An anniversary celebration
One of the ways in which the Ford Fiesta distinguishes itself from the competition is with the structure of its various versions. The Fiesta does not come in a traditional base trim after which more luxury is added step by step. Instead, the Fiesta is available in various flavours, focusing on luxury, sportiness or adventure.
To better reflect those different characters, the front has been revised for the 2022 model year. The revamped Fiesta has a completely new face, which takes some getting used to after the sharp, dynamic lines and bold look that characterised the car until now. From now on, the Fiesta has a more subdued look. At the same time, the compact Ford is more present because the bonnet has been raised by a few centimetres (without negatively affecting the streamline, according to Ford). This gave more room to draw the headlights more sharply and place the Ford logo prominently in the grille.
Most importantly, however, the new nose offers more freedom to customise the shape of the grille and the wide-beam headlights according to the version. The fast ST emphasises its width more, while the adventurous "Active" driven here emphasises its height.
Space and equipment
The interior style has not been updated. As with every other Ford, technology and comfort are combined. Even for this smallest model, the look is businesslike and solid; no frivolous excesses or creative elements here. From model year 2022, the proportion of eco-friendly materials in the upholstery is greater. Also, Ford promises that the entire car will henceforth be free of animal products ("vegan").
Space in the front is adequate, with the nice big seats making the Fiesta seem roomier that it actually is. Legroom in the rear is slim, as with most cars of this size.
The most obvious innovation is the clocks behind the steering wheel. Or rather, the lack of them, as they have been replaced by a display. The advantage of this is that the layout can be customised. Despite the fact that Ford now equips other new models with SYNC4, the updated Fiesta has to make do with version 3 of this combined audio, communication and navigation system. Speakers from B&O are still available and even during this renewed introduction they managed to positively stand out with their clear and musical sound.
To enhance safety, the Fiesta is now available with "smart" headlights. When driving with high beam, part of the beam dims automatically to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. "Wrong Way Alert" determines, based on recognised road signs, plus the location according to the navigation system, whether an on-ramp to the motorway is the right one, and warns if the driver is in danger.
Like most other car manufacturers, Ford is investing all its time and financial resources in developing electric cars. The updated Fiesta therefore features the same petrol engines as before. However, all petrol engines now feature mild-hybrid technology as standard. Here, energy recovered during braking or coasting is stored in a battery. When the petrol engine has to work hard, an electric motor uses that free energy to briefly assist the combustion engine, thus reducing consumption.
Another fuel-saving feature is the automatic gearbox. It is optimally tuned to the character of the mild-hybrid drive and therefore also promises slightly lower consumption. This is because a petrol engine is most efficient at a certain rpm However, the average driver does not have a good sense of what rpm that is and therefore cannot keep the engine within that rpm range. The new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is programmed to always keep the engine within the ideal rev range.
In real life, the automatic always shifts at the right moment. The gear changes are also jerk-free, so it seems as if the Fiesta has one long gear. Only the sporty ST-Line offers the option to shift sequentially; in all other versions, Ford assumes that the driver has no desire to shift gears himself.
The power output of the 125 hp / 210 Nm three-cylinder has remained the same. Performance is more than adequate and when more is required, the engine always has plenty of reserve - after some thinking time. The Fiesta Hybrid is therefore as easy to drive calmly as it is to drive distinctly sporty. With a mainly calm driving style, the average consumption was 6.1 litres per 100 km, which is too much for a car of this size.
Quite rightly, the suspension has not been updated for the 2022 model year. It still strikes a unique balance between comfort and sportiness. This is complemented by a steering that is light, yet makes it clear what is going on under the front wheels. The result is a car that is comfortable when needed, but challenging and sporty when requested.
Note that here too, the trim determines the character. The ST-Line has slightly shorter suspension travel, while the Active can dive deeper into the springs. In town and on bad roads, the Active is therefore preferable thanks to its more forgiving character. If you have a sporty driving style and seek out the country roads more often, you will have fun with the ST-Line.
The Ford Fiesta has been updated for model year 2022. As the car has recently been fitted with new engines, the modifications are limited to appearance and equipment. The equipment has become slightly richer, but because Ford did not see an opportunity to bring the latest infotainment system ("SYNC4") to the Fiesta, the progress is minor.
The new look takes some getting used to because all versions used to have a dynamic look. From now on, the Fiesta has a more subdued look as standard, which feels like a loss. Only the sporty versions still have a strong presence. The biggest gain is in the family look: thanks to the changes, the Fiesta now fits in better with Ford's recently introduced models.
Given the limited modifications, the Fiesta has barely improved and the model struggles to compete with more recent similar models from other brands. And yet, this reacquaintance has been experienced extremely positively. Indeed, there is one thing on which the Fiesta remains unbeatable: handling! Still thanks to a sublime combination of comfort and dynamics, the Fiesta is a real treat to drive.
- Good automatic
- Excellent handling
- Pronounced variants
- No SYNC4
- May be more economical
- Moderate space in the back