Inside Ford Ecosport, Fiesta and Mondeo

  • New Ford Ecosport, Fiesta and Mondeo models
  • First impressions of car's interiors
  • All due on sale in 2013
Ford Fiesta review
Ford Fiesta review
Ford wheeled out a string of new products in Amsterdam, and allowed enough access for early impressions on the cabins of the revised Fiesta, the all-new Mondeo and the new small SUV, the Ecosport.

Inside the 2013 Ford Fiesta
Climb aboard the new Fiesta and you probably won't notice a huge difference. The basic layout remains the same, with only modest revisions to the positioning of some switches (the door-mounted window switches have been moved forwards by 110mm - Ford says this brings better ergonomics).

The materials are broadly the same, too, with the same light grey padded plastic for much of the dashboard top.

The real changes, then, come in technology, with two new systems, called Sync and MyKey, being offered as options. Sync offers voice control for mobile phones, better audio integration (podcasts and Internet radio are supported), an emergency assist calling option that will call for help when required (its subscription is free for the life of the vehicle) and, we presume, the scope for further upgrades and apps. We say 'presume' because we haven't had a chance to test Sync ourselves; it'll be interesting to see how Ford has adapted it to European tastes and accents.

Upgraded interior has re-positioned electric window switches; Ford's MyKey is aimed at improving safety

MyKey allows parents to set maximum speeds linked to one key that's used, presumably, by their children during their formative driving years. A limit of either 25mph or 37mph can be specified, and it's easy to see this being a popular option (with the grown-ups, at least). Other restrictions include a limit on the volume of the stereo, and a total mute for the system until all of the occupants have connected their seatbets.

These are interesting technologies, particularly in a supermini, and they are likely to make a bigger difference to the new Fiesta than the mild tweaks to its interior finishes.

Inside the 2013 Ford Mondeo
Ford showed the greatest reluctance to allow access to the new Mondeo's cabin - a reflection, perhaps, of how early the cars on display were. Even Ford sources admit that the 'quality issues' have pushed this car's on-sale date back to the end of 2013. Still, we managed to sneak inside a Mondeo hybrid and while the finish was undoubtedly 'very early car' the basic layout felt sorted.

Ford Mondeo Estate review
New Ford Mondeo's cabin has plenty of space up-front; more dramatic roofline reduces rear headroom

The front cabin feels slightly more spacious than before, with a compact electronic parking brake switch instead of the old handbrake. The centre storage area between the two seats feels encouragingly large.

The large central screen is well positioned for viewing without taking your eyes far from the road, and as suspected, the Sony stereo and ventilation controls are flush and touch sensitive. We only hope the set-up works better than it does on the Chevrolet Volt - although of course, Ford's Sync will offer voice commands to control much of the infotainment anyway.

The rear cabin has enough legroom for six-footers to sit behind six-footers, although if they are any taller than that then the more dramatic roofline may give them headroom worries.

Inside the new Ford Ecosport

Ford's new baby SUV has been built to a cost for its core market, Brazil, and it shows.

That's not to say it's bad inside, but while the layout (like the mechanicals) is clearly based on the Fiesta, right down to the mobile phone-inspired stereo controls, the plastics and finish are altogether harsher and rougher. It's hard to see how Ford could get away with charging more than a premium of around £2k for the Ecosport over equivalent Fiestas (but it may try).

2013 Ford FiestaThe Ford Ecosport SUV is based on the Fiesta, but it has lower-quality cabin plastics

At the rear, the side-opening tailgate requires a large amount of clearance, so you'd definitely end up having to drive nose first into supermarket parking spaces.

Still, it's a neat mini-SUV that will appeal to anyone after a raised driving position (it has 200mm of ground clearance) and compact dimensions (it's less than four metres long), so it'll be a key rival for cars such as the Nissan Juke, Skoda Yeti and Vauxhall Mokka.

Paris motor show 2012 >>



John.McIlroy@whatcar.com
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