As one era draws to an end another one begins. With the 240 series, dating back to the 80’s, Volvo introduced diesel engines on a large scale, now with the new S60, diesel engines disappear from the Swedish maker’s catalogue in favour of plug-in hybrids
There is no denying that the very history of mass mobility has long been accompanied by the presence of a few iconic vehicles. A technical, stylistic and cultural evolution that binds inextricably some names to the automotive industry. One of these is undoubtedly the Fiesta, the successful B-segment car first introduced by Ford in 1976, strongly desired by Lee Iacocca to compete with Italian, French and German vehicles in the European market of the 1980s. Now, more than 45 years after its launch, the seventh edition of the Fiesta has arrived, but no longer as the small unassuming family car it once was, but with a touch of personal style and a whopping 200 hp (not bad for a small car) in the sporty ST version.
Like a football field
As a B-segment car, the Fiesta can easily accommodate a whole family within its 4.04 metres of length (25 mm more for the ST-Line). With a 3- or 5-door configuration, the 1.94 metres wide (at the mirrors) and 1.48 metres high Ford offers enough space for five passengers and enough space for weekly shopping, thanks in part to a generous 2.49 metre wheelbase. The luggage compartment on the 3-door version, without the spare wheel replaced by a repair kit, stands at 292 litres, expandable to 1,093 after reclining the back seat, which become 303 and 984 litres respectively on the 5-door version.
On the outside, the streamlined and distinctive shape, with unmistakable references to the Ford family feeling, boasts clear-cut lines without too many aesthetic digressions, focusing attention on the front grille, light clusters and smooth sides that run all the way to the read, dominated by the large tailgate and C-shaped taillights. Four levels of customization are sure to meet the taste of all Fiesta enthusiasts: Plus, the technological Titanium, the elegant Vignale and the sporty ST-Line, with the more punchy ST version, at the top of the range in terms of performance with its 200hp, side-skirts and rear spoiler.
Compact yet safe, thanks to a new generation of active assistance systems which, through 2 cameras, 3 radars and 12 ultrasound sensors, monitor whatever is happening around the vehicle and the road ahead up to 130 metres away - in total an area larger than a football field - assisting the driver in preventing and avoiding collisions, even at night. These include an automatic anti-collision braking system with pedestrian recognition (Pre-Collision Assist), a semi-automatic Active Park Assist able to autonomously stop when approaching obstacles, thus avoiding small bumps both at the front and rear. On the other hand, Traffic Sign Recognition and Auto High Beam are a first for Fiesta. Not to worry, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping system and pre-collision alert are also among the 15 ADAS solutions offered. A concentration of technology that are normally found on cars far more pretentious than a B-segment.
Inside the interior design features clean lines and a large seamless dashboard, which features circular analogue instruments, with a retro taste, flanked by a 4.2" digital monitor, supported by a central 8" touchscreen with Bluetooth function for navigation and infotainment. Notable features include a B&O Play Sound System with 10 speakers including a rear subwoofer and a 675-watt amplifier, for that disco feeling, and Sync 3 connectivity for access to networking and communication capabilities. Ford provides also for an optional panoramic roof for a broader view of the surroundings.
Performance ad personam
In line with the high standards already applied in the design phase, the Fiesta has a structure made up of 36% steel and boron alloys, used at key deformation points to absorb the kinetic energy of an unfortunate collision. In such an event, other elements, such as the hood or the windscreen wiper mechanism, are designed to deform so as to prevent them from becoming potentially dangerous projectiles for any pedestrians near-by, increasing the safety of those around us.
Mixed suspensions, independent at the front and with a stabilizer bar at the rear on the more aggressive ST version, guarantee a balanced compromise between comfort and dynamic driving, varying the settings according to the trim chosen.
In addition, thanks to a wide range of engines, the Fiesta is able to meet an equally wide range of needs or desires starting with the entry level versions of the range, the 1.1 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine available with 70 and 85hp, combined with a 5-speed manual gearbox. More evolved, the engine range of the EcoBoost series, again a 1-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine with high-pressure direct injection and variable dual timing, offers three different configurations, with 100, 125 and a sporty 140hp version, in this case combined with a low-friction six-speed manual transmission and fancy steering wheel paddle shifters. As far as Diesel engines, the four-cylinder 1.5-litre TDCi, common rail turbocharged with or without variable geometry (depending on the version), always managed by a six-speed manual transmission, is able to deliver 120 and 85 hp of power respectively.
At the top of the range is the 1.5-litre 3-cylinder, with an impressive 200hp at 6,000 rpm and 290 Nm of torque between 1,600 and 4,000 rpm, made possible by a high-pressure direct fuel injection system. The first Ford 3-cylinder engine to be equipped with Ford Sport Technologies, including a 6-speed manual transmission and Quaife limited slip differential, capable of reaching a top speed of 232 km/h and accelerating from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds, while maintaining an acceptable average fuel consumption of 16.7 km per litre of petrol.
The braking system is managed by self-ventilating front and rear discs, with rear drums only on the less powerful versions, which, assisted by ABS braking system and ESP stability control, ensure that the car is safely brought to a halt. Controls are even more evolved in the 3-cylinder ST, which boasts a mode selector to choose between different calibrations between Normal driving and Sport Track modes. Through the Electronic Torque Vectoring Control, the rotation of the wheels on the inside of the corner is regulated by the LSD differential, increasing grip by 10% in critical situations and also reducing braking distance.
In conclusion, the tire options range from 195/60 R15 on steel wheels for the entry level, to 205/40 R18 on stylish alloy wheels (optional), useful for harnessing the punchier Fiesta ST.