By on April 25, 2018

We’re always surprised with what counts as a van in Europe. For example, Ford just showcased a new one based on the Fiesta at the Birmingham Commercial Vehicle Show — and it’s kind of wonderful. However, we’re unlikely to see it on our roads. A vehicle like this makes almost no sense for the North American market.

In fact, I can only think of a handful of applications for such an automobile: high-volume pizza delivery, flower delivery, amateur plumber, organ transport, and pet grooming for a business that only takes modestly sized animals. But they would all have to take place in an extremely-dense urban environment to rationalize the use of such a small vehicle. Otherwise, business owners are going to splurge on a proper small van like the Transit Connect. 

Ford says the load compartment is capable of housing roughly 35.3 cubic feet of cargo with a load length of almost 4.3 feet. Gross payload is around 1102 pounds. The isolated cargo space utilizes a “composite and mesh full bulkhead, durable sidewall trim, and a tough rubber floor covering with four tie-down hooks.”

It’s all very practical and has been designed to be especially durable, and tailored especially to businesses with the inclusion of a speed limiter and a bunch of connectivity features (FordPass Connect, Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation with live updates). There are also driving aides to help keep employees from adding scratches or dents — parking assist, cross traffic alert, and traffic sign recognition comes standard.

That hasn’t suppressed twisted fantasies where the vehicle is imported into North America for non-business applications. Ford said the durable Fiesta van comes in a sport model, donning 18-inch wheels, sporty seats, plus a unique steering wheel, pedals, gear lever, and exterior details. Remember when everyone was taking basic Honda CRX HFs for next to nothing, stripping them down, and turning them into goofy FWD mischief makers? The Fiesta panel van could be that kind of car, and Ford has already done half the work for you.

Still, it doesn’t come with the most desirable of powertrains. Options include an 85 horsepower 1.1-liter three-banger, a 125 horsepower 1.0-liter turbo, and 1.5-liter diesel making 85 hp that you definitely wouldn’t want for hooliganism. But, in this daydream, you’d be waiting to purchase something used and swapping in a different engine, anyway. You’d also have to hack out a bunch of that rear cargo area… unless that’s where the new engine is going, a la Ford Supervan.

Okay, this fantasy is getting out of hand. It’s just interesting to see a Fiesta with unique styling in a wholly different design from what we’re used to. Realistically, none of these units will ever see anything other than modest payloads and reasonable speeds a full continent away.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting on Ford to drop the domestic axe on the passenger version of the Fiesta.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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31 Comments on “Ford Presents Endearing Little Fiesta Sports Van...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Looks like a two-door Fiesta with the rear side windows painted body color.

    Didn’t Chevy do something like this a few years back with the HHR?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      They did it 30 years ago with the Vega wagon, and Ford did with the Pinto wagon. As a small advertising and delivery platform they’re almost ideal.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        And before that, there was a Falcon sedan delivery. There’s nothing new about the idea of a car-based light utility vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Exactly right. Go back into the 40s and you’ll find what they called a “panel wagon” or “panel delivery”. By not means is it new and like then it’s still ideal for light duty work.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        The Vega Panel Express was verrrrrry basic, with a front half bench seat (a passenger seat became optional for ’72), *one* sunvisor, etc. The Panel Express was dropped after ’73.

        What this Fiesta needs is a Cruising Wagon version like the Pinto had, with the porthole windows in the sides.

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      yes, FreedMike, it was the HHR Delivery, i thought it was pretty cool looking!

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      Fiesta (and similar) vans have *always* been 3 door variants of the hatchback with the rear side windows panelled in (NOT painted – a glass sided van is no real use)

      Ireland even had van versions of the likes of the 5 door Renault Megane, again the windows of the rear doors panelled in.

      In UK/Ire/EU small tradesmen (painters, plumbers etc.) don’t always need huge massive vans, these are ideal especially for urban jobs.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    We NEED these in the States. They’d serve perfectly as Pizza Delivery and other light-duty delivery purposes.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      They would also be useful for medical labs that pick up blood samples for delivery to central testing sites. That business is currently going to generic sub-compacts. This would probably serve better with some custom shelves/racks in back.

    • 0 avatar

      I see a lot of auto parts stores using Versas or Accents for deliveries, or stripper Rangers and Frontiers with a usually empty bed. This would be perfect for them.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No we don’t NEED those in the US. The only exist in Europe as a tax dodge. By making it a “van” with the panels replacing the widows and the lack of a back seat or rear doors it is taxed at a lower rate as a commercial vehicle. The people who use small cars for delivery use small cars for delivery and having windows and back doors increase visibility and convenience. Lots of auto parts store use Versas as their delivery vehicle. The back seat is usually permanently folded down and some install a barrier screen.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I agree with you Vulpine the US could use these. The problem is the market isn’t big enough to manufacture them in the US because of the socialist protection offered to light commercial vehicles (poulet impot).

      I even believe the elderly could use them as they would be handy to go down to Lowes and buy that bag of mulch and twenty nails, like many use their pickups for.

      It has a payload almost equivalent to a Ram!

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    There MUST be more uses by small self-employed service industry types. A tattooist who makes house calls, mobile toaster repair, watch battery replacement, jewelry etching, ingrown toenail treatment, custom coffee cup monogramming, etc. Ford should bring it over and see how big the market is.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    Something with the form factor of a first generation Scion xB (or VW Caddy, Nissan S-Cargo, etc) would seem to make a lot more sense than a Fiesta “van”.

  • avatar
    manu06

    Rural mail delivery. Just bring them over as is since the steering is RHD.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Ford hasn’t made any cars in Britain since 2002. They’re all made on the Continent and around the world. All they produce in Britain is engines at two locations. Still no doubt Fiesta factories in Cologne Germany or Valencia Spain could send over a Brit spec van with US spec engines for a totally niche market.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Would need at least AWD for the northern half of the country. Don’t know what kind of AWD the Fiesta comes with.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Car like ride and handling and padding the light-truck fleet EPA stats all at the same!

  • avatar
    James2

    This article coming before/after “the Ford Crossover Company” one suggests that Ford can quickly (more or less) respond to any oil/economic crisis that requires Americans to downsize. They will still make Fiestas, Focuses and Fusions/Mondeos, just not for North American consumption.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    A two door Fiesta with the rear side windows filled in so that you have to rely on your mirrors to change lanes. Dumb idea. No sale.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You’ve never driven a van or rental truck? Do you really believe you can see much out of those upswept rear side windows, or the rear window itself, in modern cars? Why are backup cameras so popular?

      Wind tunnel design has made use of side mirrors essential to safe driving of late model cars. You really need to use them instead of twisting your head around for a glimpse of what those rear side windows allow you to see.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    When built on an automobile chassis this body-style is also referred to as being a “Sedan Delivery.” This Fiesta-based model seems to be the spiritual descendant to Ford models built in England, specifically the 1954-62 Ford Thames 103E (based on the Ford Anglia, Escort, Squire and Prefect of the same time) and also the 1963-67 Ford Thames 307E and 309E based on the Anglia). These were followed by Ford Escort panel vans from 1968 through 2004.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      In the UK they are known as car derived vans and are subject to car speed limits rather than commercial vehicle limits.

      But yes there used to be loads, the last Escort vans were built in Halewood while it was ramping up for X type production.

      Every manufacturer used to offer car derived vans – the Astra van especially got a bit of a cult following. Now the Fiesta van is a minority, and a strange one at that given than they offer the similar size Transit Connect (which itself was a replacement for the Fiesta based European Ford Courier), most manufacturers now just offer specially designed vans (cf. the Vauxhall Combo which used to be Corsa based but is now a RAM ProMaster city)

  • avatar
    deanst

    I once filled in a broken quarter window on my Jetta with some sheet metal. Who knew I was on the verge of creating the first Jetta sports van?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    That is a neat little van.

    It would suit many a retiree and young person. Throw your camping gear in the back, put your fishing rods on the roof with a surf board and off you go!

    I hope it has a few 12v outlets in the back so you can take along a car fridge.

    AWD is needs and a little lift and it would be fun on the beach.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    “There are also driving aides to help keep employees…. traffic sign recognition comes standard.”

    Forgive me for being mistaken, but I THOUGHT that trafic sign recognition was a necessary skill requirement to obtain a driving license AND therefore the responsibility of the DRIVER!

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      It is, but it’s also a Ford option that flashes up the roadsign on your dashboard.
      A bit like lane change warning, they reckon it’s for safety.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      “Driving aides”?

      How much do you have to pay them?

      Oh, you mean “driving aids”, do you?

      I don’t usually pick nits with general-public commenters, but someone whose byline appears at the top of an article is generally assumed to be at least simulating a professional writer and is held to a certain minimal standard.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Another market would be musicians who play larger instruments (double bass, tuba, bass saxophone, drums, keyboards). Especially if there are only two front seats and the passenger one can fold down to make a flat floor with the rear floor.

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