With a cracking new Vauxhall Corsavan and a stylish new Peugeot 207 van launched against it this year, you could be forgiven for assuming that the Ford Fiestavan – which was launched early in 2004 – was struggling.
But you’d be wrong. It still feels as fresh and competent as it did the day we first drove it three years ago – and with models like the Sportvan now available, the baby Ford is still a formidable contender.
For a standard price of £9,995 (ex-VAT), the Sportvan is considerably spiced up from its more dowdy brother (which incidentally weighs in at £8,550 for the 1.4-litre TDCi model).
Outside, we see a nice sparkly silver paint job, 16-inch alloy wheels on low-profile tyres, a sportier front grille and a tailgate spoiler, while inside the Sportvan adds sports seats, a leather-clad steering wheel and gearknob, electric windows and remote central locking.
Our test van also had side airbags to complement the standard driver and passenger ones at £150 and a mesh bulkhead, which is a worthy safety addition at £100.
Under the bonnet goes a 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine offering 90bhp and 150lb-ft of torque.
Behind the wheel
My test drive in the Fiesta Sportvan took place on the wonderfully uncluttered autoroutes of northern France, where the nippy nature of the vehicle could be explored to the full.
Now, 90bhp may not sound a great deal but in a small van like this it means a great deal.
It simply flies and with those low-profile tyres, the Sportvan will thrill and delight any driver with a penchant for a bit of enthusiastic motoring.
While mainly aimed at owner-drivers who want to give themselves a treat, the Fiesta Sportvan does have a place among fleets.
A snazzy looker like this will speak volumes about the company it represents, and with a few natty decals on the side this vehicle would be an admirable advertisement for a sophisticated firm.
The downside, of course, is that most drivers will want to push this van to its limits, such are its sporting capabilities.
And that isn’t a good idea in terms of both health and safety and fuel consumption.
The small loadspace will limit the Sportvan’s appeal, but this model certainly gives the newer opposition something to chew on.
Power (bhp/rpm): 90/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 150/1,750
Payload (kg): 541
Load volume (cu m): 1.03
Price (ex-VAT): £9,995