Twenty years ago, the Ford’s show spotlight would have been filled with big Aussie sixes and eights. But this year, with rising oil prices and an all-time low in consumer confidence, the car buyer is demanding half the size, and with half the cylinders.
As the Falcon flounders and Volkswagen steps up to Fords long-held spot as the number three carmaker, the timing is perfect for Ford to refresh and revive its Fiesta. As new Ford Oz boss Marin Burela said on the stand: “The small car is a big thing”.
Ford can already sniff the sales, as the global Fiesta platform is shared with the very successful Mazda 2. The Fiesta will also offer the same three-door and five-door body styles, and copy in its skinny family member with a 40kg weight saving from the shared frame.
The sleeker, lower silhouette is transformed by an organic interpretation of Ford Europe’s Kinetic design theme and global front face, and under the bonnet lies Ford’s own 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre Duratec petrol fours.
The 1.4-litre develops 71kW/128Nm, and is the more expensive option of the two as it is paired with a four-speed automatic. All but the Zetec three-door is available in this combination.
The larger 1.6-litre, which is up 14kW to a feisty 88kW and 152Nm, is matched to a five-speed manual only
Fuel consumption is even more minuscule than before: 6.1L/100km for the 1.6-litre, and 6.9L/100km for the 1.4 auto.
Overseas, the Fiesta will also run a 1.6-litre diesel ECOnetic TDCi
engine claiming 3.7 l/100 km and less than 100g/km of CO2. Ford won’t yet say whether we will have this frugal oiler in the future.
Trims are aligned with the current range: a five-door base CL, a five-door mid-spec LX, and three- and five-door top-shelf Zetec. No word yet on XR4...
The Zetec is loaded with standard bodykit and larger 16-inch alloys, side airbags and driver kneebag, and the all-important stability control (DSC/TC).
The ‘bags and stability control are optional on CL and LX as part of a $1000 ‘safety pack’.
The LX shares the Zetec’s standard cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 3.5mm audio jack and capless refuel port are standard across the range.
Prices start at $15,750 for the three-door CL manual, $18,490 for LX and from $20,250 for three-door Zetec spec.
Also on the Ford stand are the FG Falcon XR6 Turbo, G6E and G6E Turbo, the FG01 FG V8 Supercar, refreshed LV Focus XR5 Turbo and ZD Escape SUV, and a limited-edition SR2 Territory.
First drive: Ford Fiesta 2009
2008 Australian International Motor Show
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