In-depth reviews

Ford Fiesta Van review

Ford's smallest van is based on the Fiesta supermini, and it adds some sporty style to the sector

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Great handling
  • Excellent economy
  • Sporty looks
  • Small mirrors
  • Parking sensors optional
  • Small payload

Ford has a comprehensive range of vans for sale - far more than most van manufacturers - and the smallest models are the Fiesta Van and Fiesta Sport Van. As you can tell from the names, they're based on the Ford Fiesta supermini, while the Sport model gets a racy look to boost its appeal. Like the rest of the Fiesta range, the Fiesta Van is about to be facelifted with slight updates to the front end and interior technology.

There aren't many rivals to the Fiesta Van these days. In fact, supermini-based models like the Vauxhall Corsavan and Fiat Punto Van have been discontinued, while little vans like the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper are no longer built, either. In many ways, the Fiesta Sport Van is now in a class of one, but is ideal for users that need a van that looks sporty and only require a modest payload, yet is easy to drive. Its closest rival may well be an SUV-based van like the Dacia Duster Commercial, especially as prices are similar.

And the Fiesta Van has plenty going for it. Go for the Sport Van and you get a look inspired by the sporty Fiesta ST, so there's a racy bodykit, black honeycomb grille and a range of alloy wheel options from 16 to 18 inches. This gives the Fiesta Sport Van an upmarket look, with the only external clue that it's a commercial vehicle being the body coloured side 'windows'.

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Inside, the Fiesta Van ditches the rear seats, seatbelts and parcel shelf and replaces them with a flat load floor liner that stretches forward to a part-mesh steel bulkhead located just behind the cab.

Again, if it wasn't for the bulkhead, you'd think you were simply driving a Fiesta supermini. The Sport Van version adds supportive sports seats with red stitching, a leather trimmed steering wheel, aluminium gearlever and brushed metal pedals, while most of the supermini's options are available to upgrade the Fiesta Van. The options are well priced, but add too many and you’ll have a rather expensive, rather tiny van.

In the back, the Fiesta Van has a load volume of 0.96 cubic metres, making it one of the smallest vans on sale, and it has a maximum payload of 511kg. The flat load floor features four lashing eyes and measures 1,281mm by 1,283mm, although what you can load on board will be limited by what you can fit through the hatchback rear - after all, there are no sliding side doors, like you'll find on a Ford Transit Courier, the next largest van in Ford's range.

The standard Fiesta Van has 16-inch wheels with plastic trims, an eight-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and DAB radio, automatic LED headlights and air conditioning.

Standard equipment on the Sport Van includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, Ford's excellent Quickclear windscreen, sports suspension, auto lights and wipers, electric mirrors, air-con and keyless starting. On top of that buyers can add bigger 18-inch wheels, sat-nav, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise and traffic sign recognition, plus a range of funky colours.

Ford used to fit its 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine to the Fiesta Van but, as of mid-2021, it’s petrol-powered only. The standard Fiesta Van comes with a 94bhp version of Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, or you can upgrade to a mild-hybrid 123bhp version that’s popular with Fiesta car buyers. This engine is also offered on the Sport Van, but the standard engine is a 123bhp version without the added electrification.

Both versions are front-wheel drive and all have a six-speed manual gearbox - there's no Powershift auto offered.

Prices start from around £15,200 (ex VAT) for the Fiesta Van, while the Sport Van carries a premium of around £1,500 on top of that. Buyers after a compact van that has sporty appeal and sharp looks won't be disappointed by the Fiesta Sport Van, especially as it has the handling ability of the Fiesta supermini locked in place.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

The Fiesta Van no longer comes with the old 1.1 Ti-VCT petrol or 1.5 TDCi diesel engines. That the diesel isn’t available any more means fuel economy has suffered slightly, but the EcoBoost petrol engines all manage around 55mpg, which is far from disastrous. We’re not sure it’s worth upgrading to the mild-hybrid version of the engine, given it’s no more economical than the standard engine - unless a small ‘hybrid’ badge on the boot lid is of particular importance.

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Emissions range from 99 to 102g/km, although because commercial vehicle tax is fixed at £250 per year, these numbers are largely irrelevant, and it means the Fiesta Van has high tax rates for a vehicle of its size.

All Fiesta Vans come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, plus 12 months roadside assistance, a one-year paint warranty and 12-year perforation warranty against rust as a result of a manufacturing fault.

Load Space and Practicality

As it's based on the Fiesta supermini (far from the biggest car in its class), it's no surprise to learn that the Fiesta Van isn't the most spacious commercial vehicle. A payload volume of 0.96 cubic metres is pretty small - in comparison the three-door Fiesta supermini has more than a cubic metre of space, mainly because it doesn't feature the Fiesta Van's steel bulkhead, and it also has extra under-floor storage.

Access to the load area is via the standard Fiesta tailgate. This opens 948mm wide and 613mm high, so loading items is pretty easy, while the lined load floor measures 1,283mm long by 1,281mm wide. There's a maximum load height of 923mm to the roof, too.

There are four lashing eyes in the load area, two set into the corners of the load floor and two at the back next to the tailgate. There's a modest load lip to contend with, but it's not so high as to make loading heavy items a pain. The bulkhead dividing the load area from the cab is made from steel, and is mesh above the window line, so the rear-view mirror serves its purpose, even if the view is obstructed. However, there's no handy through-loading options, either below the belt line or via the mesh section so it will be hard to get longer items inside.

Payloads are on the light side, so the Fiesta Van is best considered as a lightweight courier delivery vehicle designed to be used around town. The maximum payload is offered in the diesel-powered Fiesta Van, which can carry up to 530kg. The petrol Fiesta Van can carry 528kg, while the Fiesta Sport Van variants carry 511kg (diesel) or 508kg (petrol).

Ford offers a tow bar option, with maximum towing weights of 900kg for the Fiesta Van and 1,100kg for the Fiesta Sport Van. In addition, Ford offers speed limiters for commercial use, while rear parking sensors are also an option which we'd thoroughly recommend, because the standard mirrors are on the small side, and the rear window doesn't offer the best view out, either.

Reliability and Safety

It's based on the supermini, so the Fiesta Van shares the same five-star Euro NCAP score. This includes an 87 per cent score for adult occupant protection, and there are driver and passenger airbags included as standard, while seat airbags are an option at around £300.

Go for a Fiesta Van, and you get front disc and rear drum brakes, but the Fiesta Sport Van has discs all round. It also comes with 17-inch alloys with wider tyres, while adding optional 18-inch wheels boosts grip even further.

Electronic stability control is standard, and so is traction control, while Ford's MyKey allows you to set up the van for different users with speed limiters and a lock on radio functions available. The Fiesta Sport Van version also gets Ford's excellent Quickclear windscreen as standard.

Ford offers a range of driver assistance features. One essential we'd recommend adding is rear parking sensors (around £200), because rear visibility isn't brilliant. Ford also offers a rear camera, park assist for hands-free parallel and bay parking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist and blind spot detection. These are available individually or in a set of Driver Assistance Packs that offer better value for money.

Driving and Performance

There's no doubt that the Ford Fiesta Van, and the Fiesta Sport Van in particular, is the best-handling van you can buy. That's entirely down to the fact it's essentially a Ford Fiesta with the back seats removed, so all of that car's entertaining driving dynamics are carried over wholesale to the van.

The Fiesta Sport Van adds lowered sports suspension to improve its handling even further, and when you upgrade to 18-inch alloy wheels, there's lots of grip on offer. Fast steering means the Fiesta turns in quickly and securely, and it's a very spirited machine to hustle along a twisty road when you don't have any cargo on board to worry about. Sports seats hold you in place well, too, while the low-set driving position gives you a feeling of sportiness.

The downside to this sporty handling is a ride that's on the firm side. The dampers do a good job of soaking up bumps, but a stiff chassis set-up means the Fiesta Sport Van tends to follow undulations in the road, rather than smoothing things out.

Cab and Interior

With its racy looks inside and out, the Fiesta Sport Van is a step ahead of most other small commercial vehicles available. The dashboard layout is identical to higher spec Fiesta hatchbacks, with clear dials and a straightforward layout that's boosted by the prominent eight-inch touchscreen display in the centre of the dash. Add in the leather trimmed sports steering wheel and stubby aluminium gearlever, and this doesn't feel like a conventional van from behind the wheel.

The only giveaway is the steel bulkhead with its mesh upper section, which lets you see out of the back window. The bulkhead is set far enough back that you can fully adjust the seat to your driving position with out it getting in the way. Build quality inside is good, although some van users might feel they need a more utilitarian cabin that they won't be afraid to get filthy.

The only real quibble with the Fiesta Sport Van's interior is rearward visibility. The small wing mirrors, narrow back window and mesh partition combine to make the view out the back a little restricted.

Van dimensions

 

 

Length

 

Width

 

Height

 

Exterior

4,065mm1,941mm1,466mm

 

Load area

1,283mm1,281mm923mm

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