The Ford Fiesta Van has finally overhauled its arch rival, the Vauxhall Corsavan, to capture the What Van? Small Van of the Year Award for 2014.
Having finished runner-up for the past two years, a mid-life facelift to the little Ford van has elevated it to top spot this time around.
Even before launching the refreshed Fiesta Van at the start of 2013, Ford had broken new ground in terms of fuel efficiency by reducing the Econetic version’s official consumption to just 85.6mpg with CO2 emissions slashed to 87g/km.
The manufacturer brought about the improvements through a series of updates, which were joined by the significant progression of fitting stop-start to the Fiesta for the first time. Other changes include: revised gear ratios; improved efficiency of the air-conditioning, cooling fan and alternator; friction and combustion upgrades to the 95hp 1.6-litre diesel engine; and smart regenerative charging, which captures energy generated under braking and uses it to keep the battery topped up. The Econetic also features lowered suspension, an aerodynamic rear under-tray and wheel trims, and low rolling-resistance tyres.
With its class-leading economy, the Fiesta Van Econetic variant is in its element when operating in urban environments, but, like the rest of the line-up, its ride and handling are excellent under any driving conditions. The cabin, meanwhile, is stylish, well laid out and provides plenty of leg room.
All the diesel engines in the Fiesta range now achieve sub-100g/km CO2 output and fuel economy of 76.4mpg or better.
A new addition to the line-up with the facelift is the 75hp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel, and also on offer is the 82hp 1.25-litre petrol unit.
The Fiesta Van’s 1.0m3 cargo space is fitted with a steel bulkhead and four tie-down hooks to secure loads. The interior of the load bay is protected by a rubber floor mat and sidewall trimming. The load length is 1296mm and payloads range from 485kg to 508kg.
Ford has raised the bar in the segment by introducing technologies to the Fiesta Van such as its Sync connectivity system with emergency assistance, Active City Stop to help prevent low-speed collisions, and Mykey, which allows operators to set speed limiters and stereo volume maximums.
The re-styled Fiesta Van now has a bolder front end than the previous incarnation, and options including hill start assist, Easy Fuel, which prevents the driver accidently putting the wrong fuel in, and a rear-view camera. Design tweaks include the introduction of laser-cut headlamps with LED technology and 17-inch alloy wheels.
With its versatility and exceptionally low running costs, the Fiesta Van is now an even better package than before and is well- suited to the requirements of both local traders and large urban delivery fleets.
The baby of Ford’s LCV line-up is now more appealing than ever.
The only small van that could stake a claim to outdo the Fiesta Van for drivability is the Mini Clubvan, which is our Highly Commended choice in its maiden year on the market. The Clubvan has added a dash of glamour and prestige to the sector and brings hitherto unseen levels of equipment, performance and class to light commercial vehicles.