Ford’s New Sub-Compact
By Igor Holas
Will this car get the Fiesta name?
Ford revealed today the first sketches of what will probably be the new generation of the Ford Fiesta. This concept will be shown in Frankfurt in a month, and then a US version of it will be shown in Detroit in January.
Most of the global audience needs little introduction to the car – this will become the eighth generation of Fiesta. For others the most basic explanation would be: You are looking at a new small sub-compact developed to fight the Honda Fit/Jazz, Toyota Yaris and Chevrolet Aveo/Matiz. It is a front-drive 3-door or 5-door hatch (US and Brazil will add a sedan) with torsion beam rear suspension. The underpinnings are shared with the recently revealed Mazda2; nothing revolutionary on paper. I will not go on and on about the design – I like it – you make up your own mind.
The US version will be slightly delayed compared to the EU version; it will be built in Brazil, and while the EU model will be on sale in the fall of 2008, the US version will arrive in the spring of 2009. The US version will be 90% identical to the EU version, however. Everything from the A-pillar to the back will be 100% identical, while the nose will be slightly lower and longer in US since US does not have pedestrian safety regulations and has stricter frontal crash test.
The new car will debut two new engines and a new transmission. The two new engines are a super-efficient Twin Force 1.0 liter Flex-Fuel three-cylinder delivering about 100hp. The other engine will replace the 2.0 liter four-cylinder in the ST model – it is a 1.6l Twin Force four-cylinder delivering about 200hp. Other engines in the lineup will be largely carryover from the current model.
Learn More about Ford’s Twin Force engines: HERE
The US, however might not get a taste of any of these engines, and instead make do with the less refined 1.6l ROCAM (single overhead cam) Flexi-Fuel four cylinder from Brazil. This engine has the advantage of E85 capability and it is powerful enough – 110hp., but it is unrefined and not very economical. The information about engine options from inside Ford US is now old (it is from January 2007) – so I am hopeful that someone in there got a clue and approved one of the other engines at least as an option in the US model.
Finally, the Fiesta will debut the cheapest application of Ford’s new dual-clutch automatic transmission – dubbed PowerShift. This six-speed robotic transmission promises smoother and faster shifts and improved fuel-economy; and it will come to the US.
Overall, Ford is looking to make a big splash with the new Fiesta – so big that the name itself is on the block; it seems Ford thinks the car is too radical to wear the name Fiesta – a name usually associated with sensible basic transportation. We will see what they will come up with.
UPDATE 08.23: We finally found out the official name of the concept – the Ford Verve Concept – it is a pure concept to the tune of the Jaguar C-XF Concept – the body shown will translate into a production car, but it is not a direct presentation of the actual vehicle. Proportions will be changed with higher roof line, and the front end styling will be toned down a bit, but the rear end, and the overall styling will remain. Accordingly, the interior is pure fantasy, and the name may or may not hint on the production name of the new car. We will keep you updated.
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