Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to be so ‘at one’ with a car that it begins to feel like an extension of your own arms and legs.

So neat and predictable is the Ford Fiesta’s handling - and so smooth its power delivery - that man and machine feel in perfect harmony from the outset.

There’s no question that this little bundle of fun leaves its classmates lagging well behind when it comes to driving dynamics.

Its lively character was never more apparent than during a test drive on Mortimer Road, between Yorkshire and Derbyshire, where the car’s fast and accurate steering was a match for the twisty rural route.

The set-up of the Fiesta and road-hugging qualities allow the driver to develop a real trust of the vehicle when cornering.

While this hugely popular supermini is available in various trim levels,buyers with a zest for an engaging driving experience should waste no time in opting for the sporty ST-Line Edition, tested here.

Indeed, the stiffer suspension on this version makes for even more agile cornering, while an aggressive-looking bodykit and larger 17in alloy wheels enhance its looks.

My test car was powered by the Ecoboost Hybrid 155hp unit. This engine has something of a split personality - and that’s a good thing.

Around town, it does exactly what a downsized 998cc motor is supposed to do - namely save petrol, cut emissions and go about its business in a quiet unassuming manner.

However, get the Fiesta out on the ooen road - with the boost of a turbo - and it’s really quite nippy.

Clearly, a sub 1.0-litre piece of metal is never going to become a fire-breathing monster, but a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds feels sufficiently brisk in real world driving conditions.

The hybrid powertrain includes a 48-volt belt-driven starter-generator motor, which gives a bit back in terms of improved economy and also kicks in to cover any power gaps left by turbo lag.

It therefore falls into the category of a ‘mild hybrid’, with no need to plug the Fiesta in to charge it and no chance to whizz around on electric power alone.

The battery is topped up under deceleration and braking, and you’ll notice the re-gen effect the second you lease off the throttle as the regenerative braking system kicks in.

You can keep track of how much energy you’re replenishing thanks to a little graphic on the dashboard.

In terms of the interior, all trims come have a height-adjustable driver's seat, allowing you to get into a good driving position that also feels a bit higher than some classmates.

Things are a bit tighter in the back, with the middle rear seat being quite narrow. In that respect, you probably wouldn't want three adults sat alongside each other on a longer journey.

The dash is nicely laid-out, with all location of all the controls making sense.

The 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system is straightforward to use, but not quite as responsive as some rivals.

The steering wheel and gearknob feel upmarket, while there's also plenty of soft-touch plastic dotted around.

The panoramic sunroof on the test car was a welcome feature especially as my test drive into Derbyshire came on one of the recent sunny days.

In terms of looks, the current Fiesta - especially in ST-Line guise, has a dynamic and purposeful appearance, with chiselled lines running through the bodywork and extra body kit and a rear spoiler creating a slightly more aggressive look.

In conclusion, there's no doubt that the Fiesta continues to warrant its reputation for being a car that puts a smile on your face. With hybrid technology offering that bit more economy, there's no reason why it can't maintain its popularity.

Ford Fiesta hybrid ST-Line 155PS

PRICE: £21,655 on the road

ENGINE: 998cc turbo Ecoboost, with hybrid technology

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and 136mph max

ECONOMY: 56mpg and emissions of 113g/km

TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual, front wheel drive

WARRANTY: 36 months and 60,000 miles