Ford’s Fiesta is currently the best selling car in the UK, and remains one of the world’s most popular small cars. A few days back, Ford lifted the lid on an all-new Fiesta. I headed over to the launch in Cologne, Germany to find out more.
The new Fiesta combines familiar looks and proven mechanicals in a package that has been tailored for more customers than ever before.
A tweaked chassis meet revised engines and all-new transmissions while four different model ranges cater for everyone from the insurance bound boy/girl racer to business executives and family buyers. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the introduction of the Fiesta Active, a crossover-style addition that shows the model in an all-new light. The new Fiesta is expected to start from around the £14,000 mark.
Let’s get it out of the way, the design of the mark 7 Fiesta bares a striking resemblance to the outgoing Fiesta. I’d go as far to say that never before has there been a Fiesta that looked quite so similar to the one that came before it. Still, to regard the Mk7 as just a facelift would be entirely wrong, and who could blame Ford for not radically reworking such a popular design.
Unsurprisingly, the Fiesta has got larger for 2017, although not significantly so. Parked alongside an Mk6, the new car would stand proud by 71mm. It’s 12mm wider overall too.
Inside, things have changed a lot more noticeably. Gone is the unusual dashboard arrangement of the old car that seemed to gain style cues from Nokia’s early smartphones. In its place is a large, hi-resolution touchscreen display. In general things are a whole lot less cluttered, with fewer buttons and a simpler overall look.
Like the Zetec S models it supercedes, the ST-Line can be thought of as a sheep in wolf’s clothing, its an ST for those who can’t justify, or simply don’t want the negatives that go along with a performance engine. The styling speaks for itself. It’s available with 3 or 5 doors.
The Fiesta Active is the first in a line of forthcoming Active models from Ford. Crossover styling means raised suspension, large body moldings, unique alloys and a different grille. It’s available as a 5 door only. No 4×4 versions have been launched – yet.
Previously reserved for Ford’s more premium models, the Titanium name now appears to be what the firm refers to as its more ordinary car. Visually, it’s probably the cleanest looking, with flowing lines and none of the bulgy bits of the ST-line.
The new Fiesta Vignale represents the world’s first truly luxury Fiesta, in a move to shift the car towards a more affluent buyer. There’s a unique, distinctive grille along with plenty of chrome and polished surfaces. Inside it’s also predictably smart. The opening panoramic roof is also a nice looking option.
The current Fiesta is widely accepted as the best handling small car, yet Ford’s Fiesta dynamics engineers haven’t rested when it comes to the this latest version.
First up there’s a much wider track than before: the front wheels are now 30mm wider apart and the rears 10mm further out than on the old car. The result, Ford says, is 10% more mechanical grip. The suspension also features clever new top mounts that have allowed Ford engineers to add compliance where it wasn’t previously possible to do so.
Ford’s Ecoboost range of engines were worthy of the game-changer title they were given, and so it’s no surprise that the 1 litre turbocharged three-cylinder power-plants remain in 99hp, 123hp and 138hp outputs. For the first time a Fiesta can now be configured with such an engine and an all-new six speed gearbox too. Cylinder shutdown technology is also set to be introduced to the Ecoboost range to further reduce fuel consumption.
On top of this, Ford now offers a 1.1 litre naturally aspirated three-cylinder lump that’ll cater to those on a budget – it’s available in 69hp or 84hp versions. Those looking for a diesel Fiesta shouldn’t be disappointed either, there’s now a 118hp version of the 1.5 TDCi engine as well as an 84hp low blow version.
Ford’s engineers then looked into every component of the old car’s steering system and worked to reduce friction wherever possible. Ford says this has amounted to a 20% reduction in friction; something, which it insists, is noticeable behind the wheel.
The brakes have been uprated across the board, with larger discs and calipers, a reworked servo that’s said to remove unwanted free play. Only the lowest spec cars will use drums at the rear.
Technology and safety
Ford is keen to point out that it thinks the Fiesta is the smartest small car around right now, and 2017 sees the Fiesta adopt a number of clever driving assist features that previously were reserved to larger, more premium offerings such as auto main/dip beam and traffic sign recognition.
In total the Fiesta can be equipped with 15 Fiesta driver assistance technologies including (ahem, wait for it)… Adaptive Cruise Control, Adjustable Speed Limiter, Blind Spot Information System, Distance Indication, Driver Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, Lane Keeping Alert and Forward Collision Warning.
It’s the last one that is particularly clever though, as Ford’s Forward Collision Warning system has now been uprated to work at a distance of up to 130m, and can detect pedestrians as well as other cars.
Other notable features
Audiophiles will likely love the new relationship between Ford and audio partner Bang and Olufsen, which brings exciting audio options including a subwoofer mounted in the car’s spare wheel well.
Door protectors. Yep, you may have seen them before as they aren’t entirely new and other manufacturers have had similar ideas but I just love Ford’s integrated door protectors. As the door opens, a linkage presents a plastic bumper at the doors leading edge, preventing you from damaging your paintwork. As you close the door the bumper silently and rapidly retracts out of sight. Check the video below. Nifty.
The new Fiesta may not look radical on the outside but dig deeper and you’ll struggle to find many components that are shared with the previous model.
The new, high-power diesel Fiesta along with the introduction of a 6-speed Ecoboost spec car both seem to be great moves from Ford. It’ll be interesting to see if the market shows interest in the Fiesta Active crossover and I think the same can be said for the luxury spec Vignale cars.