Having seen no
fewer than seven generations bringing a host of innovative features, intuitive
technology and up-to-the-minute designs, it’s easy to understand how so many of
us will have a Ford Fiesta tale to tell.
1970s, Ford had the car market pretty well-licked. It was a case of Cortinas
and Escorts abound. Even if you fancied something a bit bigger, there was
always the Consul or a Zephyr/Zodiac waiting to brighten up your driveway with
Ford's famous blue oval badge. However, Ford came late to the 'supermini'
party, until it finally revealed the Fiesta back in 1975.
The MK1 Fiesta
came as a 3-door hatchback with a panel van version also available. Early cars
were a simple affair so it's fair to say, they weren't particularly refined.
Yet, the Fiesta's attractive design and affordability proved popular. The
Fiesta was the first Ford to come with a transverse engine layout similar to
that of Alec Isagoniss' fabled BMC/BL Mini.
By the end of
its eight-year tenure, the Fiesta MK1 had certainly found its niche. Over a
million were sold. Nowadays, a MK1 represents the most desirable collector's
Fiesta, especially in fabulously sexy XR2 or Supersport guises. These
delightful little cars earned themselves cult status during the 1980's.
Fiesta MK2 (1983 to 1989)
success of the MK1, it was time for an update. In 1983 Ford brought us the
Fiesta MK2. Thanks to a variety of subtle tweaks, the newby boasted more engine
options including a diesel. 5-speed manual transmission was also available
which helped cruise ability and improved MPG. The MK2 featured Ford's standard "look"
with wraparound headlights. The interior was also freshened offering enhanced
The competition was fierce amidst superminis with the Vauxhall Nova and BL's Austin Metro
gaining popularity. When production of the second-generation Fiesta ended in
1989, total sales exceeded 4.5 million units. However, these days, MK2's are a
rare sight meaning that they have also become sought-after on the classics
& collectors scene.
Fiesta MK3 (1989 to 1997)
A new decade
and another Fiesta upgrade. The MK3 Fiesta was introduced with a brand new
look. It was much sleeker and more refined than its predecessors, featuring a
whole range of improved components to help bring the model up to date.
For the first
time, the Fiesta was available as a 5-door hatchback with a longer wheelbase.
Suddenly, the Fiesta looked like a grown-up option offering enhanced comfort
thanks to better seating and a neater interior layout. The revised baby
Fordling was more sure-footed than ever due to an improved suspension set-up.
It wasn't just
the suspension that had been revised. At the heart of these trendy little
motors was a line-up of modernised High Compression Swirl engines as well as
Ford's CVH units. 1991 brought fuel injection into the mix which added
refinement and greater fuel economy.
When it comes
to latter-day desirability, the Fiesta MK3 XR2i seems to be the one. These
little beasties produce around 100bhp. Then there's the Fiesta RS Turbo which
came with distinctive alloys, bonnet louvers and green stripe moldings.
Fiesta MK4 (1995 to 2002)
In 1995 the
MK4 arrived with a whole raft of advancements. Although the new model was based
on the same platform as its predecessor, boxy styling was replaced with an
altogether sleeker look. New Zetec SE engines were added to the range with the
1.8-litre diesel and the smaller Valencia (Endura E) engines remaining
XR2i and RS Turbo/RS1800 variants were ditched with the advent of the MK4.
These popular models were replaced by the aggressively styled Fiesta Zetec
The MK4 is
arguably not as desirable amidst Ford enthusiasts as some of its predecessors,
despite having the distinction of being the last model ever to be built at
Ford's Dagenham factory.
Fiesta MK5 (2002 to 2008)
Millennium brought us yet another new Fiesta. In 2002, the all-new MK5 was
introduced. With fashionable new looks, it proved to be yet another winning
formula. The MK5 was the first Fiesta to feature ABS and passenger airbags as
standard. It didn't take long for the MK5 to win hearts and minds, going on to
become the best-selling Fiesta iteration to date.
MK5 got engines carried over from the previous generation. However, in 2005 the
MK5 enjoyed a major facelift which heralded an uptick in quality. Top end
equipment such as MP3, automatic headlights, Bluetooth and automatic power-folding
door mirrors were added. Performance versions got a splash of ST pedigree,
featuring a 2.0-litre petrol engine that produced a very respectable
are still seen on our roads, offering pre-loved affordability to a new generation
of young drivers.
Fiesta MK6 (2008 to 2016)
In the late
2000's, a global financial crisis forced many drivers to rethink their motoring
preferences in order to save a little on escalating motoring costs. When Ford
unveiled its sixth generation Fiesta, they aimed to build on the brand's
The MK6 was
launched under the 'One Ford' initiative. This meant that Ford could streamline
its operations by standardising its range of products. Changing times meant
that Ford's range of smaller, more efficient cars needed to offer customers the
same style and flair as their larger siblings. It did this by adopting the
2013 brought a
facelift with sharper looks and the addition of advanced technology. This
included the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine which offered reliability and
performance. The Fiesta ST made a welcome return with a punchy 1.6-litre
EcoBoost power plant that produced a staggering 180bhp.
Over an 8-year
production run, 300,000 MK6's were sold annually in Europe alone. There are
still plenty of them out and about today.
Fiesta MK7 (2016 to 2023)
The 2016 MK7
brought distinctive new characteristics into the spotlight especially in Active
and Vignale guise. Active models came with roof bars and a stylish SUV-inspired
look. Vignale models brought opulence and genuine refinement to the Fiesta camp
with a host of luxury features previously reserved for larger cars. The ST came
along with a limited-run 'Performance Edition' much applauded for power and
In 2021 the
Fiesta was given a very pleasant facelift incorporating a unique front end
design (some refer to this as the MK8). With the model seemingly at its peak,
Ford sadly announced that this would be the last of the Fiestas.
The MK7/8 had
proved to be another popular Fiesta and represents a fitting way for the Fiesta
to finally bow out.
Fiesta proved to be one of the most popular cars ever made. Each new generation
broke the supermini mold. The Fiesta was much-loved for its fun-to-drive,
simple yet attractive approach to motoring. So many of us will have fond
memories of journeys enjoyed behind the wheel of our Fiestas. I for one, will
be sad to see it go.
Douglas Hughes is a UK-based writer producing general interest articles ranging from travel pieces to classic motoring.