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New Ford Fiesta Van review

Stylish small van that’s great to drive and loaded with kit

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

PROS

  • Smart to look at
  • Sharp to drive
  • Well equipped
  • Quiet on the motorway
  • Cheap to run

CONS

  • Small load area
  • You can buy a ‘proper’ van for less
  • Best kit still costs extra
  • Car-grade plastics
  • Glass rear window

Summary

The Ford Fiesta Van is a car-derived van based on the UK’s bestselling car – the Ford Fiesta.

From the time this Fiesta Van generation was launched in late 2018, it also competes in a market of one, as there are presently no other car-derived vans on sale in the UK, following the end of Vauxhall Corsavan production earlier in 2018.

What is the Ford Fiesta Van?

You’ve probably already gathered this is a bit of a niche product, especially when a ‘proper’ compact van, such as Ford’s very own Transit Courier, has an entry-level list price that’s a few hundred pounds less, with a better engine and double the load volume (if not much more payload capacity).

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - front view, red

By comparison, the Fiesta Van is quite literally a Fiesta car with the rear side windows blanked off and the rear seats replaced by a flat, well-insulated and rubber-lined load area that’s separated from the front seats by a part-mesh steel bulkhead.

This means, of course, that it not only looks like a car but also comes very well equipped and largely drives like one. And since the Fiesta is one of the most engaging small motors on the road, available with all sorts of driver aids and handy technology, this is very good news indeed.

Especially in the case of the Fiesta Sport Van, which features sports suspension to complement its additional sporty styling.

Ford Fiesta trim levels – including the Ford Fiesta Sport Van

Two trim levels are available, labelled simply Fiesta Van and Fiesta Sport Van. The Sport is by far the bigger seller, accounting for 95% of sales.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - interior

Still, the regular Fiesta Van comes with an extensive list of standard equipment, including DAB radio, Bluetooth, automatic headlights, heated mirrors and remote locking (full details in the Costs and Value section below), and a choice of two engines:

  • 1.1-litre Ti-VCT petrol with 85hp / 110Nm and five-speed manual gearbox
  • 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel with 85hp / 215Nm and six-speed manual gearbox

The Fiesta Sport Van builds on this with a number of additional items – including a sporty body kit similar to that fitted to the ST-Line Fiesta passenger car, sports seats, air-conditioning, Quickclear heated windscreen, Ford Sync infotainment system with sat-nav, keyless start and an alarm – and its own unique pair of engines:

  • 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol with 125hp / 170Nm and six-speed manual gearbox
  • 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel with 120hp / 270Nm and six-speed manual gearbox

For more details about the engines and driving performance see the Driving section below.

Why buy a Ford Fiesta Van?

With its small load area and limited practicality, you might be wondering: what’s the point of the Fiesta Van?

Well, while it is certainly smaller in the back than a conventional van, it’s still more practical than a regular car of this size.

So if your business only requires modest carrying capacity but still with the advantages of a dedicated commercial vehicle – which includes fixed-rate taxation and a functional load area complete with tie-down points and the added safety of a bulkhead – the Fiesta Van delivers this quite brilliantly.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - rear view, red

With a passenger area that’s identical to the Fiesta car – with all the modern creature comforts and driving convenience this suggests – plus sharp looks that can be modest in standard guise or eye-catching when dressed up as a Sport Van, it’s also a surprisingly nice place to spend lots of time.

What’s more, its small size makes it nippy around town and easy to squeeze into the tightest of yards and delivery spaces.


Ford Fiesta Van verdict

Even if there were other small car-derived vans on sale right now we’re confident that the Fiesta Van would be tough to beat – so if you’re in the market for this kind of vehicle, don’t be too concerned about the lack of competitive choice.

From the way it looks to the way drives, not to mention the quality of fit and finish in the load area and the modern, fuel-efficient engines, this is a really good little van.

Only the little part should make you pause, for the Ford Transit Courier drives nearly as well and has twice the load-space in the back. Even so, the Fiesta Van has a far, far nicer cabin, and its less overtly ‘commercial vehicle’ appearance may be appealing to some owners and operators as well.


Ford Fiesta driving experience

4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Fun, fast, comfortable and quiet
  • Diesels most popular - for good reason
  • Six-speed gearbox on all but entry-level model

The Ford Fiesta is one of the best-handling, nicest driving small cars on sale – and the Ford Fiesta Van has inherited these traits wholesale.

Even more impressive, the transformation into a van hasn’t resulted in a massive increase in noise inside the cabin. In terms of driver and passenger comfort it’s truly superb for a van.

What’s more, this assessment is based on driving a diesel Fiesta Sport Van riding on firmer sports suspension and enormous optional 18-inch alloy wheels – likely to be the least cossetting version of the lot.

Ford Fiesta Van engine details

The Fiesta Van is available with four engines – two petrol and two diesel – with each of the two trim levels getting their own example of each fuel type.

In the basic Fiesta Van you get a choice between a 1.1-litre Ti-VCT non-turbo petrol and a low-power 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel.

Both produce 85hp, but the diesel’s considerably greater torque (215Nm versus 110Nm) and higher fuel economy mean the petrol is only likely to appeal to businesses that do most of their driving in a small, probably urban, area and are worried about the negative press diesel has received in recent years.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - front view, head-on, red

We are yet to sample either of these engines in the Fiesta Van, but we know from experience in the Fiesta car – and the more powerful version in the Fiesta Sport Van – that this diesel engine isn’t even particularly noisy.

The 85hp Fiesta Van diesel will certainly feel livelier than the 85hp Fiesta Van petrol, with the latter set to be especially gutless when driven fully loaded to its 528kg maximum.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van engine details

The spicier looking Fiesta Sport Van naturally deserves spicier engines, and gets them in the form of a 125hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol and a 120hp variant of the 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel.

So far we’ve only driven the diesel version, which costs £1,000 more (at the time of writing) but compensates with 100Nm of extra torque (270Nm versus 170Nm) and additional miles-per-gallon of fuel.

In the small Fiesta body and without any weight in the back, this TDCi produces a thumping performance that will see you zipping up the road like a stabbed rat if required.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - rear view, dead-on, red

The power band is quite narrow, so you need to work the manual gearbox to make the most of it – but this is no chore as the standard-fit six-speed unit is well-weighted enough to make finding the next gear an easy and rewarding task.

The EcoBoost petrol Sport Van is powered by a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine, which should prove feisty, if again not quite as well suited to shifting a full payload as the diesel.

How quiet is the Ford Fiesta Sport Van inside?

Driving the Fiesta Sport Van diesel, we were particularly struck by how quiet engine is, even when driven hard.

This is not only testament to the build quality of the Fiesta cabin, which is completely carried over from the car, but also the finishing in the load area, as there’s no resonance from the back either.

Every Fiesta Van gets a six-speed gearbox, except the entry-level 1.1-litre petrol, which makes do with a five-speed manual. Not many small vans come with six gears; this is part of the reason the Fiesta Van manages to be so quiet on the motorway.

What is the Fiesta Sport Van like to drive?

Backing up the engine, Ford has tuned the Fiesta Sport Van’s chassis to deliver good fun.

With 10mm lower sports suspension fitted as standard, it changes direction with an immediacy you’ll rarely find in a commercial vehicle. The steering is direct, if a little vague in the straight-ahead position, and the Fiesta Sport Van doesn’t lean much in the corners, either – helping you carry speed and (probably more importantly) stopping stuff in the back sliding around too much.

Even with a grippy load-floor covering, this is not a miracle cure, however. So if you do like to have some fun in the bends, make sure you secure everything properly.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - rear view, driving, red

Speaking of grip, the Fiesta Sport Van we’ve tested was fitted with optional 18-inch alloy wheels (16-inch alloys are standard) and high-performance Michelin tyres. Which meant it stuck to the road like toffee to a filling.

We’ll update this review with driving impressions of the regular non-Sport Fiesta Van once we have some, but expect a toned-down but largely similar experience.

How comfortable is the Ford Fiesta Sport Van?

You’d expect optional 18-inch wheels to murder any pretence at ride comfort, but in fact the Fiesta Sport Van only really started to feel brittle over the worst bumps and potholes.

On most road surfaces the firmer sports suspension merely feels controlled and composed, rather than hard and uncomfortable.

Expect non-Sport versions to be comfier still, although with the penalty of more body roll in the corners.

Ford Fiesta cabin & interior

4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Just like a car in the cabin
  • Lots of fancy equipment
  • Interior may not stand up to hard use

One of the best things about car-derived vans – and that goes for commercial versions of 4x4s and SUVs as well – is that you get a passenger car cabin, with all the build quality, creature comforts and features that this entails.

For while the latest vans are certainly getting better and better cab interiors, very few live up to the example set by cars, even those from the same brand.

The disadvantage to this is that car-derived commercial vehicles don’t usually offer the same level of practical in-cab storage as a proper van.

The Fiesta Van treads the line between these two positions better than most, however.

What is the Ford Fiesta Van like inside?

The Fiesta’s cab interior – especially in fancier Sport Van spec - is a delight.

Everything you touch feels high quality, the instrumentation is clear and the large touchscreen for the Ford Sync infotainment system makes it look very modern inside.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - interior, steering wheel, dashboard

What’s more, the seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustment, and the driving position can be set just so thanks to the reach and rake adjustable steering wheel.

Plus, there are large and functional cupholders between the seats, useful for storing smaller items, plus reasonably large glovebox and door bins.

So although the only thing that gives away that this is a van on the inside is the bulkhead behind you, it is still usefully practical in the front.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - glovebox, storage

How long it remains this nice inside will very much depend on how careful you are with it, however. Those plastics might look and feel good but they won’t have been engineered with the endurance given to dedicated van cabin materials.

Ford Fiesta Van on-board technology

Being based on a modern car also means the Fiesta Van benefits from a lot of new technology.

Much of this is safety related – which we’ve covered in the Safety and Security section below – but as an example Sport Van models get Ford Sync as standard, which includes DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav and USB connectivity.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - Ford Sync touchscreen

Sadly, if you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto you still have to pay extra to get the newer Ford Sync 3 system. Doing so adds the option to use clever navigation apps such as Waze, which even works with the Fiesta’s built-in voice control system.

On top of this, you can add on-board Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices via FordPass Connect, a connectivity system that also allows you to remotely monitor the status of things including oil level and tyre pressures, and remotely lock and unlock the van should you need to give someone else access – all via your smartphone.

Ford Fiesta running costs & value

4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Very well equipped
  • Should be good on fuel
  • Sport Van gets bodykit and suspension upgrade

On the one hand it’s a touch odd that the smaller Fiesta Van costs more at entry-level than the Transit Courier. On the other, the Fiesta is much higher-quality and more modern inside, and comes very well equipped as standard.

So depending on where your priorities lie, the Fiesta Van remains good value. Here’s what you get for the money.

Ford Fiesta Van standard equipment

These are the standard equipment highlights for the regular Ford Fiesta Van:

  • Steel bulkhead with steel mesh upper portion
  • Load floor liker
  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • DAB radio with 4.2-inch screen
  • Bluetooth
  • USB connection
  • MyFord Dock for smartphones and tablets
  • Automatic headlights
  • Front foglights with cornering function
  • Electric windows
  • Electric door mirrors with heating
  • Body-coloured rear spoiler
  • Remote locking
  • Four-way adjustable driver’s seat
  • Reach and rake adjustable steering wheel

For details of safety equipment, see the Safety and Security section below.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van standard equipment

The Sport Van gets its name from its racy looks (based on the Fiesta ST Line passenger car) and uprated suspension, and has the following standard equipment highlights (in addition to or replacement of those fitted to the regular Fiesta Van):

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Halogen projector headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • Sport body kit – front and rear bumpers, side skirts, bespoke foglight surrounds and chrome exhaust extension
  • Sport suspension
  • Sport seats
  • Sport pedals
  • Aluminium gearknob with leather gaiter
  • Flat-bottomed, leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Quickclear heated windscreen
  • Ford Sync infotainment system with 8.0-inch touchscreen and sat-nav
  • Keyless start
  • Dark headlining
  • Alarm system with power deadlocks
  • ‘Premium’ floor mats

Details of safety equipment can be found in the Safety and Security section below.

Ford Fiesta Van optional extra highlights

While DAB is standard on all models and the Sport Van gets sat-nav as part of the price, you still have to pay extra for an infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Ditto the FordPass Connect on-board Wi-Fi and connectivity package.

Ford Fiesta Van - front and rear view, blue

Quickclear heated windscreen and air-conditioning are available as an extra on the basic model, while both versions can be upgraded to full electronic climate control if desired.

You can also have heated seats – and a heated steering wheel.

Parking sensors are optional on all models, with a reversing camera also available.

You can even add 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels.

Ford Fiesta Van mpg

Ford lists the following claimed fuel economy for the Fiesta Van:

  • Fiesta Van 1.1-litre Ti-VCT 85hp petrol: 55.4mpg
  • Fiesta Van 1.5-litre TDCi 85hp diesel: 74.3mpg
  • Fiesta Sport Van 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125hp petrol: 56.5-58.9mpg (depending on wheel size)
  • Fiesta Sport Van 1.5-litre TDCi 120hp diesel: 64.2-67.3mpg (depending on wheel size)

As you can see, the entry-level diesel is the one to go for if maximum fuel efficiency is your major concern.

However, all versions have stop-start technology fitted as standard, and the petrols may prove more competitively economical if you mostly do short journeys around town (diesel doesn’t like short trips as a rule).

Ford Fiesta Van warranty and service interval information

All Fiesta Vans come with a three-year / 60,000-mile warranty.

Service intervals for petrol models are every 18,000 miles or two years (whichever is sooner).

Servicing intervals for diesel models are every 10,000 miles or one year (whichever is sooner).

>> Get a Ford Fiesta Van insurance quote via mustard.co.uk

Ford Fiesta reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

It’s a little too early to make a judgement on the Fiesta Van’s reliability at the time of writing – the car it’s based on was only launched in 2017, and gladly this is yet to show any serious reliability concerns.

Still, being based on the UK’s bestselling car means major issues are likely to come to light quickly, given the sheer number of vehicles sold.

Should the worst happen, getting it fixed shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as Ford has the largest dealer network of any carmaker in the UK.

Ford Fiesta safety & security

4.3 out of 5 4.3

Standard safety kit on the Ford Fiesta Van is pretty good, but it’s the options list that really impresses.

Ford Fiesta Van standard safety equipment

All Fiesta Vans get the following safety kit as standard:

  • Full steel bulkhead (steel mesh upper, full steel lower)
  • Automatic lights
  • Front foglights with cornering function
  • Driver and passenger airbags
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Hill-start assist
  • Electronic stability control
  • EasyFuel capless refuelling system

The Fiesta Sport Van also includes:

Does the heated windscreen count as safety equipment? Absolutely, it’s mega in cold weather as a much more efficient way of clearing the screen and ensuring good visibility as quickly as possible. It even includes heated washer jets (and can be added as an option to the basic model).

The passenger airbag can be disabled if you need to carry a child seat. But note that there are no Isofix mountings, so you’ll have to rely on the seatbelt.

Ford Fiesta Van optional safety equipment

The Fiesta Van’s safety chops can be upgraded with a wide selection of optional kit, ranging from parking sensors and reversing cameras to active safety aids including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and driver tiredness monitor.

If you’re in the mood to spend extra money, by all means go for the AEB – which Ford calls Pre-Collision Assistance – which is particularly good for avoiding low-speed bumps in traffic. But also consider the blind spot monitors and LED headlights.

A Driver Assistance Pack is available that groups together a number of safety extras into a better value package.

Extra airbags are also offered, along with a selection of mechanical speed limiters (which should also help to save fuel).

Ford Fiesta Van security

Only the Fiesta Sport Van gets an alarm and power deadlocks as standard; security on the standard version is limited to regular remote central locking.

However, since April 2019, any Fiesta Van with keyless entry and start comes with enhanced security that puts the key fob to sleep to prevent so-called 'relay box' thefts that would otherwise allow criminals to access and even start the van remotely.

Ford also offers a range of lock upgrades under is Trade Vehicle Locks (TVL) scheme, but only at extra cost.

As ever, we’d recommend you avoid leaving anything in the van that you can’t afford to lose, if at all possible. Especially since the Fiesta comes with a glass rear window and no option of a full steal tailgate to hide the contents of the load area from prying eyes.

Which Ford Fiesta is best for me?

The Fiesta Van fulfils a very particular set of requirements.

Prioritising compact dimensions and driver comfort over maximum carrying capacity for the cost (there are proper vans available priced around the same, or even less), it will suit businesses that need to shift small loads in style or provide a diminutive but high quality work vehicle for engineers who don’t need to carry lots of heavy equipment with them.

Which is the most popular Ford Fiesta Van trim level?

The basic Fiesta Van will do the job perfectly well. But the added kit included on the Sport Van variants (pictured) certainly ups the luxury, while the sharper looks are likely to put even more eyes on any company details displayed on the vehicle’s exterior.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - most popular trim level

Given this, it’s perhaps not a surprise that the basic Fiesta Van is only projected to account for 5% of all sales.

If you’re a sole trader looking for a small van, perhaps as your only mode of transport, the Fiesta Sport Van also has a cool factor few other commercial vehicles can match.

Which is the most popular Ford Fiesta Van engine?

No less than 85% of Fiesta Van sales are expected to be diesel. And since 95% of all Fiesta Van sales are set to be of the Sport model, the most popular engine choice overall is the 120hp 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel.

This engine makes a lot of sense. With 100Nm more torque than even the 125hp turbo petrol also available in the Fiesta Sport Van, the diesel will makes lighter work of its payload and returns better fuel economy in the process.

Which Ford Fiesta Van has the highest payload?

The lower standard specification of the basic Fiesta Van models allows them to carry greater payload – though there’s not much in it.

For full details, see our dedicated Ford Fiesta Van dimensions page, which includes all the info you need on load capacity and payload.

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