The Ford Fiesta has been a favourite of new drivers for a long, long time. Its compact style, simplicity and affordable running costs have made it almost synonymous with first cars.
However, the new Fiesta – due for release in January 2013 – is bristling with safety gadgets that will delight the parents of new drivers. Will those same gadgets alienate the young people who have loved the plucky little Ford since the first one rolled out of the factory in 1976? Let’s find out.
Stylewise, the new Fiesta still very much an inoffensive supermini, but it now has a sporty twist. The domed bonnet and bold front grille remind you of far more expensive and powerful vehicles. This look will no doubt appeal to quite a few new drivers and road veterans alike. As stylish as the new Fiesta may be, it’s not the looks that risk causing arguments between new drivers and their parents, it’s the MyKey system.
The MyKey system allows a maximum speed and stereo volume to be set. It also mutes the stereo until everyone has fastened their seatbelt. Parents will be pleased to be able to reduce their children’s exposure to risk and prevent them from disturbing the neighbours with obnoxiously loud music. Although they may not thank parents for it at the time, teenagers will benefit from spending their first few months on the road protected by their parents’ MyKey settings.
The MyKey features are complimented by a range of other gadgets. Ford’s Active City Stop; a feature designed to prevent low speed collisions will be another feature welcomed by parents of new drivers. Ford’s SYNC infotainment system is another appealing addition. In addition to allowing voice control for the stereo and bluetooth phone systems, it features an Emergency Assist feature which automatically alerts the emergency services if the car is involved in a collision.
Combine those features with the very efficient 1.0 EcoBoost engine and you have a vehicle that is uncommonly well-suited to new drivers.
Certainly, some more reckless teenagers may grumble and groan about MyKey, but the facts about young drivers speak for themselves. Did you know that although 17-24 year olds make up about 10% of the population of the UK, they are involved in half of all crashes blamed on excess speed, half of all crashes involving one car and half of all crashes in the rain*? No matter how many new drivers moan about MyKey, we say that any car which boosts the safety of young drivers is a very, very good thing indeed.
So, will MyKey put teenagers off the Ford Fiesta? It might put off boy racers who are financing their own first car, but that’s a tiny fraction of the market. Since parents are the ones who’ll probably be spending the money, it seems unlikey that the addition of MyKey will damage the new Fiesta’s sales. In fact, we’ll probably start seeing a lot more 17-year-old drivers in Fiestas in 2013.
* Figures courtesy of TheHonestTruth.co.uk