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Illustrated: The Evolution of the Ford Fiesta

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s favourite car, a top seller, and a motoring institution. The Fiesta has been sold over 16 million times worldwide since its 1976 debut, but how much has this popular car changed since then? MoneySuperMarket have delved into the history of the original supermini and illustrated the full evolution of the car from its release to the latest iteration. Some of the previous models on the road to the latest Fiesta include:


A new design piece from MoneySuperMarket shows how the best-selling car in the UK has developed since 1976

The latest model, the Mark VIII (Mark VII outside of the UK) went on sale on 1st July

In terms of number of sales, Britain’s favourite car is the Ford Fiesta. Reliable since 1976, many of its generations have been bestsellers – but how far has it come since it rolled off the factory floor?


<> from MoneySuperMarket has looked at the design and specification and shown how it developed over time to be the classic hatchback we know and love today. The illustration of the models can be seen below:

1976 to Now: A Long Road Each generation introduced something you can’t necessarily see at a glance. Generations of Fiesta have evolved into today’s bestseller – here’s what they contributed:

Mark I: 1976 – Originally developed under the project name “Bobcat�??, it was subject to a lot of speculation by the press prior to release. With a 957 cc Valencia engine, a top speed of 85 mph, 0-60 in 18.5 seconds, and 45 bhp, it might not be a top performer today, but it’s still a classic.

Mark II: 1983 – While changes from the Mark I were relatively minor, the vehicle also featured more space, to incorporate a five-speed transmission, and while the initial launch still used the Valencia engine, it incorporated variable venturi carburettors for improved fuel consumption. This was later dropped entirely in favour of the Ford CVH engine.

Mark III: 1989 – With the engine upgraded to the High Compression Swirl generation of the original Valencia, and the development to a five-door model, the public really caught on – and this was the best-selling Fiesta of the early 1990s, at a sales volume of 1 million units inside the first two years. 

Mark IV: 1995 – Britain’s best-selling car between 1996 and 1998, the Mark IV models had a new styling and instrument panel – and with the base specifications still had an improved 0-62 in 16.4 seconds, as well as a max speed of 96 mph. At the upper end, the 1.4 Zetec got it as low as 0-62 in 10.8 seconds and a max speed of 112 mph.

Mark V: 1999 – The Mark V (that is, the UK Mark V) was more of a facelift to the Mark IV than it was a new generation or an upgrade, but it reduced the mpg from 41 to 39 in the 1.3 Encore 5d, as well as reducing the weight of the car by 17kg. 

Mark VI: 2002 - The Mark VI was the first model to introduce the Anti-lock Braking System and passenger airbags as standard. With an engine anywhere between 1,242–1,998 cc and a best 0-60 acceleration of 7.9 seconds, it quickly became the best-selling Fiesta generation to date.

Mark VII: 2008 – Shown in concept as the Verve, the Mark VII (VI elsewhere) is based on the Ford B-car platform. It won the What Car? “Car of the Year�?? and sold over 940,000 in its first two years. The facelift in 2013 was also the first time a trapezoidal grille was used, which went on to feature in the Focus, Fusion, and Mustang.

Mark VIII: 2017 – Announced in November 2016, the Mark VIII (Mark VII outside of the UK) is stated to be larger, safer, and more efficient. A later announcement revealed the new range of Fiesta STs, complete with 200 PS 3-cylinder 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine with cylinder deactivation technology.

Fresh off the Production Line

The Ford Fiesta has a rich history of different looks and different focuses. See the full infographic [LINK] for the designs and the rest of the specs.

Notes to Editors:

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