The TotallyMotor Verdict

I’ve already had some enjoyable wheel time with the Ford Fiesta Metal’s predecessor, the Fiesta S1600, and found the sporty “S” full of fun for the back lanes, nicely nippy around town and surprisingly cruise-able on long motorway hauls.

Well, Ford has refreshed their most attitude-laden Fiesta ready for 2012 with a darker look on the outside and added leather luxury on the inside. The Metal is priced at £15,845 OTR, with this TotallyMotor test car wearing Midnight Sky metallic paint as a £495 optional extra. So let’s see if it’s all still good in sporty Fiesta world.

Ford Fiesta Metal 1.6 road test review

First impressions:
Where the Fiesta S1600 was fun and carefree to look at, with its twin body stripes and bright-white wheels, the new Fiesta Metal that takes over the sporting mantel is an altogether more sinister-looking affair.

Metal’s tougher name matches its tougher looks with two very dark body colours – seen here in Midnight Sky, and Panther Black – although don’t be too scared by the darker tint titles because Frozen White is still on the paint menu. And Metal also gets sharply styled Panther Black alloy wheels; 17-inches tall with five branching spokes.

There’s definitely more menace to the Metal, indeed it seems that this feisty Fiesta is looking for trouble!

Into the interior:
Great drives start with a great driving position and the Ford Fiesta Metal is one of the best around; even for a tall chap like me. Full adjustment to seat and steering wheel means that I can get the fully black – with white stitching – leather-wrapped driver’s seat into a deeply-in-chassis driving position. And that’s just the way I like it.

The front seats feature that soft black leather, and although the Metal loves a back lane thrash, the seats aren’t overly bucket-like. But the lateral support is still there for high cornering-G.

Metal also gets leather on its steering wheel with piano-black inserts to match the rest of the dashboard detailing, and there is air-con and alloy pedals, too.

Critical for my driving pleasure is the driving position and the Metal would score near-perfectly for me. The stereo is decent – another important long-drive element – and there’s a handy connection cable and twin input port nestled behind the gearstick.

Fit and finish is generally good, although for a nearly £16,000 car, some of the plastics are disappointing. However, driver interfaces such as the gearstick, dials and stalks all have a satisfying feel and operating quality.

The drive:
The Fiesta S1600 excelled in the driving stakes and the new Fiesta Metal continues to carry that engaging torch; sharing most of the S1600’s components and set up.

The sport suspension is still there; cornering the Metal flat and fast, and with a razor-sharp front-end that’ll scythe roundabouts and corners with laser-guided accuracy.

Brakes are progressive and powerful – once some initial pedal travel is passed – and the gearbox and clutch combination are accurate and super-easy to use.

The 1600cc, naturally aspirated petrol engine makes just over 130bhp and pulls hard to its 7000rpm redline, and it’s in the top-end of the revs that the Metal likes to play. Find some clean, curving and quiet back lanes and the nimble Metal is as much fun as you can handle.

Headline performance stats don’t read as “wow” – with 62mph gone in 8.7secs and a top speed of 121mph – but with the revvy growly engine always up for it and great grip in the corners, mixed with an easy-driving attitude, means that Metal really is enjoyable.

During my week long test with the Metal I saw an average economy of around the 40mpg mark, which including some quick, rev-happy driving, and the quoted CO2 output is 139g/km, and that’s £115 per year in road tax.

Ten second sum up:
The Ford Fiesta Metal is a worthy successor to the Fiesta S1600. Ford hasn’t messed around with a cracking chassis and an up for it engine; indeed they’ve just increased the attitude and luxury leather. It’s not cheap, but it is very good.

Prices and availability:
The Ford Fiesta Metal costs £15,845 OTR, with this TotallyMotor test car wearing Midnight Sky metallic paint as a £495 optional extra. Available now.