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The 2013 Ford Fiesta facelift will be officially launched in Malaysia on September 28, nearly three years since the car made its debut in the country. The new Fiesta will be introduced here in a solitary 1.5 litre Ti-VCT guise, but the Sport won’t be the only variant in the model line-up for long.

By December, the much-anticipated 1.0 EcoBoost variant should be making its way into the showrooms – the hatch is likely to get its Malaysian premiere at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2013 in November. A sedan form for the facelift is there, but whether that will appear alongside the hatch at point of launch remains to be seen.

The Fiesta facelift, first seen at a Go Further event in Amsterdam in September last year, made its ASEAN debut at the Bangkok Motor Show back in March this year – the car made a teaser appearance on press day, which was also when the 1.0 EcoBoost mill was announced as destined for the region.

Its exterior has a revised front end, with the by-now familiar Aston Martin-esque grille and a new bonnet replete with a power dome. New design headlamps feature as well, though they are still complex surface reflector units (at least in the case of the 1.5). No DRLs incorporated either, by the looks of it.

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The main mechanical change is the switch from the 120 PS and 152 Nm 1.6 litre Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing unit to the 1.5 litre Ti-VCT unit that debuted on the pre-facelift Fiesta in Thailand last year. The displacement revision came about in getting the Fiesta compliant with Thailand’s first-car progamme, which allowed first-time car buyers to deduct excise tax paid for the purchase of the car from their personal income tax.

The 1.5 litre Duratec mill, with 111 PS (109 hp) at 6,300 rpm and 140 Nm at 4,400 for output numbers, continues on with the familiar six-speed PowerShift transmission. Meanwhile, no revision to the braking system, with the familiar front disc/rear drum combi being retained.

Aside from that, the new Fiesta features plenty of added kit and bits – the PowerShift dual-clutch gearbox finally gets a manual override, though still no paddles to be found; you’ll have to make do with the SelectShift buttons located on the gearknob, as seen on the third-gen Focus.

The air-conditioning is now a fully automatic climate control unit (albeit single zone), and new to the car are automatic headlamps, a rain sensor/auto wiper system, full keyless entry and push-button start, all fitted as standard for the 1.5 Sport. Good value, when you consider that for the Australian market these items are all bagged under an optional Sport Executive Pack for that market’s destined 1.0 EcoBoost Fiesta Sport variant.

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The entire presentation has also been refined – the new car gets partial leather/fabric combination seats, and the silver for the trim panel found on the centre console stack (and instrument binnacle housing) in the current car has been replaced by gloss black. Silver has been retained for the steering wheel boss accent, but now resembles polished metal.

The six-speaker audio system from the current Fiesta has been retained for the 1.5, with the same layout interface panel to be seen, but Ford SYNC now goes on – the in-car connectivity system that connects mobile devices to the car via Bluetooth or USB had its regional introduction in the Focus last year.

The 1.5 litre doesn’t get a 4.2-inch TFT screen full colour display (might be the 1.0 EcoBoost variant will), but the display lettering is now presented in blue instead of orange.

No word on how many airbags the 1.5 will have, but the Australian market examples (Ambiente and Trend versions) feature seven. Given that the existing Fiesta sedan has seven airbags (the limited-run Beta and XTR hatch and outgoing 1.4 LX manual had it too), it would be logical to expect that the 1.5 should have the same number too. For certain, the 1.0 EcoBoost should have the full run.

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As for wheels, that on the 1.5 litre Ti-VCT may look familiar – the 15-spoke design is identical to that seen on the current sedan, which are 15-inch units. Some info suggests that the multi-spoke alloys for the 1.5 are 16-inch units, but this is unlikely to be the case; if they’re 15-inchers, then they should be wrapped with 185/55 tyres.

Some final notes. Australia is also scheduled to get the 120 PS and 170 Nm three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost variant in December, and for that market the car will be available in five-speed manual transmission as standard, with the six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch transmission as an option.

We’d ventured in an earlier report that the 1.0 EcoBoost isn’t making its debut at the same time as the 1.5, because the 2012 and 2013 International Engine of The Year is only available with a manual transmission at the moment, and the six-speed Powershift automatic gearbox for the engine in a Fiesta is only scheduled to be ready near the end of the year.

A quick word on the Fiesta ST as well, since we’re on the topic – the plans to get the pocket rocket in now look quite definite, but looks like that won’t arrive in Malaysia this year as earlier presumed. It’s coming in 2014 though, before the first half is out, from what we hear.

 

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