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The Fiesta has long been the top selling new car in the UK and that success is partly down to the huge array of engines, specifications and options available on this supermini.

While most of these models will be kitted out with manual gearboxes, we’ve just tested out the 1.0-litre 99bhp petrol version equipped with Ford’s ‘Powershift’ automatic gearbox. In automatic form rivals for the Fiesta include the Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo, which are both available with slick ‘DSG’ automatic gearboxes along with other popular small cars, such as the Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio.

What is it?

The Fiesta is available with a number of frugal petrol and diesel engines varying from affordable 1.2-litre petrol versions to economical and well-equipped 1.6-litre diesels and the rapid ST performance models. Though small cars are traditionally fitted with manual gearboxes, more and more are now available with automatic units.

We’ve driven the Fiesta 99bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol model in plush Titanium trim and equipped with an automatic gearbox to see how this fares in a field of traditionally manual cars – and to determine whether the self-shifting gearbox is slick enough to warrant the price premium over the manual.

Fiesta specifications vary from affordable but basic Style trim, which includes air conditioning and remote central locking through to sporty Zetec S and plush range-topping Titanium X. The ST hot hatchback is available in three trim levels, all of which include supportive sports seats and a digital radio.

What is it like to drive?

The Fiesta is one of the most enjoyable superminis to drive – and that’s no different in Powershift automatic form. Kitted out with the 99bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine the car is nippy and refined and the automatic gearbox is very quick to respond to pressure on the throttle.

What this means is that unlike many autos, this Fiesta always feels responsive, and if you need to overtake, for instance, the car is always ready with the right gear. However, this Fiesta is equally adept at meandering around town and creeping through city traffic. If you’re after an automatic supermini, this Ford should more than live up to expectations in the gearbox department.

The engine puts up an equally positive showing, offering plenty of power (even on A roads and motorways) and low noise levels. Overall, this is a very grown up supermini that is not only comfortable for passengers but adept at dealing with twisty roads too.

What is it like inside?

The Fiesta’s interior looks sharp, with its striking design featuring piano black trim and reasonable quality materials. However, the dashboard is littered with dozens of buttons, which aren’t the easiest to discern while on the move. The dials for the speedometer and rev counter, however, are supremely clear and easy to read.

We found the front seats in our Titanium model comfortable and supportive too. The list of standard kit is long, with automatic lights and wipers, a heated front windscreen, cruise control and a digital radio all coming as standard in Titanium cars.

Is it practical?

The Fiesta offers plenty of space for passengers inside as well as a reasonably large boot. Even if you need to carry five people the rear seats offer a good level of room and comfort, though the boot isn’t the largest in the business. However, for most supermini buyers, it should be more than adequate.

Rear visibility is not as good as it should be for a car that will spend most of its life in and around town, however. The automatic gearbox also makes this Fiesta a doddle to manouevre around town.

Should I buy one?

Buyers after a comfortable automatic supermini should absolutely consider the Fiesta 1.0 100 Powershift. Both the engine and gearbox perform strongly, catering for those who want an easy drive along with keener drivers. Economy does drop slightly from the manual version at 57.7mpg, however, fuel bills and car tax shouldn’t prove too costly.

The Fiesta is refined, spacious and well-equipped in Titanium form, though buyers happy without all of this car’s high-tech treats can save themselves £1,000 by opting for Zetec trim. If you’re after a comfortable, nippy petrol supermini, the Fiesta makes a strong claim for your money.

Don’t want to buy new? You can browse for a used Ford Fiesta in our classifieds here.

The facts

Ford Fiesta 1.0 100 EcoBoost Powershift Titanium 3-Door

List price: £16,195
Engine: 1.0-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Power: 99bhp
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Fuel economy: 42.8mpg (urban), 72.4mpg (extra-urban) 57.7mpg (combined)
Emissions: 114g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Five-star

Chris Lloyd

By

December 5, 2014