Ford Fiesta Van Range Review
|Facts At A Glance|
ENGINES:1.25-litre petrol, 1.4-litre TDCi diesel, 1.6-litre TDCI diesel.
LOAD VOLUME:1000 cubic litres
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?:length/width/heightmm 3950/1973/1481 [est]
FordFiesta Van Range- COMMERCIAL SENSE
Ford’sFiesta van looks to have the right stuff.
Ford’s Fiesta van gets off to agreat start in life in being based on their Fiesta supermini. Thecarrying capacity isn’t huge but its driving experience, design andbuild quality set new standards for the sector.
Byfar and away the simplest route to creating a class leading smallcar-derived van is to start with a class leading small car. Which inthe seventh generation Fiesta is exactly what Ford have. Having donethe hard work in creating it, the boys at the Blue Oval weren’t abovetearing out the back seats to bring us the Fiesta van.
Thisvariant competes in the supermini-derived van market where Ford hastraditionally taken 25% of sales and goes head to head with vanversions of many of the same models its passenger car sibling mustbattle. So the Fiesta van follows the same basic recipe as the Corsavanfrom Vauxhall and the 207 van from Peugeot in that it sacrifices itsrear seats and windows in favour of a flat load bay in which businesseswith minimal load carrying requirements can stow their wares.
Onceupon a time, the small van market was completely made up ofsupermini-derived models like this one but in recent times, most buyershave been drawn towards purpose-designed small vans that aren’tconstricted by passenger car styling and so can offer much largercarrying capacities without taking up any more roadspace. Ford’sTransit Connect is a good example and it competes against models likeCitroen’s Nemo, Peugeot’s Bipper, Vauxhall’s Combo and Fiat’s Fiorino.If you really need carrying capacity, models like these are a betterbet – but then, if you really need that, should you really beconsidering a very small van in the first place? If having consideredthat, you conclude that your needs are less cubic capacity-orientated,then this Fiesta van might prove to be a very effective choice.
Onthe road, if you’re familiar with the previous generation Fiesta van,your experience should be that this model has a more solid feel,despite the fact that it’s 40kgs lighter. Electrically assisted powersteering made its debut on this generation model, technology that hascome on leaps and bounds in the last few years, the feeling no longerbeing as if you were at the wheel of a PlayStation. We particularlylike the ‘Stall Prevention’ feature, designed to help in low speedmanoeuvres by altering the engine’s ignition profile and preventingthat embarrassing stalling moment when there’s a queue of trafficbehind you.
"Perhapsthe best part about this commercial vehicle is that it doesn’t looklike one."
Withmost vans, operators will choose diesel power without even thinkingabout it but with one this small likely to cover very restrictedmileages, petrol might still be a viable option, so it’s just as wellthat the 80PS 1.25-litre unit on offer is a pleasant one – and muchquieter than the 1.4 and 1.6-litre Dagenham-built common rail injectionTDCi diesel options. A key component of the Fiesta passenger car’smakeup is its enjoyable driving dynamics and the van version inheritsthese. Expect lively handling and first rate manoeuvrability married toa more comfortable ride than owners of the previous generation Fiestavan will have experienced.
Apayload range from 490kg to 515kg (significantly more than a Peugeot207 van but a little less than a Vauxhall Corsavan) gives customers acompetitive option for transporting their products. The rear sidewindows are replaced by body-coloured solid panels, and the rearpassenger seats have been removed to provide a load box area of 1,000cubic litres, with a maximum useable load length of 1,296mm, as well asa maximum load box width of 1,278mm (1,000mm between the wheel arches)and a height of up to 806mm.
Thestyling of the Fiesta will win it many admirers and operators lookingfor a compact van that will cut a dash on the city streets will likethe wedge-shaped front end as well as the curvy rear. The cabin issimilarly avant-garde in its design, with a dashboard control interfacebased around that of a mobile phone and a clever choice of qualitymaterials.
Interms of practicality, as we’ve said, you won’t be buying asupermini-derived small van if interior space is everything. That pointmade, it’s also worth saying that this Ford does at least enable itsowner to make good use of the space that is on offer. DIN-complianttie-down hooks are standard but if you forget to use them – or simplycan’t – then a half-height composite bulkhead is standard to preventloose items from sliding forward and joining you in the front.
Runningcosts are always of great interest to business users and they’reessential reading for fleet managers who see slight differences inthese figures compounded over a whole fleet. Both diesels return acombined fuel economy figure of 67.3mpg with impressive CO2 emissionsof 110g/km. The petrol variant manages 49.6mpg on the combined cycleand 133g/km of CO2. There’s a super-frugal ECOnetic version of the 1.6TDCi that returns 76.4mpg on the combined cyucle and Co2 emissions ofjust 98g/km. But there’s more to operating costs than simply fueleconomy. This Ford offers lengthy service intervals and the option ofeither a 12-month/unlimited mileage warranty or a 3-year/60,000-miledose of Ford Protection Plan – though a long trawl through the smallprint might be needed before you can identify the one that best suitsyou.
A12-year anti-perforation guarantee goes a long way to reassure buyersof Ford’s faith in their product’s capacity not to fall foul of Mr rustand if all goes to plan, the 1-year breakdown cover will be surplus torequirements. When it comes to insurance, the Fiesta van performsadmirably: its 1E grouping is about as low as you can go.
Pricesrange in the £9,000 to £11,000 bracket, comparable of course withobvious competitors like Vauxhall’s corsavan and Peugeot’s 207 van.This Ford is available with a choice of engines: most will choosebetween a 1.25-litre 82PS Duratec 16 valve petrol unit and a frugal1.4-litre 68PS Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel. At the top-of-the-range, the1.6-litre 90PS Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel can be ordered with theoption of a closed-loop coated DPF diesel particulate filter.
Allmodels come with a body-colour roof spoiler, electric door mirrors andfront windows, an adjustable steering column, plus a stereo radio CDplayer with MP3 connection, four front speakers and steering wheelmounted controls. All models have ABS brakes with brakeforcedistribution but unfortunately, you have to pay extra – or buy aplusher version – to get ESP stability control with EBA brake assist.One innovation that will appeal in the commercial world is Ford’s EasyFuel capless refuelling system. This prevents ‘mis-fueling’, or thecostly practice of putting diesel in a petrol powered vehicle and visaversa, by preventing the wrong type of fuel pump nozzle from fittingdown the filler neck.
Fordknows exactly how to build a class-leading supermini-derived van – butthen, with a passenger car product as good as the Fiesta to base it on,you’d think that the van version’s designers had very little to do tocomplete an excellent product.
Perhapsthe best part about this commercial vehicle is that it doesn’t looklike one. All the style that marks out the Fiesta car has beentransferred over intact – and that should make it a good advert for thekind of small businesses (florists, gardeners and so on) likely to wanta vehicle of this kind. Imagining your company logo on the doors? Thenyou’ll know what to do.