Road impressions

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Ford Fiesta 1.6S

As reported in the April issue, the new Ford Fiesta has now arrived in a fanfare of publicity, but it is basically a shopping car in three or five-door guise. With the demise of the XR2 until the arrival of a higher-performing injected version in September, the only Fiesta currently of interest to the driver with sporting pretensions is the 1.6S. The new model is quite different in size and shape from its predecessor, and whereas the XR2 stood out from the rest of the range with its use of sporty body styling appendages, the 1.6S is more subtle in its approach, although it too has the front and rear spoilers and front fog lamps.

Under the bonnet is Ford’s new 90 horsepower 1.6 engine which has endowed the car with a fairly healthy performance, comparable with the old XR2. The only drawback is that it delivers the goods in a fairly raucous fashion, especially at higher revs, which a little sound-proofing under the bonnet would have helped dampen. Although I was never able to substantiate the claimed top speed of 108 mph, I did clock 112 mph on the speedometer and achieve 0-60 mph in just under 9.5 seconds.

The addition of a 14mm rollbar, unique to this model, has improved the car’s handling over that of its more pedestrian brethren and it was notably more stable under hard cornering. The ride is obviously a little harder but not uncomfortable. Around town in particular the suspension absorbs the bumps quite efficiently,

With a car of this nature it is often the gearbox which is the deciding factor on assessing its merit on an everyday driving basis. Apart from a car not starting there are few things worse than a baulky gearchange whether in traffic conditions or on the open road when one wishes to extract the most from the engine. Full marks to Ford, for the gearbox is light and smooth.

On the 1.6S ABS is sensibly fitted as standard, the brakes themselves standing up to some severe tests without any sign of fade.

Central locking is another welcome addition on a car in this price-bracket, while a couple of other thoughtful items include a petrol gauge which always records the amount of fuel in the tank even when the ignition is off and a switch on the central console to open the hatch which for safety reasons becomes inoperative when the ignition is on. The bonnet-release catch is under the steering column, with the secondary catch under the bonnet lip easy to use.

With a manual sunroof, electric windows, digital clock, padded steering wheel, good ergonomics and comfortable seats, this is generally a driver-friendly car and although I was not particularly endeared to it neither did I leave it with a sigh of relief. To offset its lack of street cred this competent Eurobox is reliable, efficient and quite pleasurable to drive, which at £8033 makes it good value for money. WPK