Fi­esta caps it

Small changes add up to big fun in new hatch

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

FORD has launched new Fi­esta with a to­tally new cabin but the com­pany kept the 1.0 Eco­Boost en­gine un­der the hood.

As Tracey De­late, gen­eral man­ager of mar­ket­ing at Ford Mo­tor Com­pany of South­ern Africa said, the en­gine has now won the in­ter­na­tional en­gine of the year award six times in a row, and there is no need to fix what is not bro­ken. Ford’s fru­gal 1.5-litre TDCi diesel en­gine also re­mains un­changed, with ei­ther a sixspeed man­ual or au­to­matic to send power to the front wheels.

What has been dropped is the Am­bi­ente en­try level. (In its stead, ex­pect a new Figo soon.) Buy­ers of the new Fi­esta will there­fore be able to choose from ei­ther the Trend or range-top­ping Ti­ta­nium. Both have a lot of fea­tures, but the de­sign of the new cabin has re­duced the num­ber of but­tons on the cen­tre con­sole by al­most half. In­stead of fid­dly knobs, most of the con­nec­tiv­ity and en­ter­tain­ment con­trols are now man­aged on a 6,5-inch touch-screen, which is fit­ted as stan­dard on the Trend mod­els; or an 8-inch screen in the Ti­ta­nium.

With the Fi­esta Ford’s best­selling pas­sen­ger car, the changes to the new model are small, like the ve­hi­cle be­ing 7cm longer; 1,6 cm more knee room at the back and the wipers clear 13% more of the wind­screen. But be­fore your eyes glaze, suf­fice to say the small changes add up to a to­tally dif­fer­ent drive from older mod­els, both of which col­leagues own.

This is due to a slightly stiffer body struc­ture, wider stance and lighter steel, as well as torque vec­tor­ing and tyres specif­i­cally tuned for the Fi­esta, ac­cord­ing to Sig­urd Lim­bach, who helped en­gi­neer the set-up.

The turn­ing circle is a best-in­class 10,05 me­tres kerb to kerb and Ford’s spec sheet states the new Fi­esta chas­sis offers 10% more grip in cor­ners, while brak­ing dis­tances at 100 km/h are re­duced by more than eight per­cent. We tested all these stats dur­ing one of the many weekly protests at the Fi­esta’s launch in the North West when it looked like the an­gry cit­i­zens wanted to stone the pass­ing cars.

When not evad­ing the stone throw­ing mobs, one can get very comfy in the Fi­esta.

Ford’s SYNC 3 com­mu­ni­ca­tions and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem gives the driver voice con­trol of the au­dio, nav­i­ga­tion and con­nected smart­phones.

The sys­tem is com­pat­i­ble with Ap­ple CarPlay, with An­droid Auto in the process of be­ing li­censed

ALWYN VILJOEN

for the Mid­dle East and Africa re­gion. The Ti­ta­nium comes with seven speak­ers while the Trend has six, and both au­dio sys­tems are a blast.

Prices for the new four new Fi­esta mod­els start at R261 900 and top out at R310 600, in­clud­ing a four-year/120 000km war­ranty, and a four-year or 60 000 km ser­vice plan. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 15 000 km. • For a chance to win the cap shown above, an­swer how many of the 2018 model year Fi­esta mod­els are on sale in SA. E-mail your an­swers to alwyn. viljoen@wit­ness.co.za

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The new Fi­esta has an all new cabin and han­dles a bit bet­ter than the out­go­ing mod­els, thanks to in­cre­men­tal changes to the chas­sis, body and tyres.

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