Downsizing doesn’t necessarily mean fleet operators or their drivers have to compromise on specification, as the Ford Fiesta shows.
The Titanium model has the type of features you would expect to find on larger, more expensive cars.
Cruise control and privacy glass are standard, for instance, and the options fitted on the 1.4-litre Duratec automatic (96PS) we tested included a navigation system with Bluetooth, curtain airbags, 16-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, lumber drivers support, a USB socket and parking sensors.
Company car drivers might be tempted to opt for the automatic if they do a lot of city driving but it’s worth bearing in mind that the auto, which is available only with the petrol engine, is much less attractive when it comes to tax and fuel economy.
With emissions of 154g/km, it does fall below the crucial 160g/km benchmark to receive enhanced capital allowances, but some rivals offer more fuel efficient alternatives to automatic gearboxes, such as Volkswagen’s DSG transmission in the Polo.
On the company car tax front our test model currently incurs £566 BIK compared to £398 in the similarly priced 1.6 Duratorq Titanium diesel.
And by the 2012/13 tax year, BIK for the automatic rises to £625 while the diesel will increase to £459.
In terms of mpg the automatic has an official combined figure of 43.7mpg.
It has a comfortable ride and there’s no denying that the Fiesta has good build quality and attractive styling.
An added bonus for fleet operators is the Ford Easy Fuel system – which prevents misfuelling by only accepting the correct nozzle – is standard which should save on expensive mistakes at the pumps.
An impressive package, but in auto form at least, fuel costs and CO2 is hampered by the torque converter which is becoming less common on small cars.