‘Big car’ features brought to a small car
Several firsts for the small car segment, including Ford EasyFuel capless refuelling system
Maximum driver comfort with improved seat position and adjustment and steering wheel adjustable for height and reach
Mobile phone-inspired entertainment system
Intelligent interior increases space and storage without increasing exterior dimensions
October 2008 – The new Ford Fiesta has been developed around a philosophy of bringing ‘big car’ premium features to the small car segment, for the comfort and convenience of driver and passengers. High quality finishes, appealing, contemporary materials and user interfaces inspired by mobile phones communicate immediately that the new Fiesta is no ordinary car.
This ‘cockpit’ character is accentuated by a 30mm lower seating position, a higher instrument panel and a 20mm higher gearshift placement versus the previous-generation Fiesta. The new Fiesta also introduces steering wheel-mounted controls for key audio and vehicle systems.
Extensive, detailed work was undertaken to create a driver’s seat that was comfortable, yet offered sporty styling and wide-ranging adjustment. Significant back and thigh support has been engineered into the seat, to complement the Fiesta’s driving character, without compromising comfort.
The driver’s seat now adjusts up and down by 55mm to accommodate different driver’s needs, which is a first for Fiesta. A 286mm fore and aft adjustment also offers a significant improvement.
This combination of lower seat mounting and greater adjustment also ensures headroom is not compromised even for the tallest drivers, despite the new Fiesta’s lower, sportier exterior profile.
The driving position has also been improved in its angle to the steering column, which is now four-way adjustable for reach and height and located at a more vertical angle to the driver, for greater comfort and enhanced ‘cockpit’ experience.
Virtual Interior for Better Visibility
In optimising the new interior package, engineers made extensive use of the Computer Aided Virtual Engineering (CAVE) system. CAVE uses a combination of computers and projectors to create a virtual life-sized interior of a car. Using a specially designed rig, a real car seat is fixed into the appropriate position for the driver who can then evaluate all-round visibility as well as comfort levels for reaching the steering wheel and operating major controls. This system proved invaluable to designers and package engineers when shaping the new model’s interior.
The driver’s rearward view was also optimised using the virtual-reality CAVE system. Detailed work was undertaken among design, package and ergonomics experts to shape the rear glass of the new Fiesta for ample visibility within its kinetic design shape.
As a final touch of comfort, the Fiesta features a full footrest for the driver, the first Fiesta to offer this on both left- and right-hand drive models.
Mobile Phone Inspired Convenience
The striking centre stack on the new Fiesta’s instrument panel is the heart of Fiesta’s In Car Entertainment (ICE). As such, it needed to be instantly intuitive to all types of customer, as well as a creative and attractive piece of interior design.
The design team sought inspiration away from traditional automotive switchgear and studied the use and architecture of mobile phones to determine the most intuitive interactive platform.
The Human Machine Interface (HMI) strategy focused around three pillars:
Simplicity and integration
Usefulness and personalisation
Controllability and automation
The result is a HMI that separates the traditional entertainment system elements – screen, controls and electronics – into a mobile phone-inspired user interface.
The design was heavily researched and tested by the ergonomics and HMI teams – both in laboratory conditions and with real customers – to prove its safety and simplicity. The driver is able to easily operate the ICE unit with minimal distraction while driving.
Internationally recognised symbols, as seen on a mobile phone, are pictured both on each button and on the screen for easy control and coordination, while the control buttons are purposely slanted to give a stylish look and to highlight the red illumination in the button dividers.
During development, a major focus on details made for significant ergonomic improvements. For example, the centrally-located ‘OK’ directional button is a toggle button, with an added option of voice control to operate the ICE functions.
Also, on the finished design, each button slants inwards for the finger to slip into so other buttons are not pressed by mistake. Angled controls and buttons make operation easy and relaxed and an outward dimple is placed on the centre button, just like a mobile phone, acting as a clear centre-point reference. Many functions can now also be controlled via intuitive steering wheel-mounted toggle switches, minimising the need for the driver to take their eyes from the road.
Ergonomics development even extended to the size of each button. The team increased the size of keys for the finished design, to the point that it now meets the requirements of about 95 percent of male sized hands.
These subtle but important developments ensure the driver can operate the various functions easily, and refer quickly to a clear, high-mounted, 89mm (3.5 inch) screen, thus minimising distraction time when focusing on the road ahead.
Ford EasyFuel Heads Big Car Features List
The Fiesta brings to the small-car arena an array of features normally found on big cars. Leading this list is the innovative Ford EasyFuel system. EasyFuel means never having to wrestle with a fuel filler cap again.
EasyFuel is more than a convenience feature. It represents a tangible difference for the customer, because it incorporates a special fuel inhibitor that is designed to prevent the vehicle from being filled with the wrong type of fuel.
The Fiesta brings this key technology to the Ford small-car customer for the first time, preventing misfuelling and the associated damage, inconvenience and expense.
More ‘Big Car’ Features
‘One-shot up’ power driver’s window.
Power mirrors finished in body colour for Trend and Titanium, with integrated side indicators and featuring ‘radius’ glass to improve the scope of rearward vision in both mirrors.
Reach-and-rake steering wheel adjustments to help drivers optimise driving position. This combines with the Fiesta’s improved seat-height adjustment capability for ergonomic flexibility.
Flexible ‘aero’ wiper blades, with improved sweep ability and sound refinement. The system features asymmetrical blades – 600mm long on the driver’s side, 425mm on the passenger side, for a wide sweep arc.
Space and Storage Zones
From the outset, Ford designers and ergonomists worked together to create an interior that is as intuitive as it is attractive. As a small car that was designed to stay small, the challenge for the development team was to improve the interior space and stowage for driver and passengers, without increasing the overall dimensions of the car.
Ergonomists divided the new Fiesta interior into zones for each occupant, to ensure storage areas, switches and controls were all within comfortable reach. At the same time, Package teams were working on ingenious new storage options. The combined result is space and storage zones that are convenient for all occupants.
Sitting in the Fiesta, the space is immediately obvious. Front legroom has increased by 11mm over the previous-generation Fiesta and is best in class at 1069mm. Generous front shoulder room of 1349mm and headroom of 990mm combine to create a comfortable environment for any length of journey.
Rear seat passengers are not forgotten either. Despite its sweeping exterior profile and high belt line, new Fiesta still offers 949mm headroom for rear seat passengers, together with 1300mm shoulder room and rear legroom of 843mm.
In five-seat mode, the Fiesta offers 284 litres of luggage space. Rear seats offer single-motion folding capability for stowage of larger items – an action which does not require lifting the rear seat cushion or removing the headrests.
A low boot lip (702mm from the ground) and broad opening to the rear hatch (606mm high, 996mm wide) make loading and unloading easy and practical.
Useful and ingenious storage spaces abound throughout the Fiesta’s cabin, and are convenient for all occupants. Chief amongst these is the eight-litre glovebox on the front passenger side, capable of storing items of different sizes from CDs to drinks cans and bottles. Other storage areas include:
Large front door bins, capable of storing 1.5-litre bottles or a sizeable road atlas
Central storage pocket in the centre console stack
Open storage bin in front of the gearshift, with non-slip surface, for keys or wallet
Open storage space in front of handbrake with USB socket and 12-volt power connector for MP3 player or mobile phone
Two 0.4-litre cup holders alongside an offset parking brake
Storage bin at the rear of the centre console, large enough for a handbag/CDs and easily accessible for rear passengers
Clear Fiesta Choice
The Fiesta has been designed and engineered to meet a range of customer requirements, with performance from feisty to frugal, interior choices from ultra-modern to traditional and a comprehensive list of standard features at all levels.
Choosing the Fiesta that meets your individual needs is made simple with a straightforward series line up. From the affordable and well equipped Ambiente and the popular Trend, customers can choose a path based on their preferences, while benefiting from similar specifications and prices. The Titanium introduces technological style and materials, for those customers seeking a contemporary, hi-tech look.
The new Fiesta range:
Ambiente – The Ambiente is an affordable and well-equipped entry to the new Fiesta range, offering body coloured bumpers, Intelligent Protection System, reach and rake-adjustable steering and power mirrors as standard.
Trend – Enhancing the Fiesta’s inherent style, the Trend offers a generous specification level that adds body coloured, powered and heated door mirrors, electric windows and remote central locking. A bright headlamp finish and 15″ alloy wheels completes its stylish exterior.
Titanium – The Titanium creates a premium look and feel, with chrome surrounding the side window. Front fog lamps, leather steering wheel and air conditioning come as standard. With 16″ alloy wheels, full bodykit for the three-door model and a partial bodykit on the five-door model, the Titanium model is sure to turn heads.