For example, both the 1.25 and 1.6-litre petrol units are dated and really show it. They creak and groan on the move like an old man with a bad back, with the former taking 13.3 seconds to cover the 0-62mph ‘dash’. Slow poke! The 1.6-litre is quicker, and can do it in just 10.5 seconds, but it’s noisy on the motorway and feels underwhelming.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines are much better rivals to the Clio. They come in a few power guises, are lively, smooth, quiet and eager. A 1.5-litre diesel engine rounds off the range after a few more sprightly petrols. Available in either 72 or 93bhp power guise, the diesel is a reasonable performer that’s well suited to the motorway.
Running costs are as expected for such a small car – low. Most models are capable or returning fuel economy of at least 65mpg, but the cheapest to run is unsurprisingly the diesel. It’s good for 88mpg and costs nothing in road tax. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol makes much more sense if you’ll be using the car mostly for shorter journeys, and it’s also free to tax.
The Fiesta’s interior is no let-down. The overall quality is high, and there is plenty of comfort. The cabin design matches the exterior when it comes to boldness – you get a sweeping dash that comes with a centrally mounted screen, while we especially like the neat blue needles for that act as dials.
The fit and finish is a bit flimsy, but there are lots of soft touch plastics here and there, especially in the top half of the interior. Look a little further, and you’ll find evidence of cheaper materials.
The Fiesta is not massively practical, and cramped rear seats will be a bit of a sore point in both the Ford and the Renault Clio. There is the option of a three-door model, but this limits practically even more, although it looks more stylish than the five-door variant. There are plenty of useful storage spaces dotted about here and there, including large cup holders in the centre console, while the boot measures 290-litres. This can be extended to 974 by folding the rear seats down.
Renault – £11,55 – £18,355
Ford – £13,400 – £18,600