DB wrote a while ago that the Ford Ka is somewhat disappointing and now just ‘a small Fiesta’. In my opinion, the only improvement stemming from the new Ka is that you aren’t guaranteed to die in a crash; many other issues (including ‘Ka’ being a pronunciation mystery) remain. So why do Ford continue to produce the Ka when they have already created the pinnacle of ‘first car’ design? That too is a mystery, but believe me, if you’re new to driving, you can’t do much better than a Fiesta.
Due to this car’s popularity amongst my age group, I’ve been exposed to the Fiesta quite a lot. Indeed, I travel to school in one almost every morning although, due to my deficiency in age, I do not drive it myself. There are plenty of good reasons why the Fiesta is so popular with 17/18 year olds, as I shall now try to convince you:
If we start with the exterior, there’s little else out there that can match the Fiesta’s stylish and edgy good looks (those of you with an obsessive knowledge of Ford trim levels may have understood that joke…). If we assume that you’ll be looking on the used, or, at the very least, pre-registered market, as you should do if this is a first car, there’s little else that makes as much sense and looks as good as the Fiesta. The Volkswagen Fox, for example, will offer a car of the similar age and running costs but its looks are comparatively repugnant. The 3-door Fiesta’s the one to go for here as it looks a lot neater, your friends will be able-bodied enough to maneuver into the back, and there’s less car for you to damage.
Inside, the Fiesta is great. Even in its 3-door form, there’s plentiful room all round. My 6′ 3″ self can sit in the back seats with headroom to spare, allbeit with the front seat a little forward, and in comfort. 5 people might get a little cramped, but it is still perfectly practical and that’s before you see the even more surprising boot space which is more than sufficient for everyday tasks.
The dashboard and gadgetry is, again, better than you might have come to expect when hearing the term ‘student car’. The layout is modern and good looking and plastics are of suitable quality, even if they could have integrated the system with fewer buttons, but all the functions are easily navigable. Only the most basic studio trim lacks a multi-function steering wheel and mp3 player connectivity is standard across all models for these technologically savvy young drivers.
There’s a range of options and trim levels available for the Fiesta but only a few are truly relevant. The engine to go for is the 1.25l petrol, but there are 2 different powered versions for some reason. The higher powered 82PS version should be the engine you look out for on the used market as it will make the transition from the instructor’s likely larger car easier. The trim level to go for is Edge which is almost exactly mid-range. Because you’ll be buying on the used market, you can award yourself some luxury as the Edge also adds air conditioning. Try to secure a car with the city pack which will add parking sensors and folding mirrors which should go some way to disguising your poor parking ability. And so for the specification of the Edge 1.25 82PS 3dr:
Price: From £5000 used to around £12000 new
Power/Torque: 80bhp 84lb/ft
Max. Speed: 104mph
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph in 13.3 seconds
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
Insurance Group: 6
VED Band: D
Some very good figures there and you’ll notice that the more powerful engine will make a difference, especially with passengers, whilst you only lose a fraction of the fuel efficiency. Of course, there are more interesting and unique options for a first car, but nothing right now will offer you the same mix of practicality of cheap motoring for the price of a used Fiesta. The Volkswagen Up! should come very close but we won’t start seeing those for a reasonable price used for at least another year. DB has also previously noted that Ford sell and have sold cars such as the Fiesta in hideous colours, and I agree when he says these are to be avoided – nobody wants a vomit green car or a colour called ‘fasionista’.
You’ll have noticed that I’ve not given the Fiesta a star rating, and I’m not going to. As a first car, it’s flawless but if you’re older, I’m sure you can obtain something more prestigious. To award them for their efforts, however, I am going to adorn the Fiesta with 0to60reviews’ Bloody Good Car award but if the Fiesta Saloon ever enters the UK, I shall remove this award at once. I shudder just thinking about it…