By Mike Torpey on 2016-10-21 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Ford Fiesta Zetec S
WHICHEVER way you look at it, red and black make for a sexy combination.
Take a set of 17-inch, eight-spoke gloss finish Panther Black wheels and attach them to a shiny Race Red bodyshell with pitch black painted roof.
The result is the automotive equivalent of red lipstick and black stockings - dirty, desirable and a real eye catcher.
But it's not just about the visuals because these two Zetec S versions of Britain's favourite supermini also deliver a hefty punch.
In fact they boast more wallop per litre than a Bugatti Veyron as they are powered by a 140ps version of Ford's multi award-winning EcoBoost petrol engine.
This unit actually has more than twice the power on a litre-for-litre basis than its predecessor - the 1.6-litre 100ps engine that powered the Fiesta S a dozen years ago.
Acceleration from 0-62mph is nine seconds, top speed is 125mph and there's the potential to return a combined fuel figure of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km.
Impressive stuff for a car that has among the best dynamics in the business and the common sense design and simple driveability that has consolidated its place on top of the UK sales charts.
And that driving experience is enhanced thanks to revised gear ratios for the five-speed manual transmission and a sports suspension set-up.
The result is a car that's a pleasure to drive - and also be seen in.
The tested Zetec S Red model may not look quite so provocative as its Black stablemate but for me it has much greater allure.
Its stand-out touches are everywhere, from the grille surrounds, bumper aerofoil and mirror caps in contrasting colours, to the sports bumpers, side skirts and rear roof spoiler.
You also get a black leather sports steering wheel and gear lever gaiter with red stitching, black floor mats with red stitching and charcoal black sport seats, also with the contrast stitching.
The list of standard kit on the Fiesta Red - including sports pedals, LED daytime running lights and of course those gloss black wheels - is comprehensive.
Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red
Mechanical: 140ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 9.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 62.8
Insurance Group: 15
C02 emissions: 104g/km
Bik rating: 17%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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