Britain's favourite car gets a revamp – but you'll have to wait

2021 Ford Fiesta ST (facelift)

We’re only five years into this model Ford Fiesta, the seventh generation of Britain’s favourite car, but that’s no reason not to titivate the line-up. These small hatchbacks have an all-out sales life of about eight or nine years so the current model, launched in 2016, has at least until 2024 until it is replaced although, in the face of the UK combustion-engine ban in 2030, Ford bosses have been equivocal about a full replacement for this generation of the Fiesta.

On the face of it the refresh is much ado about nothing since there aren’t any engineering changes. Its appearance has been breathed on, however, while the number of models has had a significant trim; only Trend, Titanium, ST-Line and Active specifications will be offered, augmented with a Vignale trim line.

Part of the reason for this slimmed-down model range is the latest WLTP fuel economy tests, introduced three years ago, which require expensive and time-consuming real-world driving calibration for each model. Most car makers have found it a lot easier and less costly to reduce the choices available by offering trim packs rather than long options lists.

On small cars such as the Fiesta, this is even more imperative and Ford has made a virtue out of this by tailoring trims to the slimmer model range.

20201 Ford Fiesta ST dashboard (facelift car)

Ford isn’t immune to the current computer-chip shortage, though, and if you want a revamped Fiesta you’ll have to wait; the range is available to order now from £16,620 on the road, but you won’t get your car until at least early 2022.

Engines will be carried over including the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Ecoboost mild-hybrid units, which come in 125 and 155PS form with a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed dual-clutch auto on the 125PS engine. As a single non-hybrid option, the same engine pushes out 100PS.

There’s lot of new kit available (isn’t there always), with standard LED headlights and optional matrix LED lights which adapt the beam pattern for the weather and driving conditions, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a “Wrong-Way” function to warn drivers if they are about to join the motorway from an incorrect direction.

2021 Ford Fiesta ST-Line (facelift car)

You can also specify adaptive cruise control and active parking assistance to identify and park in suitably sized spaces. Safety includes blind-spot monitoring, cross traffic alert and emergency braking assistance.

It all brings the Fiesta up to date with its newer and better-equipped competition, but thankfully the distinctly unpolitically-correct ST performance version gets an update as well, with snazzy green paint, new seats and wheel colours. In an era where car makers are dropping high performance smaller models because of their effect on corporate average fuel consumption, it’s a cheering thought that one of the best ever hot hatches is still extant.

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