August 24, 2001 The all-new Ford Fiesta is set to provide a powerful boost to Ford's success in Europe. The 5 door Fiesta that will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show will be the first of a range of four all-new small vehicles to be introduced by Ford over the next 18 months. Fiesta will complete the new model line up for Ford in all the volume vehicle segments when it goes on sale early next year.
"Its difficult to enjoy a small car if you and your passengers aren't comfortable," said Martin Leach, Ford of Europes vice-president of product development, "so it was imperative to pack a lot of space into a shape that is still small on the outside to create spaciousness for all five occupants and their cargo. Weve packaged Fiesta for sharing with family and friends. Thats where the spirit of sociability and fun really happens."
Ford engineers pushed Fiestas wheels even further to the corners of the vehicle, giving it the biggest footprint in its segment without being the biggest vehicle. The wheelbase is 41 mm longer than before, which helped give rear-seat occupants much-needed knee room. The new Fiesta is also wider and taller than the current model, for extra spaciousness for both occupants and their cargo.
"With new Fiesta, weve distilled the design cues that are central to every new European Ford car to their very essence," said Chris Bird, Fords director of European design. "In a simpler, harmonious way, the new Fiesta design clearly signals its package efficiency, its strong driving quality credentials and that special zest for life."
Under Birds direction, a team led by chief designer Mark Adams created a stylish, taut skin to wrap around Fiestas new interior package while expressing energy and agility. The vibrant design signals the spaciousness inside by putting emphasis on the cabin area. The bonnet is short, the glass area is generous and extended with a new third window on the side, giving rear passengers a light and roomy environment.
Pronounced,sharply defined wheel arches, filled with Fiestas standard 14-inch wheels and tyres, communicate the dynamic capabilities of the vehicle along with a distinctive bodyside feature line that dives downward dynamically from the rear of the vehicle all the way to the front.
"The new Fiesta has a dynamic visual quality that creates a sense of movement and emotion," said chief designer Adams. "It invites you and your passengers to have fun."
Creating a friendly face was also important. Fiestas new face is engaging, appealing to the heart as well as the head.
The front of the vehicle is dominated by large, expressive headlamps that signal technical competence by showing every working detail. The headlamps contain all of the primary lighting functions, including the turn indicator lamp at the top, inside sculptured composite lenses.
Fiestas front design is characterised by the arc-shaped grille opening that is now characteristic of the Ford family. The lower grille features an inverted trapezoid shape that further emphasises Fiestas wide track and 'planted' stance and provides a mounting point for integral fog lamps at the very front corners on models so equipped.
Strong outward visibility enables the driver to enjoy true small-car manoeuvrability. Raised feature lines on the edges of the bonnet allow even small-stature drivers to see the vehicle's corners, an important driver-confidence factor in urban driving and tight manoeuvres such as parking. A low belt line has also been styled for optimal side visibility and impression of openness.
At the rear, a large glass area continues to provide strong outward visibility and large, high-mounted tail lamps provide clear, safe indication for following drivers. Another Ford design cue, the high-mounted lamp units contain most rear lighting functions of the new Fiesta so that only the reflectors are neatly fitted into the bumper.
The light and roomy interior design carries on the theme of driving quality. Taking advantage of Fiestas new package efficiency, the height-adjustable front seats are 45 mm higher to reinforce the feeling of security afforded by strong outward visibility.
Providing an ergonomically excellent driving position was a high priority. New Fiestas gear lever, 95 mm higher than in the current model, falls conveniently to hand. The substantial, standard-across-the-range leather-wrapped steering wheel is well positioned and adjustable. The handbrake ergonomics and the reach and positioning of other controls have been carefully designed to suit a wide variety of drivers.
The interior communicates Fiestas desire to share more than an overt driver orientation. Fiesta's unique, new "stacked style" audio systems and optional navigation system are contained in a central dashboard unit that is easy to reach for both front-seat occupants. The centre unit also includes simple primary controls for heating and ventilation and the emergency hazard warning indicators.
The dash is punctuated by large, circular, air vents that add an element of visual fun and friendliness to the design.