The new, seventh-generation Ford Fiesta hatch – revealed as long ago as November 2016 – has finally arrived in South Africa, with the local range comprising five five-door derivatives at launch.

Two specification levels are offered: the familiar mid-spec Trend and the range-topping Titanium (no confirmation yet on whether entry-level Ambiente variants are also in the pipeline). The range kicks off with the 1,0 EcoBoost Trend in manual at R261 900 and runs through to the 1,0 EcoBoost Titanium in automatic at R310 600 (for the sake of comparison, the outgoing line-up started at R233 500 and ended at R290 100, if you exclude the ST).

Four of the five variants in the range at launch are powered by Ford’s 1,0-litre turbo-triple, although as before two versions of this petrol powerplant are offered. In the Trend model with its new six-speed manual gearbox, as well as the Trend and Titanium equipped with the six-speed torque converter automatic, the three-cylinder sends 74 kW and 170 N.m to the front wheels.

The Titanium version with the six-speed manual ‘box, meanwhile, uses the 92 kW version of this unit (peak torque is unchanged at 170 N.m). In addition, Ford offers an updated 1,5-litre TDCi, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox, producing 63 kW (up from the 55 kW offered in the previous-generation diesel) and 175 N.m (down from that old oil-burner's 185 N.m).

The 1,4-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that served as the entry-level unit in the previous generation falls away, while the high-performance ST model is expected to join the range at a later date. It remains to be seen whether Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa will bring in the crossover-styled Active model.

Ford says the new Fiesta hatch features a “more spacious and premium” cabin thanks to improved ergonomics and increased use of soft-touch materials. The number of buttons on the centre console has been cut by almost 50 percent, with many controls relocated to the Trend’s 6,5-inch touchscreen and the Titanium’s eight-inch version (both incorporating Sync3, the latter with navigation, and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

In terms of safety, all models in the range employ six airbags, ABS (with EBA and EBD), hill launch assist and electronic stability/traction control. A four-year/120 000 km warranty and four-year/60 000 km service plan (with intervals of 15 000 km) come standard.

Pricing:
Ford Fiesta 1,0 EcoBoost Trend: R261 900
Ford Fiesta 1,0 EcoBoost Trend AT: R277 300
Ford Fiesta 1,5 TDCi Trend: R292 500
Ford Fiesta 1,0 EcoBoost Titanium: R295 900
Ford Fiesta 1,0 EcoBoost Titanium AT: R310 600
Ford Fiesta hatch