Ford Fiesta five-door . . . a hatchback of promise for the beleaguered Ford camp.

Ford Fiesta five-door . . . a hatchback of promise for the beleaguered Ford camp

It’s Fiesta time! Following the depressing news of the end of its vehicle production in Australia, Ford finally has something to celebrate. The blue oval recently got its Go Further campaign off the ground, launching the Fiesta small car downunder.

Ford is determined to rattle the cages of a few rivals with its new hatchback offering the latest technology and fuel-efficiency at highly competitive prices.

A true global car, the new WZ series Ford Fiesta comes as a five-door hatch in three specifications including entry-level Ambiente starting at $15,825, plus on-roads, stylish Trend and range-topping Sport. The first two are on sale now, the last model will hit showrooms in December. Added to the mix is a high-performance three-door in the shape of the Fiesta ST, but more of this elsewhere.


A stylish up-to-date five-door exterior of the new Ford Fiesta is set off by a deep trapezoidal radiator grille moved up from the position it held in the previous model. A sharp wedge plays off the grille, extending via a modern headlamp arrangement, finally linking up with a distinctive rear light cluster.

The same sharp looks are repeated in the cabin kitted out with controls close at hand and instruments bathed in a classy blue light as opposed to the brash red of the superseded model.

The surroundings are clothed in the latest quality materials and fabrics giving no hint of claustrophobia to occupants settled in sculptured supportive seats with ample room for all but the broadest shoulders.


Making its debut across the whole Fiesta range is Ford SYNC offering hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity with mobile phones and media players including Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming. Other standard connections include a USB / iPod port and steering wheel mounted audio controls.

Other new standard features include cruise control with switches on the three-spoke leather-wrapped wheel, front and rear power windows, air-conditioning, six-speaker audio system and trip computer.

Also new to Fiesta is EcoMode, which measures the driver’s gear shifts in relation to speed and engine load. Fuel-efficient driving is rewarded with leaf icons displayed on the instrument cluster.

The Ford Fiesta Ambiente and Trend feature a new 1.5-litre Duratec unit delivering 82 kW of power and 140 Nm of torque, with official fuel consumption of 5.8 litres per 100 km. That’s 0.3 L/100km better than the previous generation 1.6-litre engine.

The Fiesta Sport, on the other hand, makes use of Ford’s new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which with manual transmission, delivers 92 kW of power and 170 Nm of torque, with consumption of 4.9 L/100 km and carbon dioxide emissions of 115g per kilometre. Both engines are linked to either a five-speed manual or six-speed PowerShift transmission.

Occupant safety earns a five-star ANCAP crash rating with ultra-high strength steels in the body structure to ensure rigidity and protection. Seven airbags including driver’s knee bag, ABS anti-skid braking with brake assist and dynamic stability control feature on all models.

Hill Launch Assist is new to the Fiesta, making it easier to set off on an incline without using the hand brake. On a gradient greater than four per cent, the vehicle will remain stationary for a short time after the brake pedal is released. The brakes are released automatically when the accelerator is depressed. Pedal pressure needs to be restrained in order to avoid sudden brake release resulting in embarrassing wheel-spin squeal. It’s a trap for the unwary.

The Fiesta Trend showed itself to be completely at home during a drive through the inner-city and suburbs of Melbourne and later on the highway.

At idle, engine noise was all but absent from the cabin interior. On the move, performance was never lacking, the manual gearshift slipping effortlessly through all five cogs.

The generous 140 Nm of torque on tap had the car pulling away with minimum effort in higher ratios, avoiding strain on the engine and saving fuel.

Steering feedback ensured tight lane changes in traffic were made possible with confidence and accuracy, tramlines relatively easy to avoid. Brake pedal feel was positive and assured. Let loose on the open road, the Fiesta produced a smooth and relaxed drive on all but uneven surfaces where the ride tended towards the choppy end of the spectrum.

Built in Thailand, the new Fiesta five-door is covered by myFord Capped Price Servicing on all models.

Fiesta Ambiente 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $15,825 (manual), $17,825 (automatic)
Fiesta Trend 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $17,825 (manual), $19,825 (automatic)
Fiesta Sport 1.0-litre EcoBoost five-door hatch: $20,525 (manual), $22,525 (automatic)
Sports Executive Package (Fiesta Sport): $1000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Ford dealer for drive-away prices.

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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