Fiesta sat nav: Ford finally finds its way

Ford has righted a wrong: the new 2013 Fiesta has factory-fit sat nav at last. 

The argument at the car’s launch for its absence was easy to make but ill-judged and not far-sighted enough: small car buyers don’t ‘do’ sat nav, it went, can’t justify spending 10% of the car’s price on built-in guidance when a TomTom does it for 10% of that cost.

Ford preferred, it told me, to save the integration cost and put it into other areas of the car. Like sublime steering feel. No argument from me for that.

Thing is, the market has changed. Tech is good now, the more the better. Sat nav is almost an expectation too, and just because you’re driving a small car doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also have it. Particularly when you’re such a good small car that can teach big cars a thing or two.

That the Fiesta was launched fresh into the last recession back in 2008 also ironically fostered the switch. This really was right car, right time, because it was pretty and good enough to both convince the naysayers that buying a new car was a good idea, and well placed enough to capitalise on the growing numbers of money-saving downsizers. The perfect economic storm drove people to Fiesta and it’s been the UK’s best seller almost non-stop ever since.

But what did those downsizers, used to big car luxuries, miss? Yes, sat nav. Jamming a TomTom onto the windscreen just isn’t on when you’ve had it built into your Focus for so long. It was an obvious stumble in sophistication and Ford increasingly felt it.

Throw in the competition showing off about its standard sat nav (Renault Clio) and full-colour swipey-style touchscreens (Peugeot 208) and Ford had no choice.

Ford Fiesta sat nav: yours from £700

Which is how we’ve got a fascia that’s had a loft extension in the centre. All but the boggo Studio can have it, for a decent £700; as an added bonus it’s Ford’s SYNC system too, something that’s got a lot of stick in the US but is actually very trick once you’ve learned how to use it.

Titanium and Titanium X models can have an alternative Sony nav system, which adds semi-premium looks to the mix, for an even more affordable £400; we’ve gone from having no nav to having two nav options on all trims but one, which shows Ford knows what an important feature it now is.

Ford doesn’t often make marketing mix mistakes like this, but omitting sat nav from the Fiesta was one, which it’s taken four years to rectify. Now that it has, I can finally add it to the options list for my car-hunting other half; to her, sat nav is a virtual deal-clincher.

Will Ford now find for how many others it is, too?

+ The misguidance of the Ford Fiesta

+ Evernote inspires Ford

+ First Drive: Ford Fiesta (2008) – MSN Cars