These included a turned down hood, narrow air vents, rounded edges and new headlight shape. Not only did these elements give Fiesta a family resemblance with its bigger sibling, but it also improved aerodynamics. The drag coefficient was reduced from 0.42 Cd to 0.40 Cd and, with it, wind noise and fuel consumption. This feature was also supported by a longer fifth gear. Comfort levels were raised. The interior was reworked from the ground up, giving it leading compact class features.
Following the latest developments in ergonomics, the interior was divided into zones according to function and equipped with an optimised heating and ventilation system. Even the “L” version included, as standard, large door pockets and a split-folding rear seat for flexible daily usage. Higher series models such as the Ghia and sporty XR2 added finesse with additional air vents and higher quality upholstery. The latest incarnation of the XR2 also stood out from the crowd with a neat body pack and rear tailgate spoiler.
Further advances in economy came with an extension of the powertrain range. Ford’s engine specialists strengthened Fiesta’s running cost proposition with a new 54 PS, 1.6-litre diesel engine, making it the only vehicle of its size to offer diesel. Its homologated consumption of 3.8 litres/100 km at a constant 90 km/h made it one of the most economical vehicles in the world, a claim upheld by media comparison tests shortly after launch.
By 1984, the first models with 1.3-litre lead-free petrol engines became available. Continuously Variable Transmission was another Ford patented technology, developed for front-wheel-driven compact vehicles and first seen in the Fiesta. Such ‘stepless’ automatic transmission was achieved thanks to a special belt working between two axles to change ratio. An automatic system kept the gears and engine operating at optimum levels.
The resulting system combined the advantages of both manual and automatic transmissions. Its performance was compared at the time to an optimised six-speed manual. This referred to both power and consumption and meant performance well beyond usual automatic capabilities. Beyond its economic advantages, the new CTX transmission also offered previously unknown levels of driving comfort.