The Ford Fiesta is the 2019 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
Britain’s best-selling car is also one of the most accomplished models on the market. Brits love the Ford Fiesta for all the same reasons we do, and there are plenty of them.
For a start, the Fiesta is incredibly affordable, whether you’re buying outright or on PCP finance, and there’s a huge variety of versions, including three and five-door variants, as well as a range of trim levels and engine options to suit your budget.
The highlight is the 99bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost – although this engine is available with more power if you want it. Whichever version you go for, the motor is punchier than you might think, thanks to the torque that the small turbo delivers, giving lively acceleration and strong fuel economy.
Ford’s secret weapon in its hatchback range is how good its cars are to drive, and the Fiesta is the best example. The steering is quick and well weighted, and the suspension set-up ensures that the chassis has plenty of agility and adjustability for a supermini, meaning that there’s lots of fun to be had without the Fiesta losing its composure.
It’s that last trait that means that the latest version is comfortable, too, because the Ford rides smoothly and matches its rivals for refinement. The Fiesta balances youthful agility and refined maturity deftly in the areas where you really want both qualities.
This eighth-generation Fiesta really pushed the nameplate to the front of the class when it comes to tech as well, because Ford’s new SYNC3 infotainment is a big step up. The eight-inch screen on our pick of the range, Zetec trim, features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with sat-nav on some models as well. It’s easy to use, responds quickly and looks good.
A new interior in this latest model helped the Fiesta catch up with rivals when it comes to quality, and there are plenty of storage areas around the cabin. Its 311-litre boot is big enough for most tasks supermini buyers will use it for – and now the Fiesta can even occasionally operate as a small family car, because it’s that versatile.
Our choice Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100 Zetec 5dr (£16,720)
Even in relatively modest Zetec trim, the Fiesta still comes with plenty of equipment. Sat-nav isn’t included, but most buyers will have a smartphone that can provide navigation through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay if needed. Go for the 99bhp 1.0 EcoBoost engine because it’s economical, yet still has enough performance to have some fun with – and higher-powered versions don’t feel that much quicker.
A facelift in 2018 saw the addition of more personalisation options and some styling tweaks, but the fundamentals of the recipe didn’t change – and that’s good, because the MINI is a brilliant premium hatch. The Cooper model’s 1.5-litre engine is superb, while the chassis is great, too. The more practical five-door model makes the most sense.
The Ibiza is one of the roomiest superminis around, and it’s nearly as good to drive as the Fiesta, so it’s right up there with our winner here. The Spanish model has great infotainment and a wide range of turbocharged petrol engines that are punchy and efficient. Plus the SEAT is just as good value for money as its competitor from Ford.
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