The funky Fiesta gets top marks

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Anyone looking at buying a car in what is referred to as the B segment of the market can be excused if they are battling to make up their minds.

Spoilt for choice we have, among others, the Mazda2, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz, Suzuki Swift and Renault's funky new release the Twingo.

To make matters even tougher, add Ford's new Fiesta to the mix.

In days gone by, the name Ford conjured up thoughts of reliability, a proven safety record and an engine that will keep going when many of its opposition would have given up the ghost.

But if truth be told, the blue and white Ford logo stirred up about as much excitement as listening to a three-hour parliamentary debate on the effect plastic bags have on the environment.

Sure they have had a couple of classics over the years, like the '69 Mustang convertible, the fiery Cosworth, even the tiny Anglia, but times are changing and the new-look Fiesta is a welcome addition to the Ford family.

Never mind that it is perhaps one of the safest small cars on the road today (ABS, airbags, central locking, side impact protection beams), nor that it comes standard with goodies like aircon, power steering, ample cup holders, keyless entry, or even that it has electric windows and a nifty radio/CD system.

No, for me, it is the new funky colours they have come up with.

On test we had the 1.6-litre Trend (R164904) which came in a hue they call Squeeze - a bright green that screams out FUN! Sort of like Shrek on wheels.

The interior is a delightful combination of cloth and plastic with the shade of grey used particularly appealing.

With the price of petrol once again heading in only one direction, consumption by vehicles comes into play and the Fiesta scores an A.

Ford claim an overall rate of 5,9 litres per 100km, but around town I managed a fraction over 8 litres per 100km - either way very economical.

For a vehicle of its size, it has a surprisingly large boot (284 litres). When launched last year on the from Polokwane to Putfontein route, motoring journalists raved about the Fiesta. Now I know why.