The Ford Fiesta name might not raise a lot of excitement in the American market, conjuring up as it does images of pathetically underpowered golf karts that pale next to other Ford products sold here like the Mustang and F-Series trucks. But in Europe, the Fiesta is one of Ford's top-selling cars. England's Car magazine reports that Ford sold over 100,000 Fiestas just in the UK last year, some 30,000 more than its nearest rival. Superminis are big business for Ford of Europe, which intends to keep it that way with the anticipated launch of the replacement for the current car, which has been on the market for five years already.
We can't tell much about the styling from this test mule, caught while undergoing cold-weather testing in Scandinavia, wearing body panels from the current version. But expect it to follow along Ford's latest global "kinetic" design direction, as seen on the new Mondeo and previewed by the Iosis concepts. Also expect a small increase in size thanks to the new B-class platform it will share with the Mazda2, but nothing to mess with the success of the current Fiesta.
Under the hood, Ford will offer a wide range of gasoline four-bangers in 1.3, 1.6 and 1.8-liter increments. Two diesel fours (1.4 and 1.6 liters) come out of a partnership with PSA Peugeot-Citroen, the French auto group that everyone seems to be in bed with these days. Hot hatches are a big deal in the Old World, and Ford's not about to back down from that fight, punching back with an anticipated 1.6-liter turbo with 170 horsepower in some sort of Fiesta RS-type package.
Part of the mechanical components will come courtesy of the Ford global parts bin, Frankensteining from the new Mazda 2 and the Ford Ka being developed in conjunction with the Fiat 500. The Fiesta will also come packed with everything from stability control to Bluetooth connectivity and airbags galore when it launches early next year, with delivery following in summer 2008.