MOTABILITY Fiesta automatic is smooth operator

Small cars and automatic gearboxes were always a combination that makers shied away from.

But you can have a supermini with an auto box that gives the big car feel by choosing the Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.6 Powershift which is great for people on Motability. As users of Motability, its value doesn't go unrecognised in the Hardy household. We have an S-Max diesel with Powershift because the hip height and driving position are perfect for us but the Fiesta made a great substitute when the S-Max went for service - so much so it stayed with us for a few days.

Drivers who want hand controls find an auto invaluable - we don't have them but make great use of cruise control instead. The Fiesta Powershift is petrol rather than diesel but with its 44 mpg average over several hundred miles it proves what can be achieved with modern technology. Not long ago, an auto box made the car that used it into something of a gas guzzler no matter what its size but there's no worry that the Fiesta auto is going to run up vast fuel bills.

Ford is also noted for the driving dynamics of its cars so it's no surprise that the Fiesta auto likes to reward keen driving. The 1.6 litre petrol engine is certainly a willing worker, with 104 bhp to call on. It's a good thing because the Fiesta is a roomy enough small car so will carry four or five adults. There's also a decent boot so you can get plenty into it.

The five door 1.6 Powershift lists at £15,345 but you can save £800 by choosing the Style variant or £600 by having the three door. The five door is the car of choice for most people, but the wider front doors of the three door give great access for those with impaired mobility.

Car: Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.6 Powershift

Does it fit your ego...

0-62 mph: 10.5 secs

Top speed: 114 mph

Bhp: 104 @ 6300 rpm

Torque: 110 lb ft @ 4200-4500 rpm

...and your wallet...

Price: £15,345

Combined: 47.9 mpg

CO2 emissions: 138 g/km

Insurance Group: 5

Best bits: fun fest; frugal.