Geneva motor show 2008 - Ford Fiesta

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There were fears that the new Ford Fiesta would wear conservative styling and rest on the laurels of 12 million sales since it first arrived in 1976.

The good news, however, is the design of the sixth-generation Fiesta is based closely on the Verve concept, which Ford created as a foretaster of the Fiesta.

It's certainly striking. Ford also promises that it will be an engaging car to drive. Its driver credentials will be boosted by tweaks such as electric power steering, which varies the steering’s weight to suit the speed of the car.

There are four petrol engines, with power outputs ranging from 59bhp to 113bhp. Diesel buyers can choose between a 67bhp 1.4-litre engine or an 88bhp 1.6.

Later this year, there will be an Econetic version of the car, with carbon dioxide emissions of less than 100g/km.

All Fiestas will be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, although a four-speed automatic will be available on selected models.

It will be available in three- and five-door body styles.

Styling details inside include the centre instrument stack, which takes its inspiration from the layout of a mobile phone keypad. Ford says this makes the Fiesta's controls more intuitive to use.

Optional equipment includes keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity and Ford's Convers+ system, which allows the driver to control the car's music and satellite-navigation functions using a control on the steering wheel.

Although there has been no official confirmation, prices are expected to begin at about £8500 when the car goes on sale this autumn.

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