|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
BANGKOK, THAILAND—The presence of Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company’s rock star President and CEO at the Bangkok International Motor Show served as the perfect indicator that big news awaited the guests gathered at the Ford pavilion. After unveiling the much-awaited segment-busting urban SUV, the EcoSport a day earlier, what larger headline could possibly trump that? After taking the stage, Mr. Mulally quickly mentioned how the ASEAN market is Ford Motor Company’s most important and fastest growing market—growing at a staggering rate of 27 percent year-on-year (to the tune of 87,623 units). He also stressed that a good chunk of buyers in this market would opt for a small car by the year 2020. Then, he dropped a bomb shell: EcoBoost is finally arriving in the ASEAN underneath the refreshed Ford Fiesta.
Set to replace the larger displacement engine variants within the Fiesta line-up, the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost is the small engine that can, delivering 120 horsepower and 170 Nm of torque (over a wide 1,400 to 4,500 rpm)—figures comparable to 1.6- or even 1.8-liter engines and yet, feature 25 percent fewer moving parts and a lighter weight than powertrains with similar outputs. In fact, the International Engine of the Year winner is so small that the block can fit on a sheet of A4-sized paper and can be stowed away in an airplane overhead luggage compartment. However, by combining direct injection technology with turbocharging, and variable valve timing, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost powered Fiesta is expected to achieve up to 20 percent better fuel economy with no sacrifice in power. Aside from the all-new EcoBoost engine, the refreshed Fiesta is also made available with a 1.5-liter Ti-CVT engine shared with the EcoSport.
Aside from the new powertrains, the refreshed Fiesta also features a re-tune to the PowerShift automatic transmission for better shifting feel and improved NVH or noise, vibration, and harshness isolation for a quieter, more comfortable ride.
Further emphasizing the brand-new powertrain, Ford has used this opportunity to refresh the Fiesta to align it to the brand’s new design direction while lending a much more upscale and sportier feel. At first glance, the Fiesta’s front end has been lengthened for improved crash safety and pedestrian safety requirements. However, the extra few millimeters have been hidden thanks to the more expressive large trapezoidal grille with the five chrome horizontal inserts. This is sandwiched by smaller, pointier headlamps and front fog lamps with a high-gloss black surround. The hood has also been revised and now features a “power dome” bulge. Over at the sides, the Fiesta remains largely unchanged with the exception of a new alloy wheel design. And at the back, new tail lamp clusters complete the look.
Inside, the new Fiesta features a slew of welcome changes headlined by the availability of Ford SYNC in-car connectivity for the first time. Additional features include premium cross-stitched leather seating, Ford Power Start keyless engine start/stop, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and a +/- manual shift override for automatic transmission variants. Although these features are yet to be confirmed for the Philippine models, it was revealed at the show that the refreshed Fiesta will gain the same variant naming convention pioneered by the Focus and EcoSport. This means new trim levels of the Fiesta will feature names like “Titanium” and “Sport”.
Regionally, the Ford Fiesta has become the company’s best-selling nameplate, already managing to corner a 10 percent market share in its segment since its launch. In the Philippines, the Fiesta remains as Ford’s best-selling vehicle. In fact, it continues to be the most popular five-door hatchback, bar none, for two years running. Building on the success of the Fiesta through its sporty design, class-leading fuel economy, excellent safety, and smart technologies, the introduction of the EcoBoost powertrain and the freshened look will simply, pardon the pun, boost the Fiesta to greater heights.
Mr. Mulally summed it best: “ASEAN is such an important growth opportunity for Ford within our Asia-Pacific region. Our [ONE Ford] plan and our successful product-led transformation is helping to deliver even more segment-leading vehicles, like the all-new EcoSport and new Fiesta, that reflects our commitment to serve our customers with cars and trucks they truly want and value.”
Indeed, more than simply Ford’s “kinetic design” DNA, products such as the EcoSport and now, the refreshed Fiesta all carry the brand’s four main pillars: Quality, Green, Safe, and Smart. These key attributes are all imbued into these vehicles—designed and engineered only to deliver the best product a customer can buy.