Taking much of its exterior and interior design from the striking Verve Concept, the next generation of Britain'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 Fiesta 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, however, lies a car that remains true to Fiesta fundamentals of practicality, affordability, agility and safety. The compact congestion-busting 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 bodystyles. The prominent coupé-like profile of both versions indicates how deeply the spirit of the Verve Concept has been carried into production. Make no mistake about it – this is a small car with a big presence.
It's a similar story inside. A Verve Concept interior – the futuristic, mobile phone-inspired, human-machine interface technology of the instrument panel center stack – will be a core feature of the new Ford Fiesta when it hits the road.
The Ford Convers+ system – already available on the Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models – will also feature, representing 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 more big-car technologies.
Powering the Fiesta to global success is a mix of efficient petrol and diesel engines. The 1.25-liter (60 and 80PS) and 1.4-liter (91PS) Duratec petrol units are joined by a new Duratec 1.6-liter Ti-VCT (115PS) option. This advanced powertrain provides an additional 15PS over the outgoing model but, thanks to variable valve timing, with 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 (68PS) and 1.6-liter (90PS) guises. Later in 2008 a Fiesta ECOnetic with CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km will become available.
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.
Summing up the latest Fiesta ahead of its Geneva debut Martin Smith, Executive Director of Design for Ford of Europe said: "All the vital elements of 'kinetic design' have been translated into the new Fiesta to create a dynamic spirit of fun and energy.
"New Fiesta evokes an instant emotional response that says 'I want one' which extends the traditionally practical values of the Fiesta to appeal to a new, style-conscious generation of small car buyers."