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Bryan Hatter, a former md of Saab
(when the Swedes built proper Saabs), is becoming a regular Business Car Manager blogger. Here is his latest blog.

I was interested to read Sam Hardy’s report on the new Ford Fiesta – Ford Fiesta 1.25: What Car? Car of the Year tested.

I drove one yesterday.

I have passed over my Saab 9-3 Sport Wagon 2.0t auto to one of my sons, so thought I would look for something a little smaller and more economical.

I need to take four adults quite frequently. So a 4/5 door is essential to give easy access. (The big doors on a 2/3 door are a liability these days in car parks.)

I am not sure how far I am prepared to go in downsizing, but have had an eye on the new Fiesta and one of the new VW Golf TSi models. What Car? voted them top in their class.

To be fair I thought I had better start with the smallest. Fortunately, the Marlow dealer in Buckinghamshire had a Fiesta Titanium 1.4 petrol auto – apparently a rare beast at the moment.

At 3000 miles per year I have ruled out diesel and with the new generation of petrol engines, I can retain my street cred and still feel ‘green’ all over!

Notwithstanding having driven to the dealer in my wife’s Saab 9-5 Aero, I did not feel that the Fiesta was slow.

OK, it’s only got a four-speed auto, but it does have a manual override.

My first impression was that the seats were hard, but at least with the multi-directional steering column I could get a good driving position.

The doors closed with a reassuring clunk, suggesting good build quality. And the fit and finish around the facia and the interior also seemed fine.

It is good in traffic and once I got going, I forgot about the hard seats and enjoyed winding may towards Henley.

Returning via the Marlow by-pass, gave me another opportunity to assess it on quicker roads. I wasn’t looking for the ultimate in handling, but overall its road manners and stability were very reassuring.

The two things I am always critical about are ride-quality and transmitted road noise. The Fiesta is fine on both counts.

Next stop, then, is the VW dealer in Chalfont to try the 1.4 TSi Golf DSG. I’ll let you know what I think.

You can read Bryan’s last blog here: Driving impressions of the Vauxhall Insignia

Editor’s note: I haven’t had a chance to drive the new Ford Fiesta yet. But I saw one on the road last week – the same colour as the Fiesta pictured – and it looked really striking on the road: sleek, purposeful and modern. It really looks a very impressive motor car.

Bryan Hatter blogs for Business Car Manager

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