I have always had a soft spot for the Ford Fiesta, and enjoy driving them. Thankfully this little devil is walking distance from mine, and it didn't take much begging to get his car over for a drive and review!
The MK6 Fiesta is becoming increasingly popular as prices fall - with this particular car being picked up at an absolute bargain. It would make a perfect runaround for me, but I've been told it isn't for sale :(. I am seriously considering snatching this off his hands. YES I hear you all cry - I can see the suspension is too low. It is stupidly low and I have begged the owner to raise it by 15-20mm. Apart from his choice in ride height this is still a decent car to be in, and I'll get the engine started because I need to get out on the road!
The seats are perfect. Did Ford steal some ideas from Peugeot? I'm not sure but the drivers seat is really, really comfortable. You get a lot for your money in the Zetec models and despite the common faults in these 1.6 TDCI engines, it wouldn't put me off buying one. First port of call - Injector Seals. Buy new ones, get them replaced. Buy a new oil pipe to the turbo and remove the gauze. Carbon clean -> I would strip the head and do it properly. Once these jobs are done you know the car should be fine during ownership. Ignoring the basic maintenance that these things need will only lead to frustration in the future (and a more expensive bill if things go wrong).
My first test will be out on the Dual Carriageway, I need enough space to demonstrate full throttle. Although the Fiesta left the factory with just 90 horsepower I would rather see how it drives when I find clear space with good distance from other road users. Heading out to the A12 wasn't a chore - I took a couple of 30mph roundabouts at my usual speed and feel no body roll (which is a good thing if you're old and grumpy like myself). The car sits nicely, not too bumpy for the coilovers it has fitted so that's a bonus. Driving at 100% throttle isn't exciting I have to be honest. These cars need tuning. I have no idea why Ford sold these cars feeling so 'flat', I was expecting better. Having previously owned a Peugeot 207 1.6 Hdi 110hp I think my brain wanted to feel something similar but no problem, I'll soon work the numbers (WinOLS) and give this car the boost it needs :P.
Tuning this engine should see a 20-25hp increase, with torque going up from the quoted 204NM to around 280NM. If the suspension wasn't so low I could have taken it to a Rolling Road, but the owner is happy with the new power and is pleased with the end result. With remapping, if you aren't impressed with how the vehicle drives on the 'road', it hasn't been tuned properly. I know several companies who tune strictly on the Rolling Road and it makes for a robotic tune in many vehicles. Taking a car out and using your 'butt dyno' while watching the RPM gauge (with data logging) is the reason my cars all pull well. Most customers visit a Rolling Road after me tuning them, but I can work on a car from start to finish using a Rolling Road if requested.
Back out on the road! There is a definite improvement! In total I have made 6-7 changes to the software on this car, and it is still running the original Turbo request of 1.2bar maximum. That is a lot of pressure for a small engine, and I think Ford set it up quite well. The car doesn't 'lag' in 1st or 2nd gear like it used to - with 3rd, 4th, and 5th feeling a lot stronger and makes being in the car a nicer experience. It still has the original Catalytic Converter fitted, along with the original Airbox and paper filter inside. This is how I like all road cars to stay, with the exception of Motorsport/Track Used cars which may need Software Adjustment for 'decat' if they have a Sports Catalytic Converter fitted. This engine responds superbly for the size, and the owner has since commented that it is amazing that changing some numbers (software adjustment in WinOLS) can make such a huge increase to driveability. I love how the car handles, I'm especially enjoying how it pulls through the RPM range. The economy return you get from these are pretty decent also, so it has been a good day.
I have some roads in Norfolk where I test cars for handling. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to take the Fiesta over that way, but making use of some twisties in Suffolk I can say the Chassis is 100% bang on for a hatchback. Driving this car for local shopping, or to London and back wouldn't be tiresome. Hopefully this year (2016) I will borrow the car again and put it through some more testing - but I am sure it will be perfect.
This car has a nice shape to it. I have always fancied Ford Fiesta's, from the MK1 XR2 and MK2 XR2 right up to the MK5 1.6 Zetec (personal favourite for a few years) and these MK6 Fiesta's. It clearly isn't an aerodynamically gifted machine but was never designed for that purpose. This is a Sporty Hatchback and I think it fits that description perfectly
The standard throttle response wasn't annoying - it was near on infuriating. I personally couldn't own a car that gives 'nothing' at 100% throttle. Now thankfully the car is a lot more sprightly and I think it picks up really well, especially at 'part' and 'mid' throttle request.
It is a Turbo Diesel, so there isn't anything to report on the exhaust 'note'. The stainless tailpipe looks good, and adds to the sporty image - which gets a thumbs up from me :P
Could I own this car as a daily commute? Yes! If I had to drive 20-25 miles daily to and from work I wouldn't be upset taking this there. Because I am nearly 34 years old - which to younger drivers is 'ancient', I need to consider my back and want to arrive comfortably and in one piece. I think this car is suitable for people of all ages, but you really do need these Sports Seats to add comfort. It is another good car on my 'tick' list, and if I could insert a Facebook thumb sign I would put it here ->
Nicholas Lawrence //ON CARS
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