Ford's all-new Fiesta is guaranteed to wow the crowds when the wraps come off at next month's Geneva Motor Show.Taking much of its exterior and interior design from the striking Verve Concept, the next generation of Europe's best-loved small car promises to shake up the supermini scene at its global premiere.
More than 12 million Fiesta models have been sold since its introduction in 1976, and the arrival of this latest opens another chapter in the story of Ford's most successful small car.
Following the company's `kinetic design' philosophy introduced on all the latest models, the 2008 Fiesta marks a major leap forward in terms of style, craftsmanship, quality of materials and model choice.
Behind the innovative design lies a car that remains true to Fiesta fundamentals of practicality, affordability, agility and safety. The compact dimensions remain, yet the head-turning looks wrap a structure that's both lighter and stronger than before. Thoroughly modern and designed to meet every need and desire of today's supermini buyers, the sixth generation of the Fiesta family will be offered in both three and five-door body styles. The prominent coup-like profile of both versions indicates how deeply the spirit of the Verve Concept has been carried into production.
It's a similar story inside. A Verve Concept interior - the futuristic, mobile phone-inspired, human-machine interface technology of the instrument panel centre stack - will be a core feature of the new Ford Fiesta when it hits the road.The Ford Convers+ system represents a major step forward for the small car buyer. It is just one of several new features and technologies, including keyless vehicle technology symbolized by the distinctive 'Ford Power' button on the instrument panel.
Connectivity is another new Fiesta strength. The new center console features a convenient tray for MP3 players, complete with built-in sockets for an auxiliary (aux) audio and USB cables, along with the traditional 12 volt outlet. This allows the car's audio system to control and charge the MP3 player. Bluetooth connectivity with voice control is also offered in the new Fiesta, along with other big-car technologies.
Powering the Fiesta to global success is a mix of efficient gasoline and diesel engines. The 1.25-liter (60 and 80hp) and 1.4-liter (91hp) Duratec gasoline units are joined by a new Duratec 1.6-liter Ti-VCT (115hp) option. This advanced powertrain provides an additional 15hp over the outgoing model but, thanks to variable valve timing, there is no fuel consumption penalty.
For the ultimate in economy, Ford's TDCi common-rail diesel engines will continue to be offered in 1.4-liter (68hp) and 1.6-liter (90hp) guises. From launch, all Fiestas will be equipped with the slick Ford Durashift five-speed manual transmission, and a four-speed automatic transmission will be available on selected models.
Throughout each generation, the Fiesta badge has always been synonymous with agile, entertaining handling and this remains the case. The bold new design may be tougher and safer but this isn't at the sacrifice of driving enjoyment. New Fiesta retains the MacPherson strut front suspension and twist-beam rear suspension layout that has been one of its traditional strengths, but the new suspension and steering system has undergone significant development.Ford's acclaimed dynamics engineers worked hard to enhance Fiesta's ride comfort and isolate road, wind and powertrain noise from the cabin. The result is an impressively quiet drive for a small car.
Electric-Power Assist Steering (E-PAS) is introduced in the Fiesta for the first time. E-PAS provides the right balance of low-speed assistance and excellent feel and responsiveness.
With Ford of Europe referring to this Fiesta as a global car, it is hoped the supermini will make it to North America to give buyers another choice when shopping for a premium small car that offers excellent economy and agility.