Dec 12 2009 Lee Gibson
Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.4 16v Duratec
THE lot of the '30-something' would rarely seem to be a happy one if we were to believe the countless tales of lovelorn woe depicted on our cinima and television screens in recent years.
The trials and tribulations of folk in their thirties have rarely been off those screens since the series of the same name turned the spotlight on a fictional band of Philadelphia yuppies in the late 1980s.
And, be it drama or comedy, the story is usually one of a thin veneer of achievement barely disguising shattered ideals, lost ambition and a life of loneliness for those who have emerged from their twenties with seemingly good careers but still unfilfilled, with no love interest and the prosepct of their forties and mid-life crisis looming large.
Quite why all this misery should be reserved for those between 29 and 39 is not clear and it is, thanfully, just fiction... isn't it?
Well it is if you happen to be one of the happy marketing men at Ford who just go on and on toasting the success of their very own 30-something - the Fiesta.
Since it first appeared 33 years ago the Fiesta, in its various guises, has shifted well over 12 million units for the global motoring giant - and its success seems to be going from strenght to strength as it speeds along the highway towards the middle of its third decade.
Only this month Ford revealed that Fiesta sales in the UK had topped 100,000 for 2009 after it was the biggest selling car in the country in October - the eighth month this year it had topped the charts.
And that's on the back of a continuing raft of price hikes forced upen it, Ford maintains, by the weak pound.
A spin in the latest Titanium 1.4 Duratec reveals, though, just why the Fiesta is such a big hit.
It is quite simply good fun, nippy and responsive in traffic while not found wanting on the open road, comfortable and offers good levels of spec and refinement for a small car.
There is no denying that the new look Fiesta shape, which has been with us since last year, adds a sporty feel which has definitely helped cement its appeal.
But it doesn't just look good.
The 1.4 Duratec engine is durable and versatile and generates 96bhp, which will take you from 0-62mph in 12.2 seconds and a top speed of 109mph.
Running it should not break the bank, either, with average miles per gallon coming in at a touch under 50 and CO2 emissions of 133g/km meaning tax bills, along with insurance, should be manageable.
The drive is also surprisingly quiet for a supermini with good cabin space for the driver and front seat passenger and an eyecatching but conveniently designed control panel.
Rear passengers may feel a little cramped for legroom but the headroom is good and the boot is more than reasonable for the supermini sector, although if you want to increase load space the rear seats do not fold flat.
Safetey is provided by front passenger airbags, knee and side airbags - although you'll have to pay extra for curtain protection and electronic stability programme.
It is the high end spec where this Titanium model really scores big, however, with Ford cramming in some of the gizmos and gadgets usually reserved for much bigger cars.
You'll get alloy wheels, cruise control, folding door mirrors, and privacy glass among other things.
A navigation system with Bluetooth with voice control and USB connectivity can be added for £350 and, if you're feeling really flush, you can pimp your ride a little bit with leather interiors in a range of colours from Ford's Individual packages.
In fact, Fiesta is showing that it still has plenty to offer.
Far from enduring a troublesome 'thirty-something' spell is is more like flirty thirty-something heading confidently for its roaring forties.
Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.4 16v Duratec
Mechanical: 95bhp, 1,388cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 12.2 seconds
Combined mpg: 49.6
Insurance group: 5
CO2 emissions: 133g/km
BiK rating: 15%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles