|Fresh exterior includes distinctive new 'face' and New interior trims and features|
A brand new, 1.6-litre Fiesta Sport and a completely fresh front-end design across the range head the list of changes to the Ford Fiesta for the year 2000.
Altogether, five series are now available in most markets, from the value-packed Fiesta Budget to the high specification Ghia, all featuring upgrades inside and out. Apart from the three-door only Sport, all series are generally available in both three-door and five-door bodystyles.
Fresh exterior includes distinctive new 'face'
The Ford Fiesta's distinctive new 'face' signals a range of enhancements for the latest generation of one of Europe's most successful small cars.
New, upswept headlamps attract the eye first, and are set within a completely redesigned front end, intended to reflect engineering precision beneath the skin. This distinctive, machined look consciously echoes the 'New Edge' design cues already established by other Ford models such as the Ka and the Ford Focus. The use of a consistent design 'language' for all recent Ford models highlights the common characteristics that they share, in particular an emphasis on driving enjoyment.
A new grille links the dramatic headlamp lenses, which incorporate amber turn indicators. These trapezoid headlamps also intersect crisply with the new front wings and restyled bonnet. In place of the previous smooth radius, the new bonnet has two feature lines forming a subtle front-to-rear V-shape, which visually lowers the bonnet line. The new grille is made up of matt black bars and ribs, while the new Fiesta Sport model uses a unique stainless steel wire mesh design.
The resilient polypropylene bumpers have been restyled and are now body-coloured on all Fiesta car models, for the first time. The front bumper now includes a wide lower intake with outer slots that direct air to the front brakes. On most models, the upper bumper surfaces have new, mid-grey caps to complete the transformation. These link visually into new, wide grey mouldings that run down the sides of the mid-series Fiesta Ambiente and Fiesta Trend. The high series Fiesta Ghia is distinguished by having all-in-one bumpers, which are completely body-coloured to match its special, elliptical bodyside mouldings.
The new Fiesta Sport has unique bumper designs, though also with grey caps and matching bodyside mouldings. Its additional exterior features include neat, circular front fog lamps, body-coloured sill extensions and a bright tailpipe trim on the exhaust. Both Sport and Trend models carry a body-coloured tailgate spoiler.
Unique and assertive 15-spoke, 15 inch alloy wheels with 195/50 R15 tyres complete the head-turning looks of the new Fiesta Sport. The Ghia model has 185/55 R14 tyres on smart, new seven-spoke 14 inch alloy wheels, which have a lightly dished centre cap outlined by a chromed ring. Other series have 13 or 14 inch tyres, with new designs of six or seven-spoke wheel cover, all incorporating a blue Ford oval, though Trend models in selected markets also have alloy wheels.
Up to 14 exterior paint colours are available across the range, depending on market, including five attractive new shades: Amparo Blue, Aquamarine Frost, Ford Racing Blue (unique to the new Fiesta Sport), Medium Charcoal Grey and Ontario Blue. As a finishing detail on the car's exterior, the tailgate features a fresh new design for the Fiesta badge.
New interior trims and features
To complement the updated exterior, the well specified Fiesta cabin has been refreshed with new trim materials and colours on all series, and also offers more comfortable seats and other occupant benefits.
The Fiesta's front seats have been redesigned using construction techniques originally developed for the Ford Focus. The new Fiesta Sport is equipped with the same sports seats as the Ford Puma, designed for improved lateral support to hold the occupants more securely while cornering.
All seats now feature smart stitched panels of contrasting trim fabric, different for each series, and most fabrics are new. In addition, the main seat fabrics for both Fiesta Sport and Trend models are colour co-ordinated to match the car's exterior paintwork (two colourways for Sport and four for Trend). The interior environment colour on all models is now 'dark graphite', though Ambiente and Ghia series also offer the choice of a 'truffle' environment colour with most exterior paints. The instrument cluster retains the well-accepted layout, with sports-style white dials for the Sport and Trend models, and traditional white-on-black design for other series. The whole cluster has recently been upgraded to have LED illumination, clearer graphics, and electronically operated speedometer and trip/total distance recorders.
The instrument cluster surround on both the Fiesta Sport and Trend models features a distinctive and completely new, mid-grey metallic surface treatment, which in the Trend model complements a matching metallic insert on the soft-feel, moulded gearshift knob. The new Fiesta Sport interior is distinguished by a high level of colour-keying, in the fabric on the seats and doors, plus a steering wheel part-covered in red or blue leather. These pick up the colour-keyed theme from the trim fabric on the seats and doors.
The interior of the already highly specified Fiesta Ghia gains a new design of leather-covered gear knob, complete with a smart chrome insert, and chrome scuff plates. Other recently-introduced Ghia refinements include 'theatre-style' dimming of the interior light, as part of the remote double-locking package.
All Fiesta models (except Budget and Sport series) now feature a handy additional storage location - a pouch on the front of the driver's seat cushion - as well as gaining a map-book pocket on the passenger seat-back (with pockets on both front seats for the Ghia). Owners now also have the choice of either an ashtray or an extra stowage compartment. Ambiente and Ghia models also have a new stowage net in the luggage compartment.
The Fiesta interior retains many popular features, including a soft-feel steering wheel, 60/40 split rear seat-back, a long centre console with integral cup-holder (with manual transmission only), and the sweeping, one-piece instrument panel with its ergonomically designed controls, generous glove box and space for a large-format Ford audio unit.
A finishing touch for the latest line-up is a smart, fabric covered, zip-up owner's literature wallet, similar to that introduced for the Ford Focus.
New 1.6-litre engine for Fiesta Sport heads extensive powertrain line up
A potent 103 PS 1.6-litre, gasoline engine from Ford's compact, light and efficient Zetec-SE family joins the Fiesta line-up for the first time, to power the new Fiesta Sport model. The Sport model's new 1.6-litre, 16-valve engine shares the refinement and performance feel of the Fiesta's 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre Zetec-SE units, but provides considerably more power and, in particular, more torque. Peak torque rises from 125 Nm at 4,500 revs/min in the 1.4-litre to 145 Nm at 4,000 revs/min in the 1.6-litre, significantly enhancing the car's acceleration. Over the 90 PS 1.4-litre, the 1.6-litre also cuts the 50-100 km/h time by more than 20 per cent, from 15.3 to 11.7 seconds, and the new engine returns a 0-100 km/h speed of just 10.2 seconds. The 1.6 Zetec-SE has already proved its outstanding capabilities in the Ford Focus, European Car of the Year 1999. In the new Fiesta Sport installation, it has been re-engineered to deliver a small increase in power (103 PS instead of 100 PS), thanks to revised engine calibration and a free-breathing, Puma-style exhaust and intake system.
The engaging performance characteristics of the Fiesta's new 1.6-litre engine are emphasised by its sound, which has been tuned by Ford's team of Acoustic Engineers to provide the car's occupants with a distinctively sporting note during acceleration. This is an example of what Ford calls 'functional harmony', ensuring that those things the driver senses - by sound, sight or feel - are totally consistent with the character of the car, and in harmony with each other.
The engine sound for the new Fiesta Sport has largely been achieved by tuning the air intake system, based on research and acoustic engineering expertise originally developed for the Ford Puma sports coupé. The Fiesta installation includes a quarter-wave tube and a Helmholtz resonator within the air cleaner assembly, as well as a porous air intake duct which has been located so that the desired sound is mainly audible to the car's occupants rather than the outside world.
Numerous actions have also been taken to ensure that the increased output of the new engine does not result in unwanted noise intrusion. Measures include new seals behind the front wings and additional insulation between the engine compartment and cabin. The engine mount system has also been optimised for ride comfort and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). A unique set of gear ratios and a shorter final drive contribute good performance feel, matched with a slick, short-throw gear-change. Optimised throttle progression adds further to the new Fiesta Sport's highly enjoyable performance credentials. In another powertrain development, the 50 PS version of the entry level 1.3-litre gasoline engine (for German and Austrian markets only) will be among the first vehicles on Europe's roads equipped with a visual indicator to warn if a fault has developed which is likely to have an adverse effect on emissions. The fault should be investigated as soon as practicable, though it is not an emergency situation.
The indicator is controlled by a new feature known as the European On-Board Diagnostic (EOBD) system, which continuously monitors the operation of emission-related components. EOBD is part of the European Stage III emissions legislation which becomes mandatory from January 1, 2001 registrations (and post-January 1, 2000 homologations), but Ford is introducing the indicator with this particular engine more than a year ahead of legal requirements.
The Fiesta's eager and acclaimed 75 PS 1.25-litre and 90 PS 1.4-litre Zetec-SE engines continue in the range. The proven 60 PS 1.3-litre Endura-E gasoline engine and 1.8-litre Endura-D diesel engine both remain available too.
The latest Fiesta improvements also see the introduction in some markets of a new version of Ford's convenient and flexible, continuously variable automatic transmission system, as an alternative to the five-speed manual. Ideal for city driving, the automatic is matched with the smooth and responsive 1.25-litre engine, to offer a low-effort option in Ambiente and Ghia models. This system varies the gearing continuously, rather than in pre-set steps like traditional automatic transmissions, to keep the engine working as closely as possible to its peak efficiency. Apart from driver convenience, this ensures minimal loss of performance. A superior driving experience
The latest Fiesta range retains in full the acclaimed driving characteristics of its predecessor, with levels of ride, handling, refinement and positive control that are among the best-in-class. From this already high starting point, completely new suspension and steering set-ups have been developed for the new Fiesta Sport, to provide a level of dynamic performance normally found only in sports coupés.
The standard Fiesta suspension is optimised to provide handling which is agile and fun-to-drive, as well as being safe, predictable and stable. Key features include a front sub-frame to stiffen the structure and to control the front wheel geometry very precisely, with the rest of the front suspension based around a MacPherson strut layout. Unusually for a small car, this set-up includes equal length drive-shafts, to eliminate the problem of 'torque steer' that can occur with a front-wheel drive layout.
At the rear, the Fiesta has a twist-beam axle, with Ford's reliable and effective toe-correcting geometry for better handling, plus relatively soft spring rates which contribute to the car's high level of ride comfort. For the new Fiesta Sport, this dynamically-acclaimed set-up has undergone rigorous further development, to increase substantially its roll stiffness when cornering and generally to enhance the performance driving experience of the car. At the front, roll stiffness has been increased by 41 per cent, by enlarging the roll bar diameter from 15 to 17 mm and by increasing front spring rates by 12 per cent. Damper settings have been recalibrated and fine-tuned to balance the ride characteristics with the other suspension changes, which include a revised top strut mount with stiffer rubber, based on experience gained with the Ford Puma. At the back, the stiffness of the rear twist beam assembly for the new Ford Fiesta Sport has been increased by 42 per cent, to complement the increased roll bar stiffness at the front. As well as reducing body roll, this improves agility and steering response, adding further to the car's fun-to-drive characteristics. Again, damper settings and other suspension components have been suitably retuned for maximum effect. In addition, the ride height of the new Fiesta Sport has been noticeably reduced, by 13 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear, lowering the centre of gravity to reduce body roll as well as enhancing the car's sporty stance. A unique new wheel and tyre combination enhances the performance package, with 15 x 6 inch rims fitted with 195/50 section tyres. Good steering feel is another well established Fiesta strength, with finely-tuned power assistance now standard in most markets on all series except Budget. For the new Fiesta Sport, the power steering system has been sharpened even further, providing exemplary feedback to enhance the driver's confidence, enjoyment and feeling of control. Using lessons learnt during the development of the Ford Focus, the Fiesta Sport team succeeded in increasing steering precision, improving centre feel and reducing steering effort. Specific actions include reducing compliance and friction, as well as introducing new low friction seals, a new two-piece composite pinion yoke and stiffer bushes for the rack mounting (as used on the Puma). The increased performance of the new Fiesta Sport model has been matched by uprating the braking system. Larger, vented front discs are fitted, along with bigger rear drums. Across the new Fiesta range, anti-lock brakes are standard on selected models in most markets, and optional in most others. ABS with traction control is available as an option on the new Fiesta Sport. "The overall effect of the dynamic changes for the new Fiesta Sport is to create a vehicle with rewarding driving characteristics - sharp steering, great handling and minimum body toll, while maintaining an exemplary ride," says Cameron Paterson, Chief Programme Engineer for the Ford Fiesta. New head-and-chest side airbag option extends safety and security portfolio
The latest Fiesta builds further on the car's already high safety levels, and now includes the option of new, head-and-chest side airbags (which are fitted as standard for Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, and optional elsewhere). A high-level stop light is now fitted as standard on all models and anti-lock brakes are widely available across the range.
The new side airbags are among the first in a car of this size to protect the head as well as the chest. In addition to acting as a barrier between the front-seat occupants and the vehicle in side impacts, the tall 15.5 litre airbags - which are stored in the outer-side bolster of the seat back - are designed to cushion the head, helping to minimise lateral injuries in the event of an accident. The side airbags are always fitted in conjunction with dual front airbags.
The new side airbags supplement the Fiesta's already comprehensive 'whole car' approach to safety. Though the car's responsive dynamics can help the driver avoid incidents, the optimised passenger cell structure provides substantial protection should the worst occur. The carefully integrated restraint system includes a driver's airbag as standard on all series, passenger's airbag standard in some markets (optional elsewhere), seat belts with grabbers and Ford Focus-type pre-tensioners for the front seats, anti-submarining front seat cushions and impact diffusing foam pads in the doors.
As well as being subjected to all mandatory European destructive tests, Euro NCAP and other public domain tests, the new car also meets Ford's far more rigid internal occupant safety standards.
Recent upgrades to the Fiesta's comprehensive security package include an optional new remote central locking system (standard in some markets on selected models). This is now 'radio frequency' operated rather than infra-red, which is both easier to use and offers greater security. A handy addition is a separate button on the remote control to operate the tailgate release.
All Fiesta models benefit from extensive security measures including tough and well protected lock mechanisms and a passively activated engine immobiliser on all models.