What’s the point of a car if it’s not a crossover? Everybody seems to be asking, as crossover sales surge around the world… Look, even hatchbacks are doing it now — Ford’s Fiesta, a nameplate celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has just gone into its seventh generation and for the first time ever you’ll be able to have it as
a crossover.

Ford claims the 2017 Fiesta will be the most tech-laden compact on the market, offering an expanded line-up to include glitzy Vignale trims, as well as hot-hatch STs and of course the new Active crossover models. The carmaker says this Fiesta Active is merely the first such crossover “to be rolled out across the Ford range in years to come” based on what was previously a regular non-crossover, so expect an Active everything soon.

Designers went for a simpler, more grown-up look this time around, and the Fiesta’s grown with a 30mm wider front track, 10mm wider rear, and 4mm longer wheelbase, while reducing weight and increasing body stiffness by 15 per cent. The bigger size means top trims can pack larger 18in wheels and consequently more braking power behind them, so the new Fiesta stops eight per cent quicker than before.

When it goes on sale late next year the Fiesta will have Nissan’s all-new fifth-generation Micra to contend with in our region, so from launch Ford’s offering a turbocharged 1.0-litre making 138bhp mated to a new six-speed transmission.

Loads of sensors around the car make up a host of assistance systems such as pedestrian detection and hands-free self-parking options. High-end options include an opening panoramic glass roof and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. The first B&O system ever in a Ford comes with 10 speakers and a subwoofer for a total of 675 watts. Cameras around the car and a 360-degree view allow other kit like pre-collision assist and traffic-sign recognition.

The Fiesta Active gets exclusive SUV-inspired bits such as roof bars and extra plastic cladding, plus of course a raised ride height. Ask for “full-options” and you even get a tablet-like 8.0in touchscreen enabling pinch and swipe gestures.

Ford also listened intently to marketing focus groups, who asked for detail changes to improve usability of their Fiestas, and in turn the Blue Oval delivered with obsessive attention — that is why the seventh-generation model now has wipers that cover 13 per cent more windscreen area, and doors that require 20 per cent less effort to close, plus a special protective plastic flap concealed in the door that prevents dings in tight parking spots. And a crossover body style.