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Ford soon to highlight local 'Vision'

Face of the future: The updated Fiesta range will feature Ford's 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine when it arrives in local showrooms in September this year.

Revised Fiesta range detailed as Ford gears up for major local event in August


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2 Jul 2013

FORD Australia is preparing to stage a 'Vision for Australia' event in Sydney next month, that is expected to showcase key new imported and potentially locally designed and engineered models.

The Ford Motor Company's executive vice-president of global marketing, sales and service (and the Lincoln brand), Jim Farley, will host the event, and although Ford Australia is keeping details of the new models under wraps, new models soon to reach Australia include the facelifted Fiesta range - including the hot 134kW ST turbo, here in September - and the Indian-built EcoSport mini-SUV.

As GoAuto has reported, an all-new Australian-engineered SUV based on the T6 Ranger is also nearing production and could make its world debut at the August 13 event, while Ford Australia has previously confirmed that the forthcoming reskinned Falcon large car was scheduled to be shown this year ahead of its launch in the third quarter of 2014.

A similarly upgraded Australian-built Territory SUV and Falcon ute are due at the same time, following on the heels of other imported models including a redesigned Mondeo mid-size range and a new Transit van.

Ford Australia this week released preliminary details for its updated Fiesta light-car, which will be headlined by the ST hot-hatch when it arrives in September.

The facelift will also spell the end of the diesel powertrain option, which is to be axed in favour of the frugal new 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine from December.

The ST will be the second performance model to join Ford's local small- and light-car car line-up, alongside its larger 184kW Focus ST sibling launched locally last October.

Australian-spec Fiesta STs will be a three-door-only proposition as it is sourced from Europe, rather than North America where it is built in five-door guise.

The Fiesta ST is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine producing 132kW and 240Nm of torque (growing to 147kW and 290Nm with the overboost function engaged) which like the Focus ST is matched exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox.

When the new model arrives, Ford Australia will discontinue the Fiesta Metal warm-hatch that went on sale in September last year, making way for the more powerful ST to top the range.

The updated Fiesta gets a refreshed front-end design featuring the now-familiar Aston Martin-esque trapezoidal grille that also appears on the upcoming Mondeo/Fusion mid-sizer and is likely to show up on the facelifted Focus range due sometime next year.

A redesigned bonnet and updated headlights add to the changes at the front end, while at the rear the Fiesta gains a spoiler and more detail in the tail lights.

Bringing the Fiesta even further into line with the Focus, Ford will offer as standard its hands-free Sync connectivity system that includes voice-activated access to mobile phones and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

The current engine line-up will be replaced by a pair of new engines, with Ford confirming it has dropped the 66kW 1.6-litre Duratorq diesel currently available on mid and top-spec models due to slow sales.

Ford recorded strong early sales of diesel variants, with diesels making up 11 per cent of overall Fiesta sales in 2011, but these have dropped off to just three per cent this year.

The loss of the diesel makes room for Ford's award-winning 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine that is found under the bonnet of a number of Ford models in international markets, and has taken out top gong at the International Engine of the Year awards for the past two years.

The EcoBoost produces 92kW of power at 6000rpm and 170Nm of torque at 1400-4500rpm, while fuel economy is a diesel-like 4.9-litres per 100 kilometres for the five-speed manual and 5.3L/100km with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

While the EcoBoost won't be available in Australia until December, Ford is offering a 1.5-litre four-cylinder Duratec unit from the September range launch, delivering 82kW of power at 6300rpm and 140Nm of torque at 4400rpm and mated to the same five-speed manual and six-speed dual clutch transmission as EcoBoost models.

The 1.5-litre unit is slightly down on power compared to the outgoing 1.6-litre petrol (88kW), but fuel economy has also dropped from 6.1/L100km to 5.8L/100km in manual or auto guise.

Ford says it has improved the ride of the Fiesta by including new front suspension bump-stops for better cushioning, changes to shock absorber specifications and retuned electric power steering to match the suspension upgrades.

Ford is yet to confirm a standard features list but said the Fiesta will be available with optional rear parking sensors and hill-start assist as well as the usual array of safety gear that includes drivers knee, front passenger, side and curtain airbags.

The Blue Oval is yet to confirm specifications, but the upgraded Fiesta may drop the current variant names (CL, LX and Zetec) in favour of those of its larger Focus sibling (entry-level Ambiente, mid-spec Trend and range-topping Titanium).

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