The covers are off Ford’s all new Fiesta, but is it a worthy replacement to its predecessor.
The last generation Ford Fiesta was a global success for Ford Europe, it was Ford’s bestselling B segment model and dominated the mid-range supermini market. Considering the 7th generation Fiesta has been in production for nearly a decade suggests Ford is reluctant to risk replacing the model. Now though there is a new one, which was recently unveiled at Ford’s in house ‘Go Further’ event in Cologne, Germany.
Considering the success Ford had with the outgoing model the styling alterations are relatively unchanged, however there are subtle changes including the more restrained Focus like grill with new sweeping headlamp clusters. Ford has also ditched the distinctive vertical tail lights in favour of L.E.D equipped horizontal units.
A large proportion of the limited style tweaks are due to the Fiesta retaining the current Fiesta’s floor pan and suspension mounts, which results in the 2017 spec Fiesta having an overall body shape not dissimilar to its predecessor. This suggests Ford’s instinctive to bring the Fiesta up to date and give it a refreshed look, but continue with the well proven chassis of the 7th generation car.
Spec wise the Fiesta will come loaded with an array of petrol and diesel engines including the 3 cylinder 1 litre eco boost, which offers zero road tax. However, some of the entry level base models will be axed. In an effort to give the Fiesta a more upmarket feel, Ford has taken the decision to reduce the range to Zetec onwards trim levels. This means no Fiesta with steel wheels or standard radio within the range. As a result the ‘entry level’ 2017 Fiesta will cost from £15,000 with minimal optional extras – a whole £3,000 more than the previous model and crucially £2,000 more than a VW polo or Vauxhall Corsa.
Ford has reshuffled its model range price points so the new Ford Ka+ replaces the lower spec Fiesta variants. However Ford’s tactic of replacing the budget Fiesta with essentially an Indian made cheap runabout with minimal cabin space, may not go down well with potential buyers for a value orientated Ford badged car.
One major factor Ford has expressed for pushing the Fiesta range more upmarket was to improve the cabin feel and quality of interior plastics. Ford has given the cabin a complete overhaul with improved quality/finish all round resulting in less hard, scratchy moulded plastics and more soft touch, smooth finished materials.
Ford has also gone to great lengths to modernise the cabin controls – gone is the button littered dash with a more stylish and user friendly 8.5 inch touch screen in its place, with inbuilt satellite navigation, radio, voice recognition and Bluetooth controls.The new Fiesta also has additional technology once considered the preserve of £30,000 German saloon cars. New optional extras include features like road sign recognition, lane assist, radar guided cruise control, automatic lights and even emergency pedestrian avoidance that will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision with passing pedestrians and traffic. In addition all of Ford’s established in car tec like the ‘quick clear’ zinc plated heated windshield and anti glare interior rear mirror remain.
There are also alterations to the Fiesta’s under body. The car has a bigger, wider body which results in a 30mm wider track at the front and 10mm wider at the rear. A stiffer front anti roll bar is another notable change and the whole body shell is 15% stiffer than before, which could potentially improve the Fiesta’s road holding manners.
Other mentionable news includes the introduction of a Fiesta ‘crossover’ model with a higher ride height and reinforced under body panels and the continuation of the highly received ST line. Although none of these models will be revealed until late 2017 and entered into production in 2018.
Image sources: Autoexpress/Autocar