Rumours of the Fiesta Van’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, says Dan Gilkes.
It’s not often that you can say that a van is back by popular demand. However, after Ford announced that it would no longer be building the Fiesta Van, a number of customers apparently made it clear that there was still a demand for the car-derived model.
At last year’s CV Show, Ford therefore announced the return of the Fiesta Van, based on the latest Fiesta car body. Available in range-topping Fiesta Sport Van trim only, the compact Ford is now powered by a choice of a 1.5-litre diesel engine or the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol motor.
The diesel delivers a punchy 120bhp with 270Nm of torque, while the petrol engine puts out 125bhp with 170Nm. That power is delivered to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and, in the diesel at least, delivers a truly entertaining drive.
The Fiesta Sport Van uses a three-door car body with a steel and mesh bulkhead behind the front occupants and a flat load floor that offers just under 1.0m3 of volume. You can carry half a tonne, which should be more than enough for most buyers, who opt for the Fiesta more for its ease of use and car dimensions than its LCV capabilities.
The cab is a comfortable place to spend the day, with sports seats and a chunky, leather-clad steering wheel. The new dash is dominated by an 8” touchscreen, that in our test van had been upgraded to SYNC3 specification (£480) with DAB, sat-nav, voice control, Bluetooth, Emergency Assistance, along with Apple and Android compatibility.
Being car-based, there are plenty of options available to buyers, including a host of electronic safety and driver assistance systems. Standard kit includes front and rear disc brakes with traction control, hill launch assist, emergency brake assist and emergency brake light flashing. You also get keyless starting a lane-keeping system and a Thatcham Category 1 alarm.
The van looks the part, thanks to lowered suspension, spoilers and side skirts, though how sporty you want to go will depend on your wheel choice. That’s because you can specify 16”, 17” or the 18” wheels tyres that we have here (£480 extra). With diesel power these offer a combined fuel figure of 67.3mpg, 65.7mpg or 64.2mpg respectively, with CO2 outputs of 107, 109 and 111g/km. I’m guessing that won’t worry the majority of buyers.
It never ceases to amaze just how Ford’s engineers can dial in such incredible handling and manoeuvrability, with a firm ride the only slight downside. As mentioned though, the Fiesta Van is a delight to drive. Little wonder then, that it is still very much in demand.
With no obvious competition, the Fiesta Sport Van should tick all of the boxes for loyal fans.