FORD is likely to unveil its all-new Fiesta as soon as next September at the Paris Motor Show, though when the Euro supermini surfaces in Australia is another matter.
Spotted in mule guise, wearing the same body as the current car but sporting a significantly wider track (leading some observers to incorrectly call it an RS flagship), the fifth-generation Fiesta appears to have grown compared with the eight-year-old model it replaces, hopefully addressing the tight rear-seat and cargo area space issues.
Dimensionally the existing hatch is 3969mm long and 1722mm wide, with front and rear tracks measuring in at 1477mm and 1466mm respectively.
Just as importantly, the fiddly Noughties Nokia-era button-fest blighting the existing Fiesta’s dashboard since it first saw the light of day in late 2008 in Australia should make way for a higher-quality item, with Ford’s latest SYNC3 multimedia interface, removing much of the visual clutter by replacing buttons with touchscreen applications to bring the Blue Oval’s baby up to date with the rest of the Ford-badged range.
Expect the standard engine for Australia to be a development of the 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit used today’s car, while an array of updated EcoBoost direct-injection turbo engines ranging between 1.0 litre and 1.5 litres could power the higher-spec Sport.
Of note, the unexpectedly strong reception enjoyed by the ST flagship means another one – with Volkswagen Polo GTI-beating power and torque – is all but a done deal.
Comprehensively overhauled electric rack and pinion steering, as well as a redesigned McPherson strut front and a torsion beam rear suspension set-up will lurk underneath, while advanced driver systems such as autonomous emergency braking will signal a big safety upgrade for the 40-year-old nameplate.
German-built ST-aside, Thailand will most probably continue to build cars bound for Australia.
With sales slipping some 30 percent so far this year, the next Fiesta cannot come a moment too soon for its maker. And with the latest Mazda 2 firing on all cylinders, a Mk6 Volkswagen Polo poised to debut at the same Paris show, and an all-new Toyota Yaris and Nissan Micra in the pipeline, there will be no respite for Ford’s smallest. Roll on, 2017.
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