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On The Road

The all-new Fiesta

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By Robin Roberts

CAR sales rise and fall, but when it comes to choice there is enduring popularity for the Ford Fiesta, the top seller in Wales and the rest of Britain so far this year.

Nearly 40 possible versions are available to British buyers with three and five-door bodystyles, six trim levels and a choice of petrol or diesel engines with manual or automatic transmissions. Essentially there is something to please almost anyone and residual values hold up well because of this strong demand.

But time doesn’t stand still and the seventh generation Fiesta launched last year is bigger than before and matching the early Focus model which has now been enlarged as well. There is more legroom front and back and a decent sized boot continues, while upfront the completely new fascia display comes with a big infotainment screen and communications system to meet what buyers expect.

But it’s not all forward progress because with the new Fiesta series, Ford has reverted to a traditional automatic transmission and spurned the dual-clutch system it has offered for a few years, citing cost considerations for the move.

That’s not a bad move, however, because the six-speed automatic box is a very easy to use, smooth if not quiet unit well matched with the 100ps 3cyl turbo-petrol engine. It’s not the quickest or most economical powertrain in the range but it means you have a very easy to drive city car for those who simply want to get from A – B or even C.

It will cover distances with ease and fairly economically nudging 40mpg most of the time, with smooth changes and the ability to hold down for more rapid overtaking. The test car also had automatic stop/start to save fuel but even with this its realistic consumption figure was well short of the claimed amount in publicity material based on European tests.

The little engine is generally quiet but push it hard and the effort is heard and overtakes the constant road rumbles from the tyres. Wind and other mechanical noises were very low in contrast.

A lot of effort has gone into the new Fiesta’s ride and handling and both are very good, slightly firm, but generally compliant and responsive with accurate steering and strong brakes. Roadholding is safe and sure.

The secondary controls are straightforward and unchallenging to master and use, with decent sized instruments, a good-sized infotainment display on the upper Vignale spec and reasonable oddments space infront. Heating and ventilation was also comfortable throughout with powered windows appreciated as well.

The five-door style gives very good rear-seat access, much easier than the restrictive three-door shape, and when inside the head and legroom was reasonable. I had an issue with the extremely poor adjustment for the front seats rake and which was almost impossible to select without opening the a door to move the release.

The front seats were big, possibly too wide in the cushion for the cabin space, but they were well padded, shaped and comfortable. A fairly low waistline, big windows, strong headlights and effective wash/wipers meant visibility was generally clear.

Personal taste meant I found hard plastic surfaces unpleasant inside the new Fiesta where so much has been done to lift refinement and keep it ahead of the game.

Rivals are now harder to beat and Ford cannot be complacent with their best seller because buyers have freedom of choice.

At a glance

Ford Fiesta 1.0I VIGNALE E/BOOST S/S 5DR 100PS P/SHIFT

  • Price: £21,840
  • Mechanical: 100ps 999cc 3cyl petrol engine, 6sp auto
  • Max Speed: 111mph
  • 0-62mph: 12.2sec
  • Combined MPG: 38mpg
  • Insurance Group: 10E T2
  • C02 emissions: 118 g/klm
  • Bik rating: 24%, £160FY, £140SR
  • Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
  • Sizes: L4.04m, W1.74m, H1.48m
  • Bootspace: 292–1093 litres
  • Kerb: 1206kg

For: Engine refinement, ride quality, handling
Against: Front seat adjustment, hard int surfaces, some road & engine noises

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Gritter strike: Carmarthenshire Council playing ‘russian roulette’ with residents’ safety says GMB

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COUNCIL should tell residents to avoid travel over treacherous roads – rather than briefing the press that resident’s safety will be ‘ensured’, says GMB Union

GMB union has accused Carmarthenshire Council is playing ‘Russian roulette’ with residents’ safety over a gritter strike.

The Union has criticised the authority’s ‘reckless behaviour’ after residents were told yesterday (Jan 5) arrangements were in place to ‘ensure the safety of travelling residents’.

Gritters in Carmarthenshire are on strike today, January 5, after the council failed to adhere to a collective agreement signed with gritting staff back in 2020. 

Unions have agreed with the Council to undertake emergency cover, which means the overwhelming majority of Carmarthenshire’s Road network will remain ungritted. 

Council staff picketed last night at depots across Carmarthen, with further picket lines due to take place this evening. 

According to the council the county is heading for colder weather over the next few weeks, with a real risk of icy conditions, sleet and snow, meaning there is a real risk to the safety of residents undertaking travel on all but major roads.  

Peter Hill GMB organiser said: “Right now the council is playing Russian Roulette with the safety of Carmarthenshire residents. 

“Large chunks of the road network were not gritted last night, and it will remain the case for the next 48 hours.  

“Our members are also Carmarthenshire residents and we’re advising our families and friends to avoid the roads over the next 48 hours as many will not be gritted.  

“Rather than brandishing an agreement to deal with essential emergency work, they should be advising residents to avoid travelling unless utterly necessary.”

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Try eco driving to cut Carmarthenshire’s carbon footprint

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PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire are being encouraged to drive more efficiently and cut their carbon emissions in a bid to tackle climate change.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s road safety team say eco driving not only improves road safety, but also reduces fuel use and emissions.

The council has recently launched a Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr campaign to raise awareness about what it is doing to tackle climate change and its efforts to become a net carbon zero authority.

The council was one of the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency and was the first local authority in Wales to publish a net zero carbon action plan.

Encouraging people to drive more eco-friendly is just one of the many ways it hopes to help the fight against climate change.

Driving more eco-efficient vehicles, including electric or hybrid vehicles is the best way to cut emissions, however drivers of other vehicles can also make a difference.

The council’s road safety team say drivers can cut their carbon footprint by planning their journeys to minimise mileage and taking simple actions like applying the parking brake and switching the engine off if the vehicle is stationary for more than a couple of minutes.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said sustainable travel also plays a big part in tackling climate change.

She said: “The first thing that you should consider is if you could reduce the number of journeys you make in your car – could you walk, cycle or take public transport instead, for example? If this is not possible and you need to use your vehicle then please bear in mind that small changes can make a huge difference to our carbon footprint. We all need to play our part.”

Here are the road safety team’s handy tips for safe eco-driving:

  • Plan your journey to avoid road works, congestion or losing your way and avoid busy travel times
  • Check tyres regularly and ensure they are inflated to the correct pressures
  • Remove roof boxes or racks when not needed to reduce air resistance
  • Don’t use your boot as a permanent storage space. Clear your vehicle of anything you don’t need to reduce the weight
  • Keep a safe distance from the car in front as this will help you to plan ahead
  • Stay within speed limits
  • Accelerate and brake gently. Avoid late braking
  • When conditions allow, use the highest gear possible without making the engine struggle
  • Use cruise control where appropriate
  • Use air conditioning sparingly
  • Check your fuel use regularly to make sure you are getting the most from your vehicle
  • When parking, always try to reverse into a parking space so you can drive out of it as manoeuvring whilst the engine is cold uses a lot of fuel
  • When you start the engine, don’t keep it idling to heat up the engine – this wastes fuel and should not be necessary if you drive off gently and smoothly. Scrape ice in the winter rather than leave your car idling to warm up
  • If your vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.
  • Many vehicles have stop/start technology – make sure it’s turned on to reduce fuel consumption and emissions
  • Keeping your vehicle well maintained will also reduce fuel use
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On The Road

The end of the road gets closer

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THIS TUESDAY (Feb 4) the UK Government announced the ban on selling petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars in the UK would be brought forward from 2040 to 2035.
Once the ban is in place, only electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles will be available for purchase.
are subject to consultation, also include hybrid vehicles. U.K. authorities had previously said the sale of new petrol and diesel vans and cars would end in 2040.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said the government’s £1.5 billion plan to “make owning an electric vehicle as easy as possible” was working.
Mr Shapps also claimed that in 2019 a “fully electric car was sold every 15 minutes.”
“We want to go further than ever before,” Grant Shapps added. “That’s why we are bringing forward our already ambitious target to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to tackle climate change and reduce emissions.”
In practice, ending the sale of petrol, diesel or hybrid cars or vans would leave consumers with a choice between electric and hydrogen vehicles.
“Drivers support measures to clean up air quality and reduce CO2 emissions but these stretched targets are incredibly challenging,” AA president Edmund King said in a statement issued in response to the government’s new target.
“We must question whether we will have a sufficient supply of a full cross-section of zero-emissions vehicles in less than fifteen years.”
Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has welcomed the announcement. GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: “GEM welcomes this measure, which we see as an important step in tackling the climate emergency the planet is facing.
“In recent years we have witnessed significant steps in the development of alternative fuel vehicles, and we believe that any remaining concerns about range anxiety and inadequate infrastructure will be dispelled if we all work together to embrace the opportunities of a sustainable future on the roads.
“We believe that for this to succeed, we must have strong leadership and clear information so that road users understand what will happen and when it will happen, as we make ready for the ban in 2035.”
Friends of the Earth’s head of policy Mike Childs said: “The government is right to accelerate the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars to curb air pollution and address the climate emergency, but the ban should start in 2030 – not 2035.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was aghast.
“It’s extremely concerning that the government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue,” said Mr Hawes.
“Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero-emissions future, with some 60 plug-in models now on the market and 34 more coming in 2020. However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.
“This is about market transformation, yet we still don’t have clarity on the future of the plug-in car grant – the most significant driver of EV uptake – which ends in just 60 days, while the UK’s charging network is still woefully inadequate.”
Mike Hawes continued: “If the UK is to lead the global zero emissions agenda, we need a competitive marketplace and a competitive business environment to encourage manufacturers to sell and build here. A date without a plan will merely destroy value today. We, therefore, need to hear how government plans to fulfil its ambitions sustainably, one that safeguards industry and jobs, allows people from all income groups and regions to adapt and benefit, and, crucially, does not undermine sales of today’s low emission technologies, including popular hybrids, all of which are essential to delivering air quality and climate change goals now.”

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