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Ford Fiesta 1.4 Zetec: Test Drive

Date: 23 February 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Category: Supermini
P11D price: £11,667
Key rival: Vauxhall Corsa

When asked to name what would be the most popular Fiesta spec at the car's launch, Ford pointed to the Zetec trim level.

Ford has been generous to the 35% of Fiesta buyers that will end up in a Zetec, and the standard kit means that you won't be casting too many envious glances at owners of top-spec cars. A CD player with an aux input, powered and heated wing mirrors and Ford's amazing Quickclear heated windscreen are all included.

However, most of the added bits contribute to looks rather than practicality. The car has had a hefty dose of chrome on the front grille, boot-lid and window line, while inside there are leather touches on the gear lever and steering wheel.

We're tested the 1.4-litre petrol with a five-speed manual gearbox, and around town the 96PS engine does admirably - it is peppy enough to be able to dart into small gaps in traffic without feeling laboured. At higher speeds it was a little less comfortable and almost strained on the motorway. This is shown in part by the 12.2secs it takes to get to 62mph; the car is much happier in a 0-20mph sprint.

The handling, though, is fantastic, and every bit as responsive as the engine, making the Fiesta even more fun to drive, while the steering is sharp.

Despite this enjoyment, Ford has kept driving expenses reasonable. An insurance group rating of four, emissions of 133g/km and a claimed combined consumption of nearly 50mpg all help to keep costs down to 29.0 pence a mile.

A P11D of £11,667 will neither drive buyers away nor bring them running to forecourts, but beware of added costs. For example, Ford has taken a great lead in adding ESP anti-skid control as standard to the entire Focus range, but this has not been extended to the Fiesta, where you are still expected to cough up nearly £300. However, this is a criticism that can be applied to other rivals in this segment.

Ford Fiesta 1.4i Zetec 5dr man
P11D price£11,667
Model price range£8514-£12,744
Fuel consumption49.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 133g/km/15%
BIK 20/40% per month£29/£58
Service interval12,500mls
Insurancegroup 4
Boot space (min/max)295/979 litres
Engine size/power1388cc/96PS
Top speed/0-62mph109mph/12.2secs
On sale now
VerdictFun to drive, great to
look at, cheap to run
and well equipped


Fun to drive, great to look at, cheap to run and well equipped