The Fiesta’s new appearance exemplifies the care Ford has taken not to step too far from its predecessor’s shadow.
No one, certainly not a repeat buyer, is likely to mistake this new generation of it for a rival. There’s a much higher chance it will be mistaken for the previous generation. That likelihood, though, somewhat understates the first-rate job done with the exterior styling.
The last model was distinctive, but stubby, too, and notoriously wedge-like in profile. Most of the best work has been done on softening and simplifying the design; using straighter lines or, in the case of the bonnet bulge, eliminating them completely. Of course, the real coup is proportional: the new Fiesta is 71mm longer and 13mm wider than before – a modest growth rate given its starting point but significant enough for the evolutionary approach to result in a more satisfyingly balanced and subtly better-looking car.
Alongside the daintiness, Ford has added some additional muscle mass. The car’s structure is claimed to be 15 percent stiffer than its predecessor’s, a benefit of 35 percent more boron steel, stiffer mounting points for the front subframe and rear torsion bar and an increase in laser welding in the body.
Improved torsional rigidity is the ideal starting point for a chassis overhaul, which, in the Fiesta’s case, includes a lighter, stiffer anti-roll bar in the nose, tougher, double-bonded suspension bushes and a physically larger twist beam at the back. Having increased the front track by 30mm and the rear by 10mm, Ford claims 10 percent more cornering grip, too, abetted by brake-operated torque vectoring.