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Long-term test (Introduction): Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCi Trend
Looking for a diesel-powered B-segment hatchback in South Africa? You currently have just two choices: the flagship Mazda2 and the Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCi, offered exclusively in Trend specification. Volkswagen no longer offers a TDI-badged Polo, while Hyundai’s i20 has also long since eschewed compression ignition. A sign of the times (in Europe, at least), I guess.

Unlike its self-shifting Japanese rival, the oil-burning Fiesta employs a six-speed manual transmission which requires fairly frequent stirring to keep the rather refined, four-cylinder unit in the meaty part of the rev range. Thankfully, the cog-swapper is suitably slick, while its unusually tall top ratio is best reserved for relaxed highway jaunts. With a modest 63 kW, this engine offers a little more power than its 55 kW forebear but peak torque has interestingly fallen 10 units to 175 N.m.

Of course, the upshot of combining a small turbodiesel mill with long gearing is the potential for stellar economy. The Blue Oval brand claims this power- train sips a measly 3,3 L/100 km, which would make it the most frugal conventionally powered (sans electric assistance) new car in the local market. While we certainly don’t expect our real-world figure to match Ford’s claim at the end of six months in our fleet, I’m confident the running costs will be some of the lowest we’ve seen in recent years; the consumption figure will no doubt fall once we hit the open road.

Since Ford SA has scrapped the base Ambiente trim level on the Fiesta, this Trend specification effectively forms the entry point to the line-up. That said, it’s hardly lacking in kit with items such as a 6,5-inch touchscreen (running the brand’s much-improved Sync3 system), 16-inch alloys, automatic headlamps, rear parking sensors and six airbags as standard.

Priced at a smidgen more than R300 000, the 1,5 TDCi Trend derivative slots neatly into the middle of the range. It’s worth noting that just R4 000 more buys you the flagship 1,0 EcoBoost Titanium manual with extra equipment – a larger touch- screen, a posher sound system and bigger wheels – as well as a livelier powertrain that allows enthusiastic drivers to exploit the top-notch chassis.

That said, these two derivatives do appeal to vastly different buyers. While the Fiesta line-up is decidedly mainstream, the diesel variant talks to a far smaller pool of potential owners. But, with the unrelenting price of fuel, that audience is likely to grow and the Fiesta is well placed to take advantage of this. I simply can’t wait to find out just how frugal it can be.

After 1 month
Current mileage:
395 km
Average fuel consumption: 5,88 L/100 km
We like: low running costs
We don’t like: polyurethane steering wheel

Long-term test (Update 1): Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCI Trend

While the seventh-generation Fiesta shares its underpinnings with its predecessor, their cabins are worlds apart. This latest model gains a much-improved facia ditching its forebear’s button-festooned centre console in favour of a touchscreen (measuring 6,5 inches in the case of our Trend model) running Sync3 infotainment software. 

Although the facia’s layout and retention of physical buttons for frequently used functions are appreciated, the overly basic trip computer screen in the instrumentation appears out of step with the rest of the cabin. 


After 2 months
Current Mileage: 
1 411 km
Average fuel consumption: 
5,74 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 2): Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCI Trend

In what feels like a mere blink of an eye, the Fiesta has scurried to the halfway point of its stopover in the CAR garage. Surprisingly, I’ve become increasingly fond of its diesel engine despite initially feeling it was too short of breath. 

Of course, I slipped behind the wheel of the Ford towards the end of my time with a certain German SUV’s silky smooth, petrol V6, which no doubt coloured my impressions of the Blue Oval’s four-cylinder oil-burner. Yet, the more I pilot this polished hatchback, the more my driving style adapts to suit what is a fairly unusual powerplant for this segment. In short, I’ve now become accustomed to the quirks of both the small-capacity diesel mill – strangely, it does without the stop/start system employed by the petrol Fiestas – and the long-legged, six-speed manual transmission that connects it to the front axle. My warming to the Fiesta’s under-bonnet oily bits had me thinking: how many potential buyers of vehicles with fairly unfamiliar powertrains write them off after only a short test drive? 

It’s only lately I’ve become truly adept at keeping the 63 kW TDCi mill humming away in its narrow power band; riding the wave of torque from the bottom of each gear when negotiating slow-moving traffic and taking full advantage of the tall sixth ratio once the tarmac ahead has cleared. The result? A further improvement in fuel economy, despite the Fiesta spending the majority of its time creeping along Cape Town’s notoriously congested road network. 

So, what’s the moral of the story? If you’re considering buying a vehicle quite dissimilar to your current car, spend as much time behind the wheel of the potential purchase as you possibly can (jump from dealer to dealer, if you must) before making a decision. 

After 3 months
Current mileage:
 2 552 km
Average fuel consumption: 5,26 L/100 km
We like: improvement in fuel economy
We don’t like: lack of hidden storage compartments

 

Long-term test (Update 3): Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCI Trend

While the Fiesta’s Sync3 infotainment system (now boasting the option to integrate Waze) is one of the slickest in the segment, I have unearthed a rather annoying quirk. Each time I connect my (admittedly decrepit) iPhone via Bluetooth, the system automatically hikes the smartphone’s ringer volume to maximum. Since my phone is often set to silent, this isn’t much of a problem. But if (or, more accurately, when) I forget to manually drop the ringer volume, my alarm wails at full blast early the next morning. This has made me somewhat unpopular with my wife. 

 

After 4 months
Current mileage:
 4 363 km
Average fuel consumption: 4,99 L/100 km

 

Long-term test (Update 4): Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCI Trend

The average buyer probably doesn’t give much thought to where they plonk their bottom each time they slip in behind the wheel. Seats are seats, right? Well, not really. The Trend-spec Fiesta’s slim-back driver’s perch, for instance, is particularly soft, which renders it terrifically comfortable on fairly short trips (the pay-off, though, is a little less support than you might hope for on longer journeys). Furthermore, the pilot’s pew can be dropped pleasingly low, which together with ample adjustment on the steering column and a height-variable seatbelt, makes it a cinch to dial in the ideal driving position. 

After 5 months
Current mileage:
 4 853 km
Average fuel consumption: 4,83 L/100 km



 
GAUTENG – Fresher-faced and leaner of frame than its well-regarded predecessor, the new Fiesta has to be exceptionally good to return to its fight with the likes of the Volkswagen Polo. We get behind the wheel of the 1,5 TDCi Trend model to see just how it shapes up...

Design

Ford has labelled the latest car’s aesthetic treatment as an evolution of the outgoing car’s design, but the differences are significant. The most notable change is the adoption of horizontal brakelamp arrangements that break away from the traditionally vertical items each generation has worn before. The array of creases adorning less chunky looking flanks and steeply raked A-pillars lend the latest Fiesta a leaner, more athletic bearing than its forebear, while the slight swell to the bonnet shell and prominent grille still give it a purposeful appearance.

Markedly improved interior

According to the folks at Ford, great lengths were taken to address what was seen as the previous car’s weakest point; the cabin. The fiddly, button-studded centre console array for the infotainment system has made way for a cleaner arrangement that’s centred round a large touchscreen interface and integrates the company’s Sync 3 technology, accommodating smartphone functionality such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

More solid, tastefully patinaed plastics – some sporting slush-moulded elements – adorn the cabin, and the driving position, although quite high-sited, affords a good view of the road. Ford has addressed the previous car’s limited rear legroom by utilising thinner front seatbacks, and while it’s still fairly cosy back there, it is at least capable of accommodating a brace of adult occupants.

On the road

The first thing you’ll notice with the diesel model is just how quiet the 1,5-litre powerplant is – not just "a distant rumble" sort of quiet, but a smoothness and lack of vibration that could have you double-checking the redline on the rev counter. But while it’s impressively refined, it’s no hard hitter. Peak power stands at a modest 63 kW and the maximum torque, although available at a low 1 750 r/min, is still just 175 N.m. Thankfully, the new Fiesta isn’t a portly thing and the gearshift is precise and snappy – you just need a good run-up and careful judgment when overtaking to hold your momentum.

There’s a hard-to-define "chunkiness" about the driving feel exhibited by almost all of Ford’s cars and that pleasing trait has come through to the new Fiesta largely intact. The steering, although light, is direct and has just enough feel to prove engaging. It’s difficult to say just how the car acquits itself dynamically, as our Gauteng launch route largely comprised arrow-straight B roads and highway stretches.

Still, the few bends and one narrowly avoided pothole we did encounter suggest that the chassis is still a supple one, and combines with a well-tuned suspension setup that served up a pliant ride on the mixture of road surfaces on our drive. On the highway, it feels planted and assured, while its ability to soak up a good deal of road noise makes it a pleasant long-distance companion.

Value

Ford has done away with its fairly Spartan Ambiente specification, now making the Trend its entry point into Fiesta territory. It’s a move that’s likely been introduced to ensure that Fiesta doesn’t tread on the toes of its more budget-conscious Figo cousin and factors in more standard specification in a bid to compete with the similarly priced Volkswagen Polo.

To this end, the Trend model is quite generously equipped. Features such as 16-inch alloy wheels, reverse parking sensors, the aforementioned Bluetooth and smartphone-enabled Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system, and a comprehensive suite of safety features that includes six airbags, traction control and hill start assist are among the standard items. A four-year/60 000 km service plan, backed up with a 120 000 km warranty spanning the same timeframe, rounds off what’s a fairly competitive offering. In terms of pricing, it's a little difficult to line this particular Fiesta up with segment rivals such as the VW Polo, Opel Corsa, Kia Rio, Renault Clio et al, as it's pretty much the only diesel choice in its segment. At R292 500, this particular model is priced in a similar ballpark to the petrol-engined Polo 1,0 TSI Highline model, but even then the German car still doesn't come with as much standard kit as the Ford and its service plan covers 45 000 km against the Fiesta's 60 000 km item.

Overall

Given the quality and capability of its most prominent rival, the Polo, it’s fair to say that the Fiesta has its work cut out. Thankfully, it’s not just trading on strong standard specification, but serves up a refined and engaging drive to boot. Hopefully this, along with its more rakish design, will give it just enough ammunition in what’s going to be a tough fight ahead...

2019 Ford FIESTA 1.5 TDCi TREND 5Dr

R239,990
Ref No: 1635123

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: 2 front + 1 rear
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: eco
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • Voice control: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Daytime driving running lights: Standard
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Park distance control PDC: rear
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 1273 km
  • Driven wheels: front
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 6
  • Gearshift: manual
  • Transmission type: manual
  • Front tyres: 195/55 R16
  • Reartyres: 195/55 R16
  • Spare wheel size full: 14-inch steel rim
  • Length: 4040 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1735-1941 mm
  • Height: 1476 mm
  • Wheel base: 2493 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 10.0 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 303-984 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 984 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1191 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 1675 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 595
  • Towing capacity - braked: 750
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 42l
  • Fuel consumption urban: 3.7 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption extra urban: 3.1 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption average: 3.3 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 84g/km
  • Power maximum: 63 kW
  • Power maximum total: 63 kW
  • Power peak revs: 3750 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 53 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 175 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1750-2500 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 175 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 146.9 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 12.5s
  • Maximum top speed: 175 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1499 cc
  • Engine size: 1.5l
  • enginedetailshort: 1.5TD
  • Engine + detail: 1.5 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: sohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 2
  • Valves quantity: 8
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 4
  • Warranty distance (km): 120000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 4
  • Service plan time (distance): 60000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 3
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Brand: Ford
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 22045537
  • MMVariant: FIESTA 1.5 TDCi TREND 5Dr
  • MMintrodat: 2018-05-01
  • Introdate: 2018-05-14
  • DuoportarecordID: FordFies5h03

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Ford FIESTA 1.5 TDCi TREND 5Dr 1.5TDCi Trend for sale in Cape Town from one of Carmag.co.za's apporoved car dealerships
Used FIESTA 1.5 TDCi TREND 5Dr 1.5TDCi Trend availbale from the following auto dealer:
Motus Ford Cape Town used car dealership located in: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
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