NEW FORD FIESTA READY TO PARTY
The Ford Fiesta has been around for nearly forty two years now and since its introduction, has become rather popular the world over.
Its main rival has been the Volkswagen Polo, which was recently been replaced by a newer and better version. Ford South Africa wasted no time in shipping its latest Fiesta to our shores. Is this new Fiesta ready to party? I attended the national media launch to find out.
Looks grown up
The new Fiesta has been redesigned and although it still features some trademark Fiesta design elements, the designers have given the car a somewhat grown-up look. From the front, one will notice a more rounded, smoother looking design, which can be attributed to the car’s new headlight design featuring daytime running LEDs on the top spec Titanium model.
The most eye catching element on the front is the Aston Martin-like grille, which features a chrome finish on the Titanium. The lower front bumper houses fog lights as well as a more aerodynamic design. Viewed from the side, the Fiesta boasts smoother, less prominent lines than before, but retains the same upward sweep of the rear window. It is unmistakably Fiesta but more refined.
The rear is also easy on the eyes. Gone are the large vertical taillights and replaced by narrower horizontal lights which wrap around into the rear quarter panels, much like those seen on the all-new Focus. New wheels and a host of new colours round the changes off.
A modern interior
One of my biggest gripes about the previous Fiesta’s interior, was the button festooned smartphone inspired dashboard which become rather dated in its nearly 12 year production run. Luckily, Ford has rectified this by equipping the Fiesta with a new freestanding infotainment display incorporating its SYNC 3 system. At launch, the Fiesta offers a choice of two displays; a 6.5-inch on the entry-level Trend, and an eight-inch setup for the Titanium with added satellite navigation. Both versions though get Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and dual USB ports, as well as voice control. A new 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster display completes what is otherwise a stylish, quality feeling interior.
It’s quite spacious
Being some 71mm longer, 13mm wider and 19mm higher than the previous Fiesta, the new newcomer is also more spacious with Ford claiming a 16mm improvement in legroom, while boot space goes up from 276-litres to an impressive 303 litres.
Ford’s engineers have improved on the overall driving experience of the new Fiesta by improving grip levels by 10%, improving torsional stiffness and tweaking the brakes to allow for quicker stopping times.
Under the bonnet, buyers have the option of two engines; the familiar 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol delivering 74kW/170Nm in the Trend and 92kW/170Nm in the Titanium with an overboost function taking the latter to 200Nm, and a brand new 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel producing 63kW/175Nm.
New to the Fiesta range is a six-speed manual gearbox which is standard on all models, although the EcoBoost can be fitted with a six-speed torque converter automatic in place of the old six-speed Powershift dual-clutch automatic. However, while this ‘box sports paddle shifters for the first time, it can only be paired to the low output engine regardless of the trim level.
On the launch route, I sampled the oil burner and managed a very impressive 4.5-litres/100km, making it the model to consider the most.
The new Fiesta not only looks more mature than the previous model , but it feels more grown-up as well. The drive is noteworthy as is the build quality and standard features on both models.
Although not as premium feeling as the Polo, it does offer more for less and rates as a suitable alternative to not only the German, but also those offerings from South Korea.
Price & Warranty
Standard on all models are a four year/120 000km warranty, three year/unlimited distance roadside assistance plan and a four year/60 000km service plan.