In its current guise, the Ford Fiesta has been kicking around since 2008, making it a veritable dinosaur in the compact world. Sure, it handles well, but modern buyers want more than a keen chassis, they want easy connectivity and lots of interior space. Ford has aimed to tick those boxes with the new, seventh-generation Fiesta, without ruining the spark that defines the current car. No pressure, then.
As one of the longest serving nameplates in the Ford lineup, and one of the best-selling cars in the range today, the new Fiesta is a big deal for the Blue Oval. No expense was spared on the launch in Cologne, which took place as part of an hour-long presentation about where the brand is now, and where it hopes to go as the car industry changes over the coming years.
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The story on the outside is one of evolution rather than revolution. Ford has split the new model into four distinct model lines, each of which is designed to appeal to a different type of buyer. To our eyes it looks a bit boring, but there are clear links to the rest of the Ford range in the grille and slim headlamps, and anyone who liked the previous generation is unlikely to be offended by the new look.
Inside, the change between sixth and seventh generation is much more pronounced than outside. Gone is the button-heavy, mobile-phone inspired center console of the old model, and in its place is an 8-inch touchscreen, kitted out with the latest Sync 3 infotainment. It looks similar to the cabin in the new EcoSport, and both cars share options like B&O Play audio.
Although buyers will still be able to pick and choose from the option list, the range has been split into four distinct lines, each of which guns for a different type of buyer with a different look and spec list. Sitting at the top of the tree is the Fiesta Vignale, the latest Ford to try and move upmarket with bespoke interior trim options and a more subdued look. Will compact buyers be willing to pay a premium for soft leather and a fancy badge? We're not sure, but Ford clearly has faith.
Ford hasn't revealed details about the engine lineup in the new Fiesta, but you can expect a range of small turbocharged engines to be available from launch. Ford was one of the first to properly commit to downsizing, fitting smaller turbo engines in everything from the Mondeo to the F–150. The Fiesta should follow the same path, running with a range of engines that use less fuel – but produce more power – than before.
Pricing for the new Fiesta hasn't been revealed, but you can expect it to start at around US$14,500 (like the current car) when it arrives in showrooms.