Ford launching a new Fiesta is like Coldplay releasing a new album; so vital to the core of the mainstream that connoisseurs may balk, but quietly find themselves tapping along in an airport departures lounge. Ford’s current Fiesta was like Viva La Vida, an appreciable and crucially palatable advancement in the class, appealing to the mainstream without causing too much controversy. Aside from the dated interior, the current car could easily be box fresh, as such putting pressure on Ford’s design team to not screw up the new one.
Despite design head Moray Callum abdicating from the ‘One Ford’ strategy in a recent statement, it’s not entirely surprising to see a softening of the design language on the new Fiesta to widen it’s appeal across the pond. The new car’s nose is a good example of how to properly integrate the family grill and arguably is its best application, but along with the smoother front end, so too has Ford softened the surfacing features. Gone is the old cars mini power bulge and strong wheel arches, in its place an organic subtlety has inhabited the slightly wider bodywork. There is a slight BMW style wedge towards the rear sitting under the main character line and thanks to horizontally mounted taillights the whole car appears more planted.
Unlike the current car, the styling here seems to underpin variations on different themes, as on top of the standard car Ford showcased 3 other variations. The standard (prosthetic limb coloured) model is simple, clean and quite elegant in general, but is joined by an apparently ‘sporty’ looking ST Line car, luxury Vignale’ and rock-hopper pseudo SUV Active model. Designated to widen the appeal of the standard car across international formats, its overall styling appears to appease the individuality of each model without falling into the difficult and cost inefficient personalisation cliché that most other manufacturers have stumbled into.
Inside, the Fiesta has mercifully grown up, swapping its circa 2001 phone inspired dash for a circa 2007 iPad inspired one instead. Like lots of other manufacturers with a touch screen based infotainment screen, Ford has top-mounted a screen with a set of auxiliary buttons just below. This is an execution I have been critical of in the past, and here is no different, but compared to the juvenile graphics and laughably small display of the current model it is at least a step in the right direction.
The reality is the new Fiesta will likely do everything it needs to keep its class majority, and if the styling, infotainment and quality upgrades materialise strengthened rivals like the new Nissan Micra will have little opportunity to capitalise before its arrival. The true question for the fossil-fueled blood type is whether the mature upgrades will ruin the class leading dynamics which are still the Fiesta’s true USP, however if they have been left alone Ford will definitely end up with a better follow up than Mylo Xyloto.