Car reviews - Ford - Fiesta - Sport 1.0 EcoBoost
Great engine with broad torque band and outstanding fuel economy, fun to drive with good handling and performance, stylish looks
Room for improvement
No satellite navigation, busy media system controls, small display screen, no centre armrest
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14 Nov 2014
Price and Equipment
THE Fiesta Sport sits near the top of the Fiesta line-up – save for the ST performance hatch – and it is priced from $20,525, plus on-road costs in five-speed manual form and $22,525 for the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, sports-tuned suspension, front fog-lights, halogen projector headlights, leather-appointed sports seats, Bluetooth and Ford’s SYNC connectivity system, Sony audio system with eight speakers and four-inch display screen, air-conditioning, ambient lighting, front door scuff plates, leather wrapped steering wheel and rear spoiler.
The Sports Executive Pack can be optioned for $1000. This brings climate control, rear-parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, perimeter alarm, Ford smart key and ignition button.
Satellite navigation, however, is a glaring omission in the features list.
At this end of the light-car segment you could get into a top-spec Kia Rio SLi ($19,990), a mid-spec Honda Jazz ($19,790), a 1.2-litre Renault Clio Expression ($20,290), Volkswagen’s Polo 77TSI ($19,240) or Holden’s Barina RS warm-hatch ($20,990), but none of them have that sweet 1.0-litre triple.
But more on that later…Interior
Ford has done well to bring high quality and stylish interiors to its most affordable line-up on the market and the extra touches which are added to the Sport’s cabin give it a premium and sporty feel.
The dashboard wraps around its front occupants, its sculptured design flowing through into the doors. Red ambient down-lighting floods the footwell, while those bolstered seats with leather inserts don’t just look good, they’re comfortable and supportive, too.
The sporty seating is carried into back, although it’s here that leg and headroom becomes limited. This writer is fairly tall at 188cm and can’t sit behind his own driving position. Not that he’d expect to – this is a light car.
What is pleasing is that the size of the aperture of the rear doors is large enough to allow easy entry and exit.
The Sony media system is well-integrated into the centre console and has a stylish piano black gloss casing. The overly busy layout of the controls for the media system, however, does take getting used to and the display screen seems too small and hidden away in the dashboard.
In contrast the instrument cluster is clear and simple with the tacho, speedo and fuel needles backlit in bright blue.
Storage is good throughout the cabin with door pockets, cup holders and cargo nets attached to the centre console. What’s missing though is a centre storage bin with armrest.
Engine and transmission
The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine under the Sport’s bonnet isn’t just good, it’s the best in the world, with judges crowning it the overall winner of the International Engine of the Year Awards in 2012, 13 and 14.
Ford’s diminutive powerplant has fought off great engines from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen to win the award and when you drive the Sport you can see why.
At only 999cc in capacity, the engine produces 92kW and 170Nm. That’s 10kW more power and 50Nm more torque than the 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine in the Ambiente and Trend variants.
Those are big numbers for a small engine, but what’s just as impressive is the way delivers. The torque comes on from 1400rpm and stays with you until 4500rpm. A torque band like that means you have good acceleration almost always.
Combine this performance with the engine’s combined average fuel in-take of just 4.9 litres of 95RON per 100km in the six-speed manual and 5.3L/100km in the six-speed dual clutch and it’s clear why this engine is so unbeatable.
We managed 6.6L/100km over a week of driving in varied conditions.
Ride and handling
While the Sport doesn’t have the same excellent handling abilities as the hardcore ST, it is more dynamically capable than the Ambiente and Trend.
Sports tuned suspension reduces body roll in cornering while the 195/50 R16 Continentals on our test car provided good grip.
While the handling is good, the ride feels firm over poor surfaces, but the suspension works well to cushion the car in large dips and undulations.
We tested the six-speed manual transmission version of the Sport and thoroughly enjoyed the quick, smooth and fun shifting combined with an easy clutch action.
Safety and servicing
The Fiesta Sport has a five-star ANCAP crash test rating. It features seven airbags (all in the front), ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Dynamic Stability Control with Emergency Brake Assist and Traction Control.
Another great safety feature comes in the form of Ford’s SYNC Connectivity system which when paired with a mobile phone will read text messages out –important on a car like this which is likely to be driven by younger people.
Ford’s SYNC Emergency Assistance system is standard in the Fiesta ST, but it would be great to see it offered as an option across the entire range. The system calls 000 if airbags are deployed in an accident, gives your GPS location and opens a phone line to emergency services.
The Fiesta Sport has a three-year/100,000km warranty and is covered under Ford’s seven-year 135,000km capped-price servicing and free roadside assistance for a year with every service.
The Fiesta Sport has a world-beating engine, good dynamics, outstanding fuel economy all wrapped up in a safe, well-designed and stylish package.
It’s a good-looking car and the facelift which brought the Aston Martin-style grille and sleeker headlights has made it even more visually appealing.
The Sport is comfortable and fun to drive, plus you’re getting great value for money.
Hopefully Australian small hatch buyers will discover with the Brits have known for a while now. The Fiesta Sport is a very good thing.
Holden’s Barina RS from $21,390 excluding on-road costs
It’s a good Barina, but frankly it doesn’t stand a chance against the Fiesta Sport in terms of ride and handling or design and quality.
Volkswagen Polo 77TSI from $19,240 excluding on-roads
A more competitive challenger for the Sport comes in the form of Volkswagen’s Polo 77TSI. It’s a close one - but the Sport has more power and a wider torque band than the Polo, while returning better fuel economy.
MAKE/MODEL: Ford Fiesta Sport
ENGINE: 999cc petrol turbo three cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
TOP SPEED: N/A
FUEL: 4.9L/100km CO2: 113g/km
SUSPENSION f/r: MacPherson Strut/twist beam (sports tuned)
STEERING: Electric power-assisted steering
PRICE: From $20,525 plus on-roads
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