Vans of the Year

Date: Tuesday, December 08, 2009

 

Ford Fiesta

Back with a vengeance, Ford’s all-new Fiesta Van is the hugely deserving winner of What Van?’s Small Van of the Year award. Based on the three-door version of the latest, and widely praised, Fiesta car, it’s on offer with three different engines all married to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Buyers can pick from an 82hp 1.25-litre Duratec petrol, a 68hp 1.4-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel or a 90hp 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel. The last-named is the only power plant on offer in the top-of-the-range SportVan version and buyers can order it with or without a particulate trap.

ABS comes as standard as does Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and electric power steering is fitted across the range. Good to see that Ford’s baby is equipped with the EasyFuel capless refuelling system which prevents the wrong nozzle being inserted when you stop at the pumps to fill up.

Maximum payload ranges from 490kg to 515kg depending on the variant chosen with a, surprisingly, roomy and practical 1.0m3 cargo area. Maximum load length is 1,296mm. Maximum width is 1,278mm narrowing to 1,000mm between the wheel boxes, while maximum height is 806mm. A half-height composite bulkhead is installed along with four load tie-down points.

Three different trim levels are listed, including entry level and Trend as well as SportVan. No matter which model you opt for, Fiesta Van is fun to drive. For your money you get responsive steering with plenty of feedback, despite the fact that it’s electric. The handling is sharp, the gearchange is slicker than slick and user-friendly and the driving position is little short of excellent. That’s partly due to the supportive seat; the kind you sit in and moulds itself around you rather than the kind you perch on.

If it’s performance you’re after then buy the SportVan. With lots of growling from the exhaust it’s a real hoot to drive, and you won’t feel short-changed so far as equipment levels are concerned.

 

The package includes 16in five-spoke alloy wheels, Bluetooth, air conditioning, Electronic Stability Programme with Emergency Brake Assist, sports-tuned suspension with a lowered ride height and knee and side airbags for the driver plus an active head restraint. You get a colour-keyed body kit too that includes a rear spoiler. The lowered sports suspension makes the already sharp handling even sharper. The ride is firmer too of course, but not unpleasantly so.

Nor will running SportVan cost you a fortune, unless you’re a real hooligan. On the combined fuel economy cycle it offers 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 110g/km; the same as the 1.4-litre diesel.

All Fiesta vans come with an attractive cab interior with chunky dashboard controls for the MP3-compatible stereo/radio CD player and the heating and ventilation system. Storage facilities for all the bits and pieces drivers have to cart around with them include a decent-sized lidded glovebox and bins in the doors and you’ll find mouldings to hold a bottle of water and a couple of cups or cans between the seats.

Fiesta Van is of course not the only vehicle battling for sales in this sector and our Highly Commended award goes to Vauxhall’s frugal Corsavan. Check out the Sportive in particular; you won’t be disappointed.



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