The Fiesta car-derived van has long been a staple in the small-van sector. This niche in the market has become more important in recent years, as many operators find themselves able to downsize from larger vans and save some money on the purchase and running costs in the process. Many operators also find that smaller vans are more suited to urban duties and hence suffer fewer of the bumps and scrapes associated with larger vans trying to squeeze into tight spaces.
The Ford Fiesta van is well placed to exploit this trend, and it has been doing so for a long time – since being launched in the late 1970s. The Fiesta van was overhauled in 2010 and promptly won the City Van of the Year award. The opposition rallied with a swarm of spacious car-based cube vans, but despite those models offering extra load-carrying capacity, the Fiesta van has been able to hold on to its market-leading position and commands as much as 63% of unit sales in the niche.
The 2013 version also benefited from a substantial refresh, and while the load volume remains smaller than those cube rivals, the Fiesta still wins all the plaudits when it comes to driving characteristics because of its car-like handling and ride. Ford has recognised that many people who buy a van actually have very modest load-carrying needs, so the Fiesta is a very good fit for this type of customer.
The 2013 Fiesta was given a facelift relatively close to the overhaul of the 2010 version, but Ford took advantage of the Fiesta car upgrade to tackle the increasing threat from the Mercedes Citan, a new and impressive offering in the small-van sector. This new model was offered with the Ford SYNC emergency assist system as an option, which automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident. It also has a useful system called Active City Stop, which brakes the car at low speeds if it detects an object in front of the van. This is joined in the kit list by other useful features, such as a camera and hill-start assist.
The Ford Fiesta van is indeed a tempting option for any operator who is looking to downsize their fleet and get rid of much of that unused load space. It has very pleasing road manners, and the fuel consumption fugues are impressive, achieving up to 85mpg on the Econetic model. It is also a good-looking little van, which can be important both for the driver and for the company image. The seats are sporty-looking and offer good support, even if a larger driver might find them a bit tight. There is lots of legroom for such a small van, and the adjustable steering wheel makes it easier to find a comfortable driving position. Cabin storage space is limited, but you do get two cup holders, and the load area is usefully square with a wipe-clean floor. As with many car-derived vans, however, there is a bit of a lip at the boot, so you can’t simply slide loads in and out.
The 95hp engine offers lively performance and is quiet and refined. There is also little noise from the back, despite there being only a mesh bulkhead.
The diesel power plant is highly refined, and despite the fact that there is only a mesh bulkhead, hardly any noise emanates from the back. Electronic Stability Control is only offered as an option on the two lower-end models, but this apart it is hard to find fault with the Fiesta van for anyone who can live with a load space of up to one cubic metre.by