The new Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback is a car that just gets better with each passing year. It gets better to drive, cheaper to run – and it gets a whole lot sexier. Slick, fun and affordable, it’s hard to find a fault with this small Hatchback.
The leader of the pack? Definitely. That said, the SEAT Ibiza and the Skoda Fabia have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, too. Have they got enough to sway your buying decision?
Ford has a long history as a car manufacturer, read more about it here.
OSV takes a closer look with our 2018 Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback review.
Overview of the Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback
On the Road
The Fiesta is a fine handler and its driving experience gets a solid 5/5 from us. This represents a huge turnaround for a car that was so bland at the end of the nineties. For the last few years, however, it’s been the most fun car to drive in its class. It’s precise, engaging and it beats its rivals hands down.
In 2018, Ford didn’t have to do a lot to make sure it stays at the top of the tree. Just a few tweaks have been made, and the car is now stiffer than last time, while its front wheels are 30mm wider apart. This means it’s more stable in bends, while one or two front-end tweaks have resulted in more feel.
Ford claim that grip has been boosted by 10%, while stability has – allegedly – been enhanced by electronic torque vectoring. This is smart technology, although we question just how much of an impact it actually has.
The braking system has undoubtedly been improved by the introduction of rear brake discs, however.
In terms of its diesel engines, there’s just one available. It’s a 1.5-litre unit that’s offered with either 118bhp or 84bhp. The bigger of the two comes paired up with a 6-speed gearbox and can do 0-62 in an impressive 9.0 seconds. It’s not quite as characterful as the petrols but it’s still an engine that’s easy to recommend. It also isn’t afflicted by diesel rattle.
The smaller 84bhp variant is a lot slower, taking 12.5 seconds to complete the 0-62 sprint. That sounds like it’s strolling, but there’s plenty of pulling power on offer so that it feels at home in the towns and the cities, as well as out on the motorway.
It’s not too loud either – well, until you work it hard anyway.
Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback Interior, Design and Build
The Fiesta boasts a trendy cabin that looks good and feels good. In other words, interior quality is good and can now match some of the more upmarket models in this sector.
Fit and finish is better than last time, comfort has also been improved, as has insulation. For the latter, Ford have now added an acoustic windscreen and engine mountings – and they’ve worked.
Design-wise, the Fiesta feels more grown-up than ever. Build quality is good and the cabin looks like a welcoming, very “adult” place to be. A 4.2” colour display is standard on the cheaper models, and the instrument cluster is – for the most part – easy to use.
Move up to a higher spec model and you get a 6.5” SYNC infotainment system, while the Titanium models come with an 8” screen that probably looks a bit too big.
Is the Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback practical? It’s certainly easy to drive and park, thanks to its compact dimensions, and visibility is mostly good – but thick C pillars and a small rear windscreen will cause issues.
Interior space is better than ever, and rear seated passengers are now much better accommodated. You can choose from a five or a three-door model, and the former is very family friendly.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 292-litres if you keep the parcel shelf in place. Removing it and folding the rear seats allows you to boost capacity to 1,093-litres.
Is the Ford reliabile? Read our honest assessment here.
Equipment and Safety of the Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback
Standard kit across the range is good. The Zetec is now the entry-level model, and it comes with Bluetooth, remote-control central locking, electric windows and air conditioning.
The Style model adds 15” alloys, Apple CarPlay compatibility, an upgraded stereo and daytime running lights.
The Titanium model is our favourite; it nets you twin-zone climate control, keyless go, cruise control, power folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, auto dipping headlights and 16” alloys. The Titanium X model rounds things off with part-leather heated front seats, electric rear windows and a heated steering wheel.
In terms of how safe the car is, the Fiesta scored 5/5 when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. It scored well for both child and adult occupant protection, but a 64% score for pedestrian protection is a bit low.
Driver assistance is just 60%, which is also average, while standard safety kit includes lane keeping assistance and lane departure warning – but autonomous emergency braking is optional.
Costs of the Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback
Prices for the new car start out from £13,165 and rise to £21,680. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 1.5-litre 84bhp diesel is the most frugal in the range, but if you want it to be as cheap to run as possible you’ll need to choose the three-door model. It can return 88.3mpg at best and emits 82g/km of CO2, which gives it an impressive BiK rating of 20%.
The five-door version is spectacularly economical too, however, and can return 85.6mpg on a good day.
The 118bhp variant is also relatively cheap to run and can return fuel economy of 80.6mpg.
Pros and Cons of the Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback
Great fun to drive
Imagine what would happen if the most fun car to drive in a class got even more fun? That’s what you’ve got here.
With returns of 88.3mpg at best, the Fiesta is one of the most economical conventional cars on the planet.
It’s sharply styled and will look great on anyone’s drive.
Harder plastics still lingering around
Even the range-topping model is marred by harder plastics.
Not a lot of safety kit for the lower spec models
Some of the most useful stuff is optional.
Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback vs SEAT Ibiza vs Skoda Fabia
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback review.
Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback vs SEAT Ibiza
The new SEAT Ibiza is spacious, stylish and – for the most part – quiet.
On the road, it handles well. It’s not quite as sharp as the Fiesta, but it isn’t far off. It’s secure, despite being so small, and its weight is evenly distributed across all of its wheels. This makes the car feel well-planted at all times, which boosts confidence.
The steering, however, lacks feel, although it is nice and precise. On the whole, the Fiesta is more fun to drive, but the SEAT is one of the smoothest and comfortable cars around.
In terms of its engines, the Ibiza was without diesels until a few months after it was launched. There’s now a 1.6-litre unit available, and it comes in two guises. The smallest of the two develops 80bhp, while the bigger variant produces 94bhp.
The 80bhp is a bit on the slow side and takes 13.3 seconds to complete the 0-62 dash, while the 94bhp has a lot more urgency. It’s better for overtaking, but its extra power tails off as the revs increase.
Neither variant is as well suited to the SEAT as the petrols but if running costs are a priority of yours, the numbers are good. Both emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and both return 74.3mpg. However, they cost more to buy than the petrols in the first place, so there are things to weigh up.
Inside, the Ibiza’s cabin is well-built, comfortable and an overall pleasant place to spend your time on the road. It looks a lot like its predecessor, but that isn’t too much of a bad thing. It means its layout is simple but tasteful, while fit and finish have improved. The soft-touch surfaces are pleasing to the eye and touch, and SEAT have used less harder plastics than last time.
Is the SEAT Ibiza practical? It’s a bit bigger than last time, and can now fit four adults without any hassle. There’s room for a fifth, but we wouldn’t recommend squeezing one in there on a longer journey.
Storage solutions are good and include a decent glovebox, while wide opening rear doors make access easy.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 335-litres, which is very impressive for a car of this type.
Ford – £13,165 – £21,680
SEAT – £14,000 – £19,300
Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback vs Skoda Fabia
The new Skoda Fabia Hatchback is spacious, practical and comfortable. But is it a match for the Fiesta on the road?
In terms of straight up driver enjoyment, the Fiesta wins. The Fabia is nice and stable even at speed, but it’s never really what you could call fun to drive – and nothing has changed on that front.
Body lean is a bit of an issue in bends, and the steering definitely isn’t as sporty as the Fiestas.
On the other hand, the Skoda is comfortable and refined enough.
In terms of its engines, there’s only one diesel available. This is a 1.4-litre unit that’s available in two separate guises. The smallest of the two develops 88bhp and blends economy with performance to good effect, but we prefer the bigger 104bhp variant. It’s smooth, not as noisy as last time, and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in 10.1 seconds.
It feels quite punch and can return a very respectable 67mpg. For high mileage drivers, it’s the sensible choice. However, the smaller engine is capable of returning 72.4mpg, which will make it more attractive to those on a budget. Specifying the DSG automatic gearbox will see those numbers drop to 70.6mpg, though.
Inside, the Fabia can boast better quality than the car it replaces. Its dashboard is logically arranged, its touch points feel nice to the touch – but ultimately it falls behind Volkswagen products and the Fiesta when it comes to overall quality. There isn’t enough use of soft-touch plastics, and there are still too many harder ones here and there.
The cabin looks smart enough at least, and the MirrorLink infotainment system is easy to use.
Is the Skoda Fabia Hatchback practical? Its 330-litre boot trumps the Fiesta by some margin and is the biggest in this class. In fact, its boot is even bigger than the Ford Focus. It’s usefully shaped and can be extended to 1,150-litres by folding the rear seats.
Other than that, a high roofline ensures lots of headroom, the steering wheel is rake and reach adjustable, and there are more than enough storage spaces dotted around the place.
Skoda – £10,495 – £18,675
Verdict of our 2018 Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback
Now into its eighth generation, the Fiesta is back with a bang and a fizz. It’s one of our favourite ever cars and continues to impress with handling adeptness, stylish looks and ridiculously economical engines.
And if you’ve always been interested in the Fiesta before but never taken a chance because it’s too small for your family, the new Ford Fiesta Diesel Hatchback is bigger, more practical and more family-friendly than ever.