Two trim levels are offered – Fiesta Van and the ST-Line inspired Sport Van. The Sport cabin provides an undeniably smart and comfortable working environment, trimmed with hard-wearing materials, SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system. Other creature comforts and convenience features include automatic headlights, power windows, heated wing mirrors and manually-operated air-con. Two cupholders are located next to the handbrake, incorporating spring toggles to firmly hold each cup in place.
Standing proud of the dash positioned centre stage is an eight-inch tablet-inspired colour touchscreen that delivers a welcome (and silent) sequence on start-up. Van drivers who use their mobile phones to plan routes, track deliveries and stay updated will welcome Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Using the Ford SYNC AppLink feature, drivers can access a wide range of key apps from their smartphone using the touchscreen, now including the Waze traffic app and Cisco WebEx. Business customers also benefit from the FordPass Connect onboard modem for connectivity on the move.
The number of buttons on the centre console is reduced by almost half compared to the outgoing Fiesta. Only the essential rotary dials to control the HVAC system and audio volume are left in place, making it more user-friendly and ergonomic. There are fewer buttons on the steering wheel, too, which is now also heated.
Cargo-wise, the van can carry approximately 1.0 cubic metre in its load space with a payload of just over 500 kg. Size-wise, the load space measures 1283mm long and 1281 wide at its widest point with a height of 923mm. The almost square load space features a composite and mesh full bulkhead (in place of the rear seats and blanked rear-side windows), durable sidewall trim, and a tough rubber floor covering with four load lashing hooks.
Seat materials and carpets across the Fiesta range were the first to be tested in the carmaker’s upgraded materials laboratory in Dunton, UK. Seat bolsters undergo 60,000 test cycles to ensure wear resistance. The robustness of colours is tested using a ‘weatherometer’ and analysed with a spectrometer to avoid fading after exposure to ultraviolet light. Ford points out that leather seats must resist ground-in coffee and the dye from denim jeans. Leather steering wheels are tested for resistance to sunscreen lotion.
Capless refuelling system
Responding to feedback from customers, the Fiesta now features windscreen wipers that clear 13 per cent more of the windscreen and doors that require 20 per cent less effort to close. Also featured is a fuel filler neck optimised to reduce spillage when using the Ford Easy Fuel capless refuelling system that prevents misfuelling.
Other neat ideas
Although our focus here is on the Fiesta’s interior, there are several noteworthy exterior design features. For example, Ford’s novel Door Edge Guard features a protective flap concealed in the door that flips into position in a split second as the door opens, preventing damage to paint and bodywork and helping drivers when parking in tight spaces (and all for just an extra GBP84).
Another clever feature is found on the roof. Nifty channels drain water away from the roof edges, reducing the risk of being dripped on when getting in or out.
While we are here, let’s also just point out that windscreen washer nozzles are hidden beneath the upper bonnet lip; there are no visible screws in the taillights or rear fascia, and the shut line between the roof and the rear liftgate is reduced by more than 30 per cent. While these may sound like minor tweaks, they contribute to giving the new Fiesta sharper looks.
Advanced driver assistance systems
On the ADAS front, the van incorporates pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection emergence braking system, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot information system.
ADAS technologies are supported by two cameras, three radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors, which in combination can monitor 360 degrees around the vehicle, and scan the road ahead up to a distance of 130 metres. It can also detect pedestrians who are in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path; the brakes are automatically applied to avoid them if the driver does not respond to warnings.
Other technologies can monitor road signs to keep the driver up-to-date on speed limits and overtaking regulations to help avoid fines and penalties.
On the road
Drivers have a choice of two petrol engines – 1.1-litre 3-cylinder with 85 PS, and 1.0-litre EcoBoost with 125 PS – and a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine in either 85 PS or 120 PS outputs. While our road test in a 1.0-litre EcoBoost with 125 PS didn’t quite match Ford’s headline fuel economy of 65.7 mpg, we weren’t far off.
On balance, the Sport is a class act that blends ST-Line features with work-a-day van practicality. Its grippy front seats, advanced connectivity, perky engine and generous loadspace capable of carrying half a ton make it a good choice for small business owners. It’s also comfortable to drive thanks to its car roots. Rivals include the Renault Zoe and VW Caddy.