Ford unveils radical new 3- and 5-door Fiesta
4 March 2008

This is the new 5-door Fiesta. It looks very similar to the Verve concept Ford paraded last autumn – and that’s no great surprise. But rather than being a production model adapted to look like a concept (an old trick often deployed to ready the public for a new design), the Verve turns out to have been one of three design proposals that Ford market-researched, and this one scored more highly than any car it has tested before. There were some misgivings within Ford that it might be too aggessively sporty, but in the end the real thing is much like the Verve. Design chief Martin Smith has revealed that plenty of young buyers have never heard of the Fiesta, despite its having been on the roads for nearly 30 years. “So we asked what we need to do to create a car that they’d buy.” This is the result. Smith is pleased that Italian buyers see this new Fiesta as “a sprinty car”.It’s an term that neatly characterises its sculpted and athletic lines. Not that these were easy to produce. Chief exterior designer Stefan Lamm said that one of the the harder challenges was persuading engineering to move the A-pillars forward. “It makes the engine bay smaller and reduces the front overhang, making it harder to meet pedestrian crash requirements,” he explained.The tailgate is also quite an expensive piece said Lam. Mounting the mirrors on the doors rather than their frames – it makes the car look racier – also adds to the cost. Still, Ford saved money by sharing this car’s under-structure and suspension with the Mazda 2 and it shares its cousin’s low kerb weight. It also has a more sophisticated dashboard that’s very sculptural and part-inspired by mobile phone design. Production Fiestas appear in showrooms this October, and don’t be surprised to see loads on the road a year later – it has to be one of the most appealing superminis for years.

Richard Bremner

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

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