilliant 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine gets taken to 140hp for the new Red and Black Edition Fiestas.

   



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| First Drive | Goodwood, England | Ford Fiesta Black Edition |

Overall rating: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

As a halfway house model between the rest of the excellent Ford Fiesta range and the absolutely sensational ST, these new Red and Black Edition models - with 140hp, some styling addenda and minor dynamic tweaks - are pretty much faultless. The only issue is the purchase price.

Key Facts

Model tested: Ford Fiesta Black Edition
Pricing: 15,995
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: three-door hatchback
Rivals: Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa
CO2 emissions: 104g/km
Combined economy: 62.8mpg
Top speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 9.0 seconds
Power: 140hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 210Nm at 2,000rpm (on overboost)

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Taking their sporty styling cues from the Fiesta ST, the obvious thing to note about the Red and Black Editions is that they are both, erm... red and black. The Red predominantly has its body in that colour with black detailing, the Black is the inverse. And, for our money, the Red wears its startling paint job better than the Black. So, naturally, we drove a Black.

Elsewhere, it's largely as is with the Fiesta range, so you get a pretty body, plenty of practicality and a decent dashboard that is just starting to lag behind some competitors' offerings. To sum up what specifically your money buys, the Red/Black Fiestas get the front grille surrounds, front splitter and mirror caps in contrasting colours, either Panther Black 16-inch alloys or optional 17-inch wheels, sports bumpers front and rear with commensurate side skirts and a rear spoiler, plus a roof painted in the contrast colour, not wrapped or stickered up. Inside, there's gloss black trim scattered around, a leather sports steering wheel and gear lever gaiter (both featuring red stitching), black floor mats with yet more red stitching and charcoal black sport seats in 'Ultimate' material with contrasting (yes) red stitching and bolster exteriors.

Driving it: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Some stats about the new 140hp EcoBoost engine: it's the most powerful 1.0-litre unit in the world at the moment and it develops more hp-per-litre than a Bugatti Veyron, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari 458 Speciale or Porsche 911 Turbo. Impressive stuff with which to boast to your mates down the pub. The 'Fox' EcoBoost has also just won the 2014 International Engine of the Year Award, making it an unprecedented third overall victory in a row for the tiny motor.

To achieve the 12 per cent power increase over the 125hp iteration, it has new settings for turbo boost control and valve timings, a tweaked intercooler and revised throttle management to kick out the peak power figure. It also makes a healthy 210Nm maximum torque figure, on overboost, which is 10Nm up on the lesser 1.0-litre. Yet Ford still claims it coughs up the same fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions as the 125hp, at 62.8mpg and 104g/km respectively.

Never mind whether that's true or not in reality; it is a cracking motor. You perhaps wouldn't notice the difference easily between it and a 125hp, but driven back-to-back with a 100hp 1.0-litre Fiesta, the Black's extra verve is marked. It feels so willing and keen to rev that its quoted 0-62mph actually comes across as conservative. It doesn't lob any extra torque-steer into the mix and has the pleasant three-cylinder thrum of all EcoBoost-powered Fiestas.

Part of this perceived extra vivacity might be down to the fact that Ford has fiddled with the gear ratios for the five-speed manual transmission, while it has also beefed up the power steering rack for more feedback, and toughened up the suspension, dropping the car 10mm in the process. The outcome is that the Black feels exactly as you might expect according to its market positioning; it has a more nervous, agitated ride than a cooking Fiesta but is nowhere near as stiffly sprung as the ST, meaning it should be easier to live with day-to-day, while the weight and precision of all its controls bless it with a suitably driver-focused character. Dynamically, it's another cracker and a great companion in the range for the out-and-out performance ST.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

You get a great-looking car, a marvellous engine that has incredible stats, performance and charisma, and the sort of brilliant chassis we've come to expect from Ford. The problem is, at 15,995 the Red/Black cars are just 1,000 off an entry-level ST. The Red/Black Editions do not possess any equipment that the base ST lacks and as good as these newcomers are, the sublime ST really is worth the extra money. Even if you have to live with a rental-spec version because you're pushing your budget to the limit.

Worth Noting

In recent times, the warm Fiesta beneath the full-on ST in the range is the Zetec S and essentially the Red/Black Editions are option boxes you can tick when ordering a Zetec S. For the time being, the 'standard' 1.0-litre Zetec S Fiesta continues in the range, without any of the Red/Black styling or mechanical tweaks and still running the 125hp state of tune. However, it's pretty clear that before long, the Zetec S will benefit from the 140hp powerplant as well. At 14,995 and with a smoother ride, it might well be the better bet for those who can't stomach the ST's bouncy demeanour.

Summary

If you like the daring exterior treatment, which does at least make the Red and Black Editions purposeful, then the only other question to ask yourself is: can I afford the extra 1,000 for a Fiesta ST? If the answer to that is 'no', either a Red or Black would be a superb warm hatch that could be driven daily; there's little to fault about any of the major controls, the interior or the most powerful version of the 1.0-litre three-pot. We'd recommend the Red, as it looks just a tiny bit classier than the Black.


Matt Robinson - 30 Jun 2014



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2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.



2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red and Black Editions. Image by Ford.
 






 

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