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Discover the history of the Ford Fiesta

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1976-1983 Fiesta Mk1

Top speed: 81mph

0-60mph: 19.1 seconds

MPG: 41.5

Introducing the first Fiesta, the first front-wheel-drive Ford car available across the globe.

Body styles available: 3-door hatchback, 3-door panel van

Famous for: frustrating UK drivers by only becoming available in January 1977 – LH drive versions were on sale in Europe in September 1976

Ford Fiesta XR2 released in 1980

  • 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds, top speed of 105mph
  • Featured a 1.6L engine, anti-roll bar and round headlights
  • Became a cult car with boy racers

Awards & Accolades

Was only the second hatchback mini-car to have been built in the UK at the time – available from £1,856.

Was one of the key cars in the brand new Motability scheme, which was launched in 1978

Was Britain’s best-selling supermini in 1978

Won the UK Design Council Efficiency Award for “exemplary contribution to the reduction of running and maintenance costs” in 1978

It was smaller than the popular Escort, but bigger than supermini rival the Fiat 127

12-inch wheels as standard with disc brakes at the front

4-speed manual gearbox, as was traditional for the time

1980 - Signs of the times:

  • Margaret Thatcher introduces the Housing Act where council tenants would have the right to buy their home at a discount from the local council
  • Alton Towers was opened
  • John Lennon shot dead in New York
  • Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Ashley Cole were all born

1983-1989 Fiesta Mk2

Top speed: 86mph

0-60mph: 18.7 seconds

MPG: 43.9

Essentially a facelift of the Mk1, there were enough changes to christen this model the Mk2.

Body styles available: 3-door hatchback, 3-door panel van

Famous for: introducing the diesel version of the Fiesta. Although it had fantastic fuel economy and was considered one of the best diesel cars around, it was horribly noisy!

Ford Fiesta 1.6L XR2

  • Had a much larger body kit than the previous XR2
  • Came with a 1.6L CVH engine previously seen in the Ford Escort XR3
  • In 1986 all models came with a 40-litre fuel tank, increasing fuel capacity and range

Awards & Accolades

Another big seller, over 150,000 units were sold in 1987 (its best ever year)

By 1989, over 4.5 million Fiesta units (Mk1 and Mk2) had been produced and/or sold

1984 saw the introduction of the first diesel Fiesta

New wraparound headlights with indicators

Later Mk2 cars had seat belts in the rear seats

Featured a 5-speed manual gearbox for the first time

1984 - Signs of the times:

  • O-level and CSE exams replaced by GCSEs
  • Unemployment reaches a record high of 3,260,000
  • The £1 note was withdrawn
  • Do They Know It’s Christmas was recorded by Band Aid

1989-1997 Fiesta Mk3

Top speed: 88mph

0-60mph: 17.6 seconds

MPG: 49.3

Two extra doors make a huge difference – introducing the Mk3, a slightly upgraded version of the Mk2.

Body styles available: 3/5-door hatchback, 3-door panel van

Famous for: having 5 doors, ideal for backseat passengers and for carrying lots of stuff!

Ford Fiesta RS Turbo

  • Introduced in in 1990
  • Based on the XR2i, which first became available in 1989
  • 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds, top speed of 133mph
  • 14-inch alloy wheels, colour-coded rear spoiler, green-tinted glass
  • Anti-lock brake and “Quickclear” heated windscreen options

Awards & Accolades

1 million units were produced in the first two years, giving this model the longest production life of any Fiesta to date

What Car? magazine’s ‘Car of the Year’ in 1989

The live beam rear axle was replaced with a semi-independent torsion beam arrangement

A 5-door version was made available, making the Fiesta even more practical

1994 - Signs of the times:

  • Tony Blair becomes leader of the Labour Party
  • Lidl opens first 10 stores in the UK
  • 0.5% of the population have access to the internet
  • First women ordained as priests in the Church of England

1995-1999 Fiesta Mk4

Top speed: 106mph

0-60mph: 11.6 seconds

MPG: 44.4

Curves were in, which resulted in the instantly recognisable Mk4.

Body styles available: 3/5-door hatchback, 3-door panel van, 3-door high cube panel van, 2-door coupé utility

Famous for: being so popular, but not being sold in America.


Awards & Accolades

Britain’s best-selling car from 1996-98

New suspension system and improved chassis – making it best in class for handling ability

New interior styling, including new dashboard

New exterior styling was rounded, aerodynamic and had an oval grille

Passenger airbag came as standard

1997 - Signs of the times:

  • Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister in a landslide victory for Labour
  • Death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris
  • UK wins Eurovision for the first time since 1981 with Love Shine a Light by Katrina and the Waves
  • J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone published

1999-2002 Fiesta Mk5

Top speed: 104mph

0-60mph: 12 seconds

MPG: 44.8

The new look of the Mk5 was largely inspired by the Ford Focus.

Body styles available: 3/5-door hatchback, 3-door panel van, 3-door high cube panel van

Famous for: being known as the MK5 mainly in the UK, but just as a facelift of the Mk4 in other countries.

Ford Fiesta Zetec S

  • Had a 1.6L 16v Sigma engine, producing 101 bhp
  • Update to suspension, uprated brakes and stiffer anti-roll bars
  • Developed a huge tuning culture, with reputable companies developing custom performance parts for this engine
  • 0-60mph in 9.6 seconds, top speed of 113mph

Awards & Accolades

Britain’s best-selling supermini in 2001

Side airbags introduced and leather trim reintroduced

New bumpers and wheel design

New front inspired by the Focus

2000 - Signs of the times:

  • Millennium celebrations takes place, millennium bug results in minor problems, instead of the major problems predicted
  • Tate Modern opened
  • High fuel prices lead to protests at oil refineries, causing 75-90% of petrol stations to be closed the following week
  • Sven-Göran Eriksson becomes manager of the England football team, the first foreign person to do so

2002-2008 Fiesta Mk6

Top speed: 103mph

0-60mph: 13.7 seconds

MPG: 44.9

Although another hugely popular Fiesta in the UK, this was the first Fiesta to be sold in Asia and Australia.

Body styles available in the UK: 3/5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon, 3-door panel van

Famous for: its facelift in 2006 including the advanced technology that made the Fiesta one of the most useful and affordable cars on the road.

Ford Fiesta ST

  • Includes a 2.0L Duratec petrol engine, producing 150 bhp
  • 17-inch alloy wheels, disc brakes to all wheels, revised front and rear bumpers, partial leather seats
  • Known as the Fiesta XR4 in Australia

Ford Fiesta RS Concept

  • This concept car was based on the 2002 Fiesta RallyeConcept
  • Featured cooling vents in the front bumper, big rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered and stiffened suspension, and white ceramic-coated brake calipers and exhaust tips
  • Engine produced over 180 bhp

Awards & Accolades

3rd most reliable small car in 2009 Warranty Direct statistics

In 2006-7 it was the most popular supermini in the UK for the first time since 2001

What Car? Best Used Supermini in 2006 for 1.4 Zetec 3dr 2003

First Fiesta to have ABS
and passenger airbags as standard

Exterior becomes more square and interior is more spacious, feeling like a smaller Focus

Spare wheel was stored inside the boot, rather than under it

Included advanced technology such as power folding mirrors, automatic windscreen wipers, Bluetooth with voice control, automatic headlights and Trip computer

2005 - Signs of the times:

  • Chip and PIN legislation came into effect
  • 7/7 bombings in London occur
  • Arsenal become the first team to win the FA Cup on penalties, defeating Manchester United
  • David Cameron becomes leader of the Conservative Party
  • 70% of the population have access to the internet

2008 - Present Day Fiesta MK 7

Price New £13,225

MPG 47.9

First unveiled in concept form as the Ford Verve in 2007, the Fiesta Mk 7 showed a marked change in both styling and performance.

Body styles available in the UK: 3/5-door hatchback, 3-door van

Became the best-selling car of all time in Britain in 2014 – 4,115,000 sold in 38 years.

Famous for: Being used in a Royal Marine beach assault and as part of a shopping centre chase by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear.

Fiesta ST was released in 2013

  • uses a 1.6L EcoBoost engine, 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, top speed of 136mph. Engine features ‘overboost’, which allows it to achieve up to 197bhp for 15 seconds.
  • ST version was named Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 2013
  • Sport styling includes 17” alloy wheels, body kit and rear spoiler, chrome dual exhaust pipe, front and rear disc brakes and suspension that results in a 15mm lower ride height.
  • ST-2 also features halogen headlights, LED day running lights and privacy glass. ST-3 also features the KeyFree System, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers and power-foldable door mirrors with puddle lights.

Awards & Accolades

Too many to list, some of the best are:

Car of the Year at What Car? Awards in 2009, Best Small Car in 2014

Best Used Small Car at What Car? Used Car Awards in 2014

Best Small Car at CarBuyer Car of the Year Awards in 2014

Best Supermini at Auto Express Awards in 2014

Became the best-selling car of all time in Britain in 2014 – 4,115,000 sold in 38 years

ST version was named Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 2013

EcoBoost engine – delivers the power and torque of a larger engine but with 20% better fuel efficiency and 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Engine block made of cast iron instead of aluminium for up to 50% faster warm up.

Came with the Convers+ menu system with steering wheel button controls. Now comes with Ford Sync in-car communications and entertainment system.

ECOnetic model, using the 1.6L Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, was launched in 2009 that emitted just 98kg/km of CO2. This meant that it was exempt from UK vehicle excise duty.

Keyless entry with new ‘Ford Power’ start button.

2008 - Signs of the times:

  • price of petrol reached $100 per barrel for the first time in history
  • Global Economic Crisis went from bad to worse
  • The 1st generation iPhone was released
  • The best-selling single in the UK was Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke

We hope you enjoyed your
journey through Ford Fiesta history.

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