At the Birmingham CV show in the U.K., Ford announced that it’s stepping back into the “urban hatchback van market”—a segment that very much does not exist in the U.S.—with the new Fiesta Van.
It’s hard for us yanks to even think of this Fiesta as a real van—after all, it’s just a hatchback with the rear windows blocked off. But as my coworker Jason has pointed out, such van-ified hatchbacks aren’t a new thing for Europe, and they do count as vans. “I’d say a van, subcategory cargo van,” he told me via instant message, “is any vehicle with an enclosed boxy rear section that’s designed to hold cargo.”
And this new Fiesta fits into that category, with Ford describing its cargo-oriented area in the back, saying:
Inside the three-door body, there is a practical load compartment capable of carrying approximately 1.0 cubic metre of cargo with a load length of almost 1.3 metres, and gross payload of around 500 kg. The load space features a composite and mesh full bulkhead, durable sidewall trim, and a tough rubber floor covering with four tie-down hooks.
Over 1.3 meters of length means a human could theoretically live in this thing, and 500 kg of payload means they could also carry quite a large supply of food. That kind of human live-ability definitely puts this little hatchback squarely into the “van” category in my mind.
Ford says in its press release that the Fiesta gets van-ish features including “hard-wearing materials” and a speed-limiter, as well as a modem for connectivity, which I guess could be useful for a business.
The brand also mentions that the van can be had with a bunch of driver-assistance safety tech, but the exciting news is that it comes as a “Sport model.” Sure, with engine options ranging from a 85 horsepower 1.1-liter three-cylinder to an 85 horsepower 1.5-liter diesel to a 125 horsepower 1.0-liter turbo, none of these are really going to be that sporty.
But with unique front and rear designs, painted rocker panels, big 18-inch wheels and unique sporty seats, it’s at least a little different. And honestly, this could actually be a fun little van with a 125 horsepower turbo engine; even if it isn’t, just the idea of a sporty van-ified Ford Fiesta is so weird that I kind of love it.