Credit: Paul Walsh
Credit: Paul Walsh
The next-generation Ford Fiesta has been spotted testing in three-door guise, putting an end to rumours that the model would be available as a five-door only.
The latest spy pictures come just weeks after a development car in five-door guise was seen parked in a motorway services car park in Belgium.
The latest sighting marks the third time the 2017 Fiesta has been seen running with its own body. Earlier cars used adapted versions of the current car's exterior (and are shown in the gallery above).
As the photos confirm, the 2017 Fiesta has a completely different design from that of today's model. Although the rear of the latest mule is disguised, its wider track is clear to see.
The current Fiesta is 3969mm long and 1709mm wide, with a height of 1468mm, but the future model looks set to expand almost all of these dimensions.
Ford is expected to take some styling inspiration for the new Fiesta from the facelifted Focus, which went on sale in the UK in 2015, and the similarities are just about visible through the test mule's disguise.
The car gets a more angular nose with tighter headlights. At the back, the current car's vertical light units have been swapped for horizontal ones.
Ford is being tight-lipped about the car's technical specifications, but a range of small-capacity turbocharged three and four-cylinder engines seems almost inevitable.
A Fiesta ST range-topper is likely to retain a boosted 1.6-litre engine but, like the other engines in the range, it'll produce more power than before along with lower emissions.
Ford recently dropped the base models from the current Fiesta range following the arrival of the five-door Ka+. This trend will continue in the next-gen car, which will be moved slightly upmarket with a more premium cabin and mature appearance.
Arrival date and rivals
The current sixth-generation Fiesta, which was launched in 2008 and facelifted in 2013, will be due for replacement towards the end of this year. As a result, a late 2016/early 2017 launch is likely for the new version.
Speaking to Autocar at the Detroit motor show, Ford sales and marketing boss Stephen Odell said it was "in our interests to keep a car that is so well received fresh in its market”. Odell added that he was not concerned about the challenge of replacing such a successful car, as he backed the design and engineering teams to deliver.
“I remember when we launched the current car the hand-wringing that went on, as it was so different; could we even call it a Fiesta? But the car makes the name, not the name makes the car. It’s still a fantastic-looking car. I’m paid to say that but the sales back it up.”
Despite the growing provenance of the new Ford Performance division, officials have been quick to deny rumours of a Fiesta RS. Ford Performance director Dave Pericak said the company is more than happy with having the ST and the limited-edition ST200 as its Fiesta range-toppers.
Similarly, Odell wouldn't confirm or deny the existence of an RS model, or indeed whether any Ford apart from the Focus would receive the RS treatment. He said only that RS “was a really valuable brand” which had “an opportunity to keep it fresh”.
Sam Sheehan and Darren Moss