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2008 ford fiesta tdci specs

One of the tricks - a slightly pejorative term, but it will have to do for now - deployed by automakers in their quest for favourable publicity is to load up their test cars with so much extra kit that even the most hard-bitten motoring journalist cannot help but be impressed.

Some years ago, for example, I wanted desperately to try one of the then new Minis in its most basic form.

I wanted to see how far the new Mini could match the Spartan-but-fun appeal of its predecessor, the 1959 original (in which even a heater was an extra).

The Mini media relations team couldn't find one that had plain, old-fashioned steel wheels and no aircon. I was given a Cooper and told to imagine what it was like to go slower and in a little less style.

Which brings me to our diesel test Ford Fiesta: R166 989 in SA. As an impecunious friend pointed out, in these troubled times you could get a used Porsche Cayenne SUV for that.

My "All New Ford Fiesta Ambiente five-door" had, as standard, an intelligent protection system, privacy glass, Bluetooth hands-free technology, a three-spoked steering wheel with aluminium trim and, less impressively I felt, some carpet mats.

All that you get for R166 989. The extras were a "leather pack" (R7500), metallic paint (R750) and rear parking radar (R1800). That makes R177 039 in all, sir/madam.

Is it worth it? Well, in a way. Like its close relative the Mazda2, the Fiesta is one of a new generation of super-minis that almost make the credit crunch a pleasure. Anybody "downsizing" to this car will want for nothing.

It's lighter than the old, ultra-boring Fiesta, far livelier to drive, though I marginally preferred the Mazda, and my 1.6 TDCi diesel wasn't the last word in refinement.

I also felt the pretend BMW iDrive one-button-controls-all system is a mistake. Still, the Fiesta's adventurous lines are carried over on the inside and are more evidence of Ford's styling renaissance.

Say what you like about Fords but the best were always interesting, sexy even, to look at, such as the Mk III Cortina and the Capri.

None of the previous five generations of the Fiesta ever lived up to that aspiration. That's changed. You can have a party with one now, provided you can afford the admission fee. - The Independent, London