That last point is particularly pertinent given the Fiesta’s launch coincides with the arrival of the new and already highly acclaimed Seat Ibiza, a car that brings newfound levels of space to what we will surely at some point have to stop referring to as the ‘supermini’ class.
Sure enough, the Fiesta has grown in size (by a full 7cm in length), although the gains in interior space aren’t as great as one might expect. The boot, for example, swells by a meagre 10 litres in the five-door model, which means it’s still 50 shy of the Ibiza. Nor do the rear seats feel that much more spacious for one tall adult to travel behind another.
Climb in the front, however, and any reservations start to melt away. For a start, Ford’s new dashboard is a triumph, combining neat design with a responsive touchscreen (up to 8 inches in size), yet retaining proper buttons for the most important controls. Set off on your journey and, within a mile, you just know the old Fiesta magic is still there.
The engine range at launch consists of a 1.1-litre petrol with either 69bhp or 84bhp, plus three versions of Ford’s highly acclaimed 1.0-litre Ecoboost (99, 123 or 138bhp) or a 1.5-litre diesel with 84 or 118bhp. The 1.1 gets a five-speed manual whereas all others come with six gears including, in the case of the Ecoboost, an optional torque converter automatic. We’d be inclined to avoid the 1.1 or the 1.5 diesel not because they are any worse than units found in rivals, but simply because Ford’s Ecoboost is so inherently good, combining the quiet, smooth and high-revving nature of a petrol triple with the low- to mid-range punch of a turbodiesel. It’s a shame Ford’s manual gearbox has lost a little of its satisfyingly robust action in the transition from Fiesta Mk7 to Mk8, but the driving experience remains otherwise unharmed.