Ford has finally officially revealed its new compact hatch, destined for Europe, the Asia Pacific and South Africa. Based on the Verve Concepts that we showed you last year, the new car will - as speculated - be called the Fiesta.
Thankfully, much of the stunning styling of the Verve Concept(s) is carried over to the production model, which looks set to be one of the most attractive looking compact hatches to hit the market for some time.
The 2009 Fiesta is due to begin production at Ford?s Cologne manufacturing plant in Germany at the end of this year. In the meantime it will be a feature at next months Geneva Motor Show, where attendees will be able to see it in the metal for the first time.
Ford has not only imbued the Fiesta with sharp looks, it has also invested a lot of energy in ensuring that it will be a class leader. Ride comfort and NVH have come in for close attention with road, wind and engine noise being reduced to ensure a smoother, quieter more up-market ride.
Following Mazda?s lead with the Mazda2 (in fact pretty much borrowing the 2's chassis), Ford has been able to increase safety and comfort levels without increasing the weight of the new Fiesta over that of the previous model.
The Fiesta is expected to go on sale in Western Europe in both three and five-door hatch forms in 2009 and will be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines to suit that market.
Diesel buyers will be able to choose from a 1.25-litre unit that comes in two states of tune and produces either 45kW/60hp or 60kW/80hp. There will also be a 1.4-litre petrol engine good for 60kW/80hp or a 1.6-litre petrol sporting 86kW/115hp.
The Fiesta will be available with either Ford?s new Durashift automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox.
It is expected that the rest of the world will get to see the new Fiesta in 2010, when it will make its way to the rest of Europe, North America, South Africa and Asia (including Australia), in hatch and sedan form depending on the individual market.