Ford Fiesta Van review (2020)

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
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Summary

The Ford Fiesta Van is a car-derived van based on the UK’s bestselling car – the Ford Fiesta. From August 2020 it will only be available with petrol engines, which makes an already niche model even more unusual. The same update introduces new mild hybrid technology, however.

Since this Fiesta Van 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. This follows the end of Vauxhall Corsavan production earlier in 2018.

What is the Ford Fiesta Van?

You’ve probably already gathered this is a van with a particular and limited appeal. Especially when a ‘proper’ compact van, such as Ford’s very own Transit Courier, has an entry-level list price that’s thousands of pounds less, a more powerful 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 largely drives like one and comes very well equipped. 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, and a choice of two engines.

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, keyless start and an alarm

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

New Ford Fiesta Van EcoBoost Hybrid for 2020

From August 2020, the Fiesta Van's top 125hp turbo petrol engine will be available to buy with mild hybrid electric vehicle (mHEV) technology. This is similar to a system already available on the larger Transit and Transit Custom, and replaces the original alternator with something called a belt-driven integrated starter generator.

Combined with an additional battery pack, this new tech is designed to save fuel - switching the engine off much earlier than with a conventional stop-start system, it also recovers more energy that would otherwise be lost under braking and can assist the engine to improve low-speed response and fuel economy.

We'll update this review with more info on the Ford Fiesta Van EcoBoost Hybrid as soon as we've had the chance to drive it. The new model's introduction coincides with the end of production of the diesel Fiesta Van.

From June 2020, Ford also announced that the FordPass Connect 4G Wi-Fi modem would come as standard on all new Fiesta Vans, enabling Over-The-Air software updates and a wide range of vehicle connectivity via the FordPass Pro smartphone app.

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 front 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 it 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.

Keep reading for our full Ford Fiesta Van review, or click the links below to jump straight to the section that most interests you.


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 cosseting version of the lot.

Standard Ford Fiesta Van engines

In the basic Fiesta Van you initially got a choice between a 1.1-litre Ti-VCT non-turbo petrol and a 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel; the petrol model was later replaced by a more powerful 1.0-litre turbo on which we have more info below.

Both original engines produce 85hp, but the diesel’s considerably greater torque (215Nm versus 110Nm) and better 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.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the 1.1-litre petrol has subsequently been replaced by a 95hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol with a much punchier 170Nm of torque.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van engines

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

However, Ford dropped the 120hp diesel from the Sport Van line-up in November 2019, replacing it with the same diesel as the regular version. Apparently buyers are more interested in show than go, and prefer the reduced costs of the less powerful engine.

This is a shame, because although the 120hp diesel cost £1,000 more than the 125hp petrol at launch, it compensated with 100Nm of extra torque (270Nm versus 170Nm) and many 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.

We've not yet been able to drive the 125hp EcoBoost petrol Sport Van, but its turbocharged 1.0-litre engine should prove feisty. We expect to be able to drive one soon, however, as from August 2020 Ford will no longer offer a diesel engine in the Fiesta Van at all.

Those looking for maximum fuel economy will then have to consider the new EcoBoost Hybrid model, which joins the range then using mHEV technology.

>> Ford Fiesta Van EcoBoost Hybrid full details

How quiet is the Ford Fiesta Sport Van inside?

Driving the Fiesta Sport Van diesel, we were particularly struck by how quiet the 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 a 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. At launch this was only standard on the Sport Van, but an update has seen this added to all models, in place of the previous 4.2-inch screen basic Fiesta Vans were initially fitted with.

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 Ford Sync includes DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav and USB connectivity.

Ford Fiesta Sport Van review - Ford Sync touchscreen

On top of this, Ford Sync includes 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.

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.

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 (at time of writing in January 2020):

  • Steel bulkhead with steel mesh upper portion
  • Load floor liner
  • 16-inch steel wheels (previously 15-inch steel wheels)
  • Ford Sync with 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio. Bluetooth, USB connection, sat-nav and FordPass Connect (previously a basic 4.2-inch screen without sat-nav and FordPass)
  • 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
  • Manual air-conditioning (not at launch)

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
  • Quickclear heated windscreen
  • 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

You still have to pay extra for an infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

FordPass Connect on-board Wi-Fi and connectivity package was originally a cost-extra, too. But now comes as standard equipment as part of Ford Sync.

Ford Fiesta Van - front and rear view, blue

Quickclear heated windscreen is available as an extra on the basic model (which also didn't get air-conditioning when first launched, but all models are fitted with that now, 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:

  • 1.1-litre Ti-VCT 85hp petrol: 55.4mpg
  • 1.5-litre TDCi 85hp diesel: 72.4-74.3mpg (depending on wheel size)
  • 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125hp petrol: 56.5-58.9mpg (depending on wheel size)
  • 1.5-litre TDCi 120hp diesel: 64.2-67.3mpg (depending on wheel size)

We're still waiting for data on the 95hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost that has replaced the 1.1-litre engine.

Regardless, as you can see, the 85hp 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

The Fiesta Van is based on the same technology and engineering as the Fiesta car, and we're pleased to report that this always does very well in industry reliability surveys. Something that's all the more remarkable, given the huge numbers of Fiestas sold.

So while it is likely that the van version will be used a little less sympathetically than the car, we're confident that a Fiesta Van is likely to prove a reliable purchase.

There have, however, been a few reports of gearbox issues for the car, and this model of Fiesta has also faced official recalls surrounding brake components and the steering column. Both perhaps worth keeping in mind if shopping for a used example of the van in particular.

Over-The-Air software updates

Fiesta Vans fitted with FordPass Connect can have their software updated without requiring a visit to the dealer. This means your van should always be fully up-to-date, and may even enable some fault fixing without a visit to a service centre, reducing unnecessary downtime.

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 its Trade Vehicle Locks (TVL) scheme, but only at extra cost.

From late 2020, a new FordPass Pro Guard Mode will also be available free of charge to enhance the security of vans fitted with FordPass Connect. When activated, this will alert you of theft attempts even if carried out using a stolen key - or via a relay box. Such break-ins would fool a conventional alarm system.

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 steel 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?

The vast majority of Fiesta Vans are sold with a diesel engine. The combination of greater economy and extra torque simply makes more sense in a van.

That said, petrol is particularly suited to short journeys, and should offer greater refinement, too.

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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