A City Companion Icon Turns 40 – Ford Fiesta

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A pragmatic city slicker’s love affair with the Ford Fiesta transcends the specific city which one calls home, I would think, as that’s definitely the case with me. When the need for a car proved too strong to divert towards using the public transport system, I was happy to get around in a Ford Fiesta because of so much that it packs into its little compact design. On some visits abroad the Ford Fiesta once again came in as a preferred make and model to rent, but only in those countries where they also drive on the left and side of the road.

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So anyway, in line with used Ford Fiesta Van retailer Van Monster’s retrospective look at the much-loved history of this city slicker’s favourite, I saw if fit to join in on the celebrations of the Fiesta’s 40 year history since I feel like a big part of that history. It’s perhaps quite the coincidence that one of my very first so-called “starter-pack” cars was indeed a hand-me-down of the very first mass produced Ford Fiesta Mk1, whose production ran from 1976 until 1983. The coincidence lies in the fact that one of my closest friends today drives the latest version – the Mk7, which I found rather interesting to drive every so often and in a sense gauge through comparison what 40 years does to the development of a car.

The current Ford Fiesta Mk7 was first produced in 2008 and that’s the model still being produced today.

Here are some of the most notable changes I noticed and found rather interesting to discuss, particularly from the point of view of someone who lives and spends most of my time in a big city, with all the challenges that come with living in a big city:

While the Mk1 was available as either a three-door hatchback or a three-door panel van, the latest Mk7 comes with the additional option of a five-door hatchback, which is merely an extension of a tradition of it being the perfect city car. When you’re parked in really tight spaces you can somehow manage to pack your stuff in, now through even more doors if you go with the five-door hatchback.

40 years of production and cycling through various upgrades and tweaks has added 6,4 miles to the gallon, with the latest model managing 47,9 miles per gallon for what’s perhaps an expected improvement in fuel economy.

I’m not really a speed junkie (well not on public roads in any case), so I don’t think I ever clocked the top speed of the 1974 model’s 81mph, but the latest model’s top speed has improved to 136mph.

The engine is still a 1600cc, which I won’t go into detail about concerning the time it takes to go from 0-60mph — I’m not really interested in that, but what I am interested in is that a 1,6 litre engine basically means you can get as much power as a compact car can deliver while also benefitting from good fuel efficiency, especially in the stop-start driving conditions synonymous with urban life.

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