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'Bootilicious' Fiesta out in SA

2010-11-19 12:35

SEDAN MEET SPORT: The two new additions to Ford's local Fiesta line-up.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer FORD
Engine 1.4l Sigma; 1.6l TiVCT; 1.6l DV6
Power 70kW @ 5650r/min; 88kW @ 6000r/min; 66kW @ 4000r/min
Torque 128Nm @ 4200r/min; 152Nm @ 4300r/min; 212Nm @ 1750r/min
Transmission five-speed manual; six-speed Powershift
Fuel Consumption 6.4 l/100 km; 6.1 l/100 km; 4.5 l/100 km
ABS with EBD
Airbags dual front
Service Intervals 20 000km (petrol); 15 000km (turbodiesel)
Service Plan four-year or 60 000km
Warranty four-year or 120 000km

Hailey Philander

A Fiesta production shake-up has required an almost-accidental facelift for Ford’s champion B-segment contender, and seen the introduction of an equally fun-loving sedan to South Africa.  

Ford had arranged the gathering in Cape Town for a number of reasons: the Fiesta is no longer built exclusively at its plant in Cologne, Germany, and the additional Thai production facility has allowed the range to be expanded rather dramatically. In South Africa, it’s also given Ford the gap to make a few shifts within the local line-up.

First, there’s the addition of a sedan to the range. Although not particularly sexy, a sensible and spacious three-box makes sense in this segment – boot space of 430 litres is ample for the small family – and it helps to have something a lot more attractive than the crusty old Ikon.

Second, Ford’s added a neat little Powershift transmission in the sedan range. The dual-clutch system is a first in this segment and a first for Ford on a petrol model (it’s available on the diesel Focus) so the local Blue Oval crowd is especially excited about it. I thought it a rather neat addition, but more on that later.


There’s also been an adjustment in the three and five-door hatchback mix. The high-spec 1.4 three-door Titanium has been dropped and the five-door 1.6 Titanium replaced by a 1.6 Sport. The sole three-door hatch continues to be sourced from Germany while sedans and five-door hatches are now built in Thailand, which has resulted in a fortuitous facelift for the five-door hatch, in particular.

The equipment list across the five-door range has been expanded. The palette has been expanded to 11 colours, items such as Bluetooth and voice control, and those allowing effortless addition of music and entertainment gadgets to the regular interface, and colour-coded bits are standard.

As the flagship model in the five-door range, the 1.6 Sport also adds a host of items befitting its stature including a sports kit with OTT metal detailing for the front bumper, a racy RS-like rear spoiler, sports suspension, sports seats, seven airbags for safety’s sake and new 16-inch alloy wheels.

The body structure is also said to be more rigid with increased integrity provided by the use of higher-tensile steel, while noise, vibration and harshness characteristics have been further improved.

However, I was most concerned that the sedan version would see a watering-down of the Fiesta’s incredible vehicle dynamics. I shouldn't have fretted...

FAMILIAR FACE?: Styling changes to the Fiesta Sport (pictured right) are most pronounced on darker cars.


Sedans provided for the launch were all equipped with the Powershift six-speed auto transmission but even that did little to detract from the sedan’s inherent sportiness. The car’s appearance, which on second glance (to me), seems a little out of sorts, can easily be overlooked. Viewed from the front three-quarter angle, it looks fabulous, as always, but the rear needs to be seen in the metal to the judged.

Pictures really cannot relate the whole tale.

However, the mainstay Fiesta attributes that are so endearing on the hatchback have been transposed to the sedan. It proved beautifully balanced and surprisingly energetic on the mix of hills and curves forming the launch route around Cape Town’s south peninsula. Small automatic sedans usually conjure up images of grey-haired dears splashing out on their last car purchases to take them into their twilight years but this Fiesta auto would be equally comfortable for the younger crowd fed up with the prospect of having to manually shift through a gearbox on the daily crawl to the office.

The transmission uses a system of dry clutches to transmit power and torque, doing away with the torque converter and other associated paraphernalia accompanying wet clutches. Also, because gears are preselected, shifts are relatively quick when compared to “regular” four-speed autos. It also has a useful gradient-assist function that can be called into action by punching a button on the shift lever. It delays upshifts on steeper inclines and bypasses annoying hunting.

STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN: Gearshift's no-frills appearance disguises useful technology and features.


While ABS and EBD are now standard across the Fiesta range, the Powershift model adds ESP, traction control, hill hold and hill assist.

Powershift is effective but, in the spirit of Fiesta, it’s a hoot, too. My driving partner and I were in stitches listening to the car emit a range of groans, grunts and growls as it chugged its way up and over Ou Kaapse Weg and tore along the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive.   

Ford may have bowed to the realities of cost reduction when it was decided to shift some Fiesta production to Thailand but few would notice or even care. The quality of finishes remain top-notch among cars in this segment and, perhaps even more importantly, the attributes that have made the Fiesta so lovable (think great looks, easy instrument layout and addictive dynamism) have not been unnecessarily tinkered with.

Fiesta’s youthful verve translates so well in the new sedan model, chances are the Ikon will soon become just a glimmer in someone’s memory.

Five-door hatchback:
    1.4 Ambiente - R 163 740
    1.4 Trend - R 177 880
    1.6 Ambiente - R 174 420
    1.6 Ambiente PowerShift auto - R 186 990
    1.6 TDCi Ambiente - R 186 990
    1.6 Trend - R 188 600
    1.6 Sport - R 206 990

Four-door sedan:
    1.4 Ambiente - R 167 990
    1.6 Ambiente - R 178 990
    1.6 TDCi Ambiente - R 191 500
    1.6 Trend - R 192 990
    1.6 Trend PowerShift auto - R 204 990

Three-door hatchback:
1.6 Titanium - R 198 040

Metallic Paint - R 750

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