Ford Fiesta (2008) family revealed

Published: 07 January 2008

Ford’s imminent Fiesta launch will be the marque’s most important small car to date. This one isn’t just aimed at European small-car fans – it’s going global, with sales penned in for the Far East and the US. And CAR Online has the full lowdown on the Blue Oval’s latest supermini:


• June 2008, three- and five-door Fiesta (codenamed B299)
• March 2009, B-Max mini-MPV to replace the Fusion (B232)
• August 2009, Ka city car due (B420)
• Mid-2010, Ford’s answer to the Kangoo workhorse (B460)
• Late 2010, high-performance Fiesta hot hatch (B299ST)
 

Going global


Under the company’s new One Ford strategy, the Blue Oval is merging global product efforts. While Mazda is the chosen partner of the North-American R&D team when developing the Fusion and the Edge, Ford of Europe will be the driving force behind the new 2008 B-car (Fiesta) and the next 2010 C-car Focus replacement.

Fiesta twinned with Mazda 2


The first iteration of the new Fiesta family is the latest Mazda 2. Originally, the Japanese satellite was going to lead the project B2E matrix, but Europe has since adopted the lead role. Then the separate brand engineering teams in Cologne, Dunton, Hiroshima and Dearborn tweak the base concept for their regions.

 
The big plan? Ford is trying to cut costs by eliminating overlapping model programmes where it makes sense. Within the next five years, development chief Derrick Kuzak hopes to boost product integration from 25 to 75 percent. That poses interesting design problems; under the supervision of J Mays, the US and European styling chiefs Peter Horbury and Martin Smith must develop a common form language which is sufficiently flexible.

Different bodystyles


Additional variation will be provided by market-specific bodystyles like the Fiesta four-door notchback under preparation for the US and China. But the European Fiesta, built in Cologne for Europe only, gets the successful kinetic design theme pioneered by the latest Mondeo.


Barely bigger than the model it replaces, the Fiesta hatch will be lower, sportier and less boxy, with a smattering of Mondeo-esque details and styling flourishes. Equipment levels will include base, Sport, Fashion, Ghia, Titanium and ST.

The engine bay


The base engine is the 1.25-litre Sigma unit rated at 60 and 80bhp. One rung above, we find the 1.4-litre Sigma unit good for 95bhp and the 1.6-litre Sigma listed at 115bhp. The two diesel units are the 68bhp 1.4 and the 90bhp 1.6, both purchased from PSA.


The hot Fiesta ST will be powered by a turbocharged 1.6 which should deliver 185bhp. There is also a stronger 110bhp variable-geometry diesel in the pipeline.

Shedding the pounds


At just over 1000kg, the Fiesta follows the welcome lightweight direction pioneered on the Mazda 2. It’s light enough to combine nimble performance with best-in-class fuel economy. In addition to the five-speed manual, Ford will offer a clutchless manumatic. Perhaps even more important are mild hybrid efforts like the available integrated starter generator (ISG) and the smart charging system (SCS) featuring regenerative braking.


Although the chassis retains in principle the current layout, Ford intends to introduce a variety of innovative features. Among them are improved ABS brakes with intermittent disc wipe in rainy conditions; a pre-booster for emergency stops; ESP plus with hill-hold, enhanced split-friction stability and cross wind compensation; retractable and adjustable pedals; anti-whiplash head restrainsts and anti-submarining seats.

Hi-tech solutions


Other tech highlights include a start-stop system, the aforementioned micro-hybrid for diesel- and petrol-engined models, an upshift indicator, a low-loss electric power steering, keyless entry, full telematic connectivity and a combined filler cap/filler door as a first step towards automatic hands-free fuel stops. All in all, the next Fiesta wants to be more emotional, more versatile and more of a driver´s car than the model it replaces.

Meet the rest of the family

Although there will also be a Fiesta panel van, Ford intends to broaden the appeal of its B-car line-up by adding a compact people mover aimed at the Citroen Berlingo, Opel Combo, VW Caddy, Renault Kangoo and Fiat Doblo. Ford calls it an Integrated Style Van (ISV). It’s shorter and taller, less utilitarian and more family-friendly than the Transit Connect – and will be marketed at niches including a camper van derivative. Practical details include a sliding door on each side, a single-piece top-hinged tailgate, fully flexible theatre seating, a high 600kg payload and more than enough space for up to five people and luggage.

 
Then there’s the B-Max, effectively a Fusion replacement. Think of it as a Fiesta crossover but without 4WD – and aimed squarely at Opel Meriva, upcoming Polo Plus and the Renault Modus. In looks, it’ll be a shrunken S-Max, with a high seating position and a split and sliding rear bench.

Ka: the second one


The second-edition Ka will again be a bold design statement. Although it is bound to be difficult to develop an evolution of this iconic shape, Ford is again preparing a distinctly different three-door hatch which will be as unmistakable as a 2CV or a Beetle, sources vouch. But to trim costs, neither a topless Streetka nor a Puma-esque small coupe have so far been pencilled into the programme. For the same reason, plans for a two-seater Cityka are also currently on hold.


Ka II will get a start-stop system, a CNG option and regenerative braking to make it welcome in Europe’s increasingly eco-aware cityscape. Since the next Ka is being developed together with the Fiat 500, both the platform layout and the choice of drivetrains deviate from the classic Ford DNA.

Meet the rest of the family

Although there will also be a Fiesta panel van, Ford intends to broaden the appeal of its B-car line-up by adding a compact people mover aimed at the Citroen Berlingo, Opel Combo, VW Caddy, Renault Kangoo and Fiat Doblo. Ford calls it an Integrated Style Van (ISV). It’s shorter and taller, less utilitarian and more family-friendly than the Transit Connect – and will be marketed at niches including a camper van derivative. Practical details include a sliding door on each side, a single-piece top-hinged tailgate, fully flexible theatre seating, a high 600kg payload and more than enough space for up to five people and luggage.

 
Then there’s the B-Max, effectively a Fusion replacement. Think of it as a Fiesta crossover but without 4WD – and aimed squarely at Opel Meriva, upcoming Polo Plus and the Renault Modus. In looks, it’ll be a shrunken S-Max, with a high seating position and a split and sliding rear bench.

Ka: the second one


The second-edition Ka will again be a bold design statement. Although it is bound to be difficult to develop an evolution of this iconic shape, Ford is again preparing a distinctly different three-door hatch which will be as unmistakable as a 2CV or a Beetle, sources vouch. But to trim costs, neither a topless Streetka nor a Puma-esque small coupe have so far been pencilled into the programme. For the same reason, plans for a two-seater Cityka are also currently on hold.


Ka II will get a start-stop system, a CNG option and regenerative braking to make it welcome in Europe’s increasingly eco-aware cityscape. Since the next Ka is being developed together with the Fiat 500, both the platform layout and the choice of drivetrains deviate from the classic Ford DNA.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

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