Why I much prefer the 'basic' new Ford Fiesta
Sometimes the simple, basic things work better. I definitely think that is the case with the new Ford Fiesta.
At the international launch (recently reported here) we were treated to luxury models on a grand scale.
But in Johnstown, Co Kildare, on Monday I was able to drive the car most people want and are willing to pay for.
And I felt much the better of it. Not all the time and everywhere, but at least the basic tenets of the car were there to be seen and sampled.
The 5-dr 1.1-litre (non-turbo) petrol (70PS) is the one 50pc of buyers will go for. The 1.1-litre (non-turbo) 85PS will account for a good chunk of the remainder. So I concentrated on driving both.
I will hopefully get to the 1-litre 100PS EcoBoost in the near future for an added dimension.
Surprise, surprise I preferred the lower-powered car in Zetec trim to the Titanium specced stablemate.
It's smartly straightforward; simple as that.
Of course, I have a couple of criticisms. The on-stalk switch-gear (for rear wiper and lights) had a cheap, plastic feel and sound to them. These are switches you use every day. A bit disappointing.
In the case of the 85PS version, the tyres were too deep/heavy/whatever - the road noise from them was acute.
They represent a lesson for us all: DRIVE the car (not just the Fiesta but any vehicle you are thinking of buying) over all sorts of surfaces and under as many conditions as possible.
As soon as I traversed a bit of rough surface, the cabin filled with boom. Back on smoother surfaces, it was fine. The 70PS version was grand; little or no road/tyre noise any time. That aside, the car drove really well; the cabin is smart and even basic trim looked and felt good.
The starting price of €17,150 for the 5dr (97pc of sales) looks strong compared with what we're told the new Polo will cost (mid/late €15,000s). There will be a heavy focus on equipment levels for both.
It's a late arrival for the 172-reg but they expect more than 3,000 to buy one next year. I'm not surprised.
The Fiesta means a lot to people of all ages. Even the 'old' version managed to make it to sixth spot in the best-selling cars' league this year.
Which bodes well for the new one they claim is the most technologically advanced small car in Europe.