· FF Founder
There is no getting away from the fact that the new Ford Fiesta is proving to be a fantastically successful range of three and five door hatchbacks. It continues to be the UK's best selling car by a long way.
But you do not need potential customers slipping through the sales net so the range has to offer every possible choice whether it be petrol or diesel engines, 'eco' or sporty performance versions, three and five door body layouts and of course manual and automatic transmissions.
The introduction of a 4-speed, torque converter automatic transmission with a clutchless manual gearchange setting as well completes the Fiesta line-up.
The new auto box is only available with the 1.4-litre 96PS petrol engine but this unit is the core sales choice anyway. Unfortunately 'proper' automatic gearboxes do not come cheap so the Fiesta auto is £1,000 expensive than the 1.4-litre manual model.
Fiesta auto prices start from £13,795 on-the-road. There is the option of three and five door body styles with Style+, Zetec and Titanium trim levels. Around 10% of small car buyers choose and automatic model so in a full year Ford can expect to sell nearly 10,000 units of this additional new Fiesta.
The qualities of the new Fiestas are well known, great to drive, comfortable, refined and it sets the standard for 'supermini' sized cars.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine is lively enough and pretty fuel efficient. It now handles the automatic transmission pretty well. The acceleration is dulled somewhat but with 0-62mph taking 13.9 seconds; I could live with that quite happily.
Ford says the electronic throttle responses have been tuned and sharpened up to accommodate the auto gearbox application. The performance didn't appear lazy or lack-lustre as you get with most small engines coupled to an automatic box.
With our stop-start British motoring conditions the desire to have a car with an automatic gearbox is getting stronger. It takes the stress and wear and tear out of driving if you spend a long time behind the wheel. Given the shortage of space on our roads and the difficulties with parking, the automatic compact Fiesta seems like an ideal marriage.
Officially the Fiesta auto will return 43.4mpg on average and my test car, a 3-door Titanium model, came up with a 36.2mpg figure for a combination of motorway, rural and town driving so I think that is a realistic figure.
For the record the CO2 emissions are 154g/km so there will be an annual road tax cost of £150.
Text Source: motortorque.com