Still pop­u­lar across all gen­er­a­tions

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Since the Ford Fi­esta was first launched back in 1976, more than 16-mil­lion have been sold world­wide.

In fact when it comes to sales fig­ures, it is the best-sell­ing car in the UK. Over the decades it has changed con­sid­er­ably and re­cently the com­pany re­vealed the eighth gen­er­a­tion, which will be in SA in 2018.

Re­search from MoneySu­perMar­ket in the UK has looked at the de­sign and spec­i­fi­ca­tion and shown how it de­vel­oped over time to be the classic hatch­back we know to­day. Each gen­er­a­tion in­tro­duced some­thing you can’t nec­es­sar­ily see at a glance and the lit­tle hatch­back’s history makes for in­ter­est­ing read­ing.

Mark I: 1976 — Orig­i­nally de­vel­oped un­der the project name “Bob­cat”, it was sub­ject to a lot of spec­u­la­tion by the press prior to re­lease. With a 957cc Va­len­cia en­gine, a top speed of 137km/h, 0-96km/h in 18.5 sec­onds, and 33kW, it might not be a top per­former to­day, but it’s still a classic.

Mark II: 1983 — While changes from the Mark I were rel­a­tively mi­nor, the ve­hi­cle also fea­tured more space, to in­cor­po­rate a five-speed trans­mis­sion, and while the ini­tial launch still used the Va­len­cia en­gine it in­cor­po­rated vari­able ven­turi car­bu­ret­tors for im­proved fuel con­sump­tion. This was later dropped en­tirely in favour of the Ford CVH (Com­pound Valve an­gle Hemi­spher­i­cal com­bus­tion cham­ber) en­gine.

Mark III: 1989 — With the en­gine up­graded to the High Com­pres­sion Swirl gen­er­a­tion of the orig­i­nal Va­len­cia, and the de­vel­op­ment to a five-door model, the pub­lic re­ally caught on and this was the best-sell­ing Fi­esta of the early 1990s, at a sales vol­ume of 1-mil­lion units in­side the first two years.

Mark IV: 1995 — The Mark IV mod­els had a new styling and in­stru­ment panel and with the base spec­i­fi­ca­tions still had an im­proved 0-100km/h time of 16.4 sec­onds, as well as a max speed of 154km/h. At the up­per end, the 1.4 Zetec got it as low as 0-100 in 10.8 sec­onds and a max speed of 180km/h. It also marked the start of badge shar­ing in SA with the Mazda Soho, although that was to dis­ap­pear with the Mark VI.

Mark V: 1999 — The Mark V was more of a facelift to the Mark IV than it was a new gen­er­a­tion or an up­grade, but it fea­tured re­duced fuel con­sump­tion as well as be­ing 17kg lighter.

Mark VI: 2002 — The Mark VI was the first model to in­tro­duce the an­tilock brak­ing sys­tem and pas­sen­ger airbags. With an en­gine any­where be­tween 1,242–1,998cc and a 0-96km/h time of 7.9 sec­onds, it quickly be­came the best-sell­ing Fi­esta gen­er­a­tion to date.

Mark VII: 2008 — Shown in con­cept as the Verve, the Mark VII is based on the Ford B-car plat­form. It sold more than 940,000 in its first two years. The facelift in 2013 was also the first time a trape­zoidal grille was used, which fea­tured in the Fo­cus, Fusion and Mus­tang.

Mark VIII: 2017 — An­nounced in Novem­ber 2016, the Mark VIII is stated to be larger, safer, and more ef­fi­cient. The per­for­mance ST mod­els are also set to be im­proved over the out­go­ing ver­sions.

Whether you were driven around in the ba­sic run­about ver­sions or were one of those who ex­pe­ri­enced some of the per­for­mance mod­els such as the XR2 and later the ST mod­els, the Fi­esta has been a pop­u­lar choice around the world. Of course, the tech-laden lat­est gen­er­a­tion will be a far cry from the orig­i­nal when it ar­rives here .

A first gen­er­a­tion Ford Fi­esta at the 2017 Frank­furt Mo­tor Show.

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