Even in standard guise the Fiesta is a head-turning vehicle, but the Sport van we tested is surely every telecoms engineer’s dream work vehicle.
When it comes to the new Fiesta, there are three engines to consider; a 1.3 petrol and a 1.5 and 1.6 diesel. Choosing a body style is slightly easier as the choice is not complicated by long, medium or short wheelbases, or standard, medium and high roofs because all you get are two seats and 1m3 space behind them. Roof height is 1,495mm and wheelbase is 2,489mm. Simple. At least it should be.
With its roof spoiler and sporty looking front end, our test Fiesta stands out from other vans on the high street, yet the Fiesta Sport van is no more sporty than a standard model, or any of its rivals for that matter. It merely looks like it will go fast.
With a 1.6-litre TDCi Duratorq engine producing 94hp and 200Nm of torque powering the 1,065kg Fiesta, it can still show a good turn of pace, while fuel economy is equally impressive. The claimed fuel economy is 85.6mpg, however, during a half laden economy trial we recorded a 68mpg average over a demanding urban and motorway test route.
Nevertheless, at the recent MPG Marathon, a Fiesta Sport van broken through the 100mpg milestone, demonstrating that these little hatchback vans can be extremely economical. This is, in part down to the abundance of low-down torque available in the engine, which pulls eagerly from 1,100rpm.
The rear loadspace is the longest of the hatchback vans on the market, measuring 1,296mm, and 1,278mm across its width and 1,004mm between the wheel arches, while the rear opening (measuring 970mm by 690mm) has the largest area in its class. Load security is provided by a single lashing point in each of the rubber-lined load area’s corners.
|Model||Wheelbase||Length||Width||Height||Loadspace Length||Loadspace Width||Loadspace Height||Volume||Payload|
|L1H1||2,489||3,969||1,709||1,495||1,296||1,278 ( 1,004 )||806||1||485-508|
The passenger car conversion into LCV means that in the cab storage is severely limited. There is a small glovebox and door pockets that are not big enough to house an A4 clipboard, but this is nothing unusual for vans of this type. Three drinks holders in and around the centre console provide the best storage, particularly for smaller items, but the interior’s key highlight is the clarity of the instrument panel which is bathed in bright blue light.
The Fiesta can be quite noisy, particularly at motorway speeds where the drone of road noise from the back axle echoing through the loadspace can become irritating. While the rear is only separated from the cabin by a half-height solid bulkhead with mesh, upfront there is little noise from the engine which will sit happily at 2,250rpm in the top gear of the five-speed ‘box.
The ride in the Fiesta is firmer than its rivals, which lends itself well to this sporty model, but is at times a touch too fidgety for a van driver’s daily chores. Nevertheless it is a comfortable environment, with grippy, supportive seats that add to the overall feeling of quality you get from the Fiesta’s interior.
On The Road
Those supportive seats are appreciated, as the Fiesta grips brilliantly in the corners, allowing fast entry and exit speeds, with a wheel-weighted steering rack ensuring that smooth and swift progress is both easy and enjoyable.
The brakes are positive, with a firm bite capable of scrubbing off plenty of speed in a short distance when fully loaded with the 500kg maximum payload.
Ford has installed ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes to the Fiesta van, which are assisted by ABS and EBD. The additional support of ESP (Electronic Stability Program), Traction Control, Hill Start Assist and EBA are standard on the Econetic and Sport models.
Ford’s acclaimed “SYNC” service comes with Emergency Assistance, which can automatically make a direct call to the emergency services for you and supply vital information, such as your GPS co-ordinates, even if you are unconscious.
Cost of Ownership
There are 222 sales and 245 aftersales Ford Transit specialist dealers in the UK, equipped and trained to meet commercial vehicle customer requirements. From these, 113 sales and 95 aftersales dealers achieve “Backbone” standard, which Ford say recognises their total commitment to professional sales and service support.
Fiestas are covered by a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, which includes a one-year Ford Assistance package. Service intervals are set at 12,500 miles or 12 months.
The Fiesta excels in its handling, but is a comfortable, well-constructed and pleasant vehicle to work in. The sporty styling might not be to everyone’s taste, but the cabin shows real thought and although hatchback vans such as the Fiesta are no different to their passenger car equivalents, the Fiesta offers the greater usability in a commercial environment.
Superb dynamic performance and good all-round functionality make the Fiesta van suitable for a range of business applications, and in Sport trim, no one is going to mind sitting behind the wheel.