Ford Fiesta struts its stuff with new range of models, including Style, Zetec and Titanium
There's always bags of interest in the launch of a new Fiesta. Given that it's the UK's most popular car, that's not surprising.
Yes, the latest Ferrari or McLaren supercar may grab the attention of petrolheads, but in truth the vehicles that are the bellwether of an industry are its everyday workhorses.
These are the unglamorous cars that actually say far more about where the market is at, not the headline-grabbers with famous prancing stallions or red speedmarks.
If the measure of a car is how it can transport its occupants from A to B in comfort, cost-effectiveness and safety, then it's actually cars like the Fiesta that are cutting edge. Dating back to 1976, this summer's launch means we are now on the eighth generation of the Fiesta in the UK (other territories measure the numbers slightly differently).
More than 120,000 Fiestas were registered in the UK last year, and it was the top seller in Northern Ireland as well as in Great Britain.
So, what's new in the Fiesta, then? Well, for starters a wide spread of models is being offered from the get-go, including Style, Zetec, Titanium and the Vignale, Ford's high-end signature trim.
There's even a special edition B&O (Bang & Olufsen) PLAY model if you want top spec sound and more tech. Those who like their Fiestas a little more interesting, shall we say, will have to wait next year for the acclaimed ST hot hatch, and a jacked-up crossover style Active model.
The new design is very much evolutionary; it's clearly a Fiesta, just the next logical step forward on the vehicle's path.
It's 71mm longer and 12mm wider than the outgoing model, making some further room available inside.
Sweeping headlights and wraparound tail-lamps underline its modernity without being fussy.
The cabin, however, gets more of a makeover, with better quality materials, an overhauled dash and an all-new infotainment system.
Ford is offering its customary wide range of engines. The best of the petrol units look to be the 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo which comes in three power options and a six-speed manual or auto gearbox choice.
Looking tasty in the diesel range is a high-power 1.5-litre TDCi engine which emits just 89g/km of CO2.
There is an excellent array of tech and safety kit which will have rivals like the VW Polo, Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio looking to their laurels.
The new Fiesta is the first Ford to deliver an enhanced version of Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection that can detect people who are in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle's path, using light from the Fiesta's headlights at night.
Also offered for the first time on Fiesta is Ford's Active Park Assist with Perpendicular Parking, which helps drivers find suitable spaces and park hands‑free nose-to-tail and side-by-side with other cars. It can brake automatically to avoid prangs.
The Fiesta is the first car in its segment in Europe to offer Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them. There are actually 15 driver assistance technologies in total, which is fairly amazing in a super mini.
The entry-level model is the Style, which comes with a basic price tag of £12,715. For your money, you get 15-inch alloys and body-coloured bumpers as standard. There's also manual air-con and a 4.2-inch TFT screen.
Zetec, traditionally the most popular Fiesta trim, costs from £14,215 with 15in alloy wheels, Quickclear heated windscreen and Ford's SYNC 3 DAB radio with a 6.5in touchscreen.
The B&O PLAY version costs from £15,165 and is packed with fancy stuff, while the upscale Vignale version is swathed in leather, has a panoramic roof and costs from £19,345.
The all-new eight generation Fiesta is on sale now.