The best selling car of the year 2016 is the Ford Fiesta, which turns the big 4 0. No one could have predicted the phenomenal success of Ford’s baby so we’re taking a little time to revisit its past to see just how far it’s come. from its first inception through to its current design and the market-leading combination of tech, safety and comfort at an affordable price. Here is All Car Leasing's look at the Ford Fiesta then now.
In 1972 the Fiesta was nothing more than the secret Project Bobcat where the intention was to create a small Ford car to be released to the world – well they certainly achieved that!
Construction began on Ford’s brand new manufacturing plant in Valencia – 2.7 million square metres of it, no less!
Ford begins production of the new fuel-efficient engine The Fiesta was given its name. It was decided because of the alliterative qualities with the Ford brand and to celebrate the company’s new connection with Spain.
The oil crisis of 1973 meant that the world was waiting for a vehicle built with economy in mind. Despite Ford already planning a brand new small, fuel-efficient car, the industry shake-up caused by the fuel crisis essentially cemented their plans and the Mark 1 Fiesta was the result. In 1976, the first one rolled off the production line and by 1980 more than a million had been sold. There were a number of specifications available including the base model Spartan then on to the Popular, Ghia and the Supersport. It was the trim above the Supersport that got the whispers going and was responsible for the birth of a whole generation of boy racers obsessed with the 1.6-litre Fiesta XR2.
In terms of size, the Mark 2 was identical to its predecessor, cosmetically though, things did change slightly. The front end had rounded up a bit while the interior became slightly more impressive than before. Perhaps the most notable thing about this Fiesta generation was the number of crazy special editions that were released including:
There was a Mark 2 XR2 too – all the twos / toos / tos in one sentence there – which was an absolute revolution in the 80s. A big plastic body-kit and 96bhp made the car the cool kid of the day.
The Mark 3 really was brand new; a whole new platform, new engines, a size revision – everything! This was also the first Fiesta where a five-door option was available and people loved it. In the first two years alone more than a million Mark 3 models were sold. Don’t’ worry though, this model didn’t come without an array of comical names, special editions this time included the Azura, Quartz, Sapphire, Cabaret and Louisiana. That’s not all though, there were three sports variants too – the XRi, RS Turbo and the RS1800!
Just like it’s the best seller now, it was back then too – from 1996 to 1998 for all you fact fans! Although the Mark 4 shared some qualities of the Mark 3, there were an awful lot of revisions – another fun fact is the fact it was joined on the production line by the Mazda 121. A new range of Zetec SE engines was released and the Mark 4 chassis was also used on the Puma which pretty much acted as the sports variant as this generation didn’t release a sporty Fiesta.
Although there was nothing more than a facelift, the Mark 5 Fiesta was so much better than the Mark 4 – it was cooler in every way. Styled on the new Focus, Ford found Fiesta’s cool again and it also remembered the sporty model that had been sadly forgotten I the Mark 4. It was here that the hot hatch that is the Zetec S was born. The Ford Fiesta MK5 was the first to be offered as a personal lease by All Car Leasing.
2002 was when the Fiesta really grew up, there was nothing old or dowdy about it anymore and it was no small impractical hatchback, the Mark 6 Fiesta really meant business. This model really was sold throughout the world, as far afield as Australia, Japan and South America and quickly became the best-selling generation to date. Speed demons were catered for with this generation too with the Zetec S and the ST models and air-con, leather interiors and even Bluetooth systems were all available.
Don’t worry, we haven’t missed one here. You may remember the 2014 facelift that took the Fiesta’s cute, curvy front end and replaced it with something much fiercer. The Mark 7 Fiesta has been Britain’s best-selling car since 2009 so it seems that everyone loved the mid-model facelift just as much as we did. It’s crazy to see the differences between the Mark 1 and the Mark 7 Fiestas, how the audience and target market have changed over the years, and just how much the Fiesta has really grown-up. Gone are the days when fuel economy and cheap plastics were the priority, the latest Fiesta boldly boasts Bluetooth systems with voice control, keyless entry, USB ports and Ford SYNC. The Fiesta has its fingers – or wheels – in many pies too, whatever your budget, whatever your taste and however power hungry you are, there’s a Mark 7 Fiesta out there for you, so let’s see whether this 40-year-old icon can make it another year at number 1.
The latest version of the Fiesta hit forecourts in early 2017 and remained one of the manufacturer's best selling model ranges with special editions and the promise of an ST in the near future. The latest Ford Fiesta has increased in size and the internal technology has been brought in to the modern day with a colour touchscreen, complex steering wheel