The Ford Festiva, a Subcompact and Worldwide Kia by Mazda (Half II)

The Ford Festiva, a Subcompact and Worldwide Kia by Mazda (Half II)


We return to our Uncommon Rides Icons protection of the Ford Festiva as we speak. An essential world automobile for the likes of Ford, Mazda, Kia (and ultimately many others), the Festiva arrived at a time when rear-drive subcompacts had been being changed by way more environment friendly fashions that had been front-drive. And the Mazda-designed Festiva was definitely extra environment friendly and extra front-drive than the Fiesta it changed.

We lined the Festiva’s boxy, easy styling in our final entry, so as we speak we soar straight into its platform and mechanicals. In 1981, Mazda modified the way in which it named its platforms. It assigned two-letter codes that had been used for the fifth and sixth characters in VINs on Mazda-produced autos from the 1981 mannequin yr onward. Mazda makes use of this platform classification system as we speak.

From the beginning, all letter coding with a D on the entrance represented a subcompact automobile that was front-wheel drive. The Festiva was assigned DA, as the primary such automobile Mazda ever created. The DA had a brief wheelbase of simply 90.4 inches. The general size for the Festiva at debut was 136.8 inches, with an general width of 63.2 inches. Festiva reached 57.5 inches in top and had a weight of between 1,540 and about 1,720 kilos depending on tools and physique type.

With a transverse engine format, the front-drive Festiva used an impartial entrance suspension with struts, coil springs, and a sway bar. The rear suspension was a torsion beam design. As one may anticipate, the Festiva’s engines had been all Mazda items that hailed from the B household. The B was new on the time, and thru its many variations was in manufacturing between 1985 and 2005. Notably, the engine design was non-interference, which meant the engine wasn’t lunched within the occasion of a timing belt failure. An essential characteristic when operating a automobile on a decent finances.

The primary three engines to debut within the B lineup had been all used within the Festiva. Probably the most primary was the B1, a tiny 1.1-liter inline-four that had eight valves and was accessible solely in SOHC guise. This most elementary of engines was restricted to make use of from 1987 to 1989 and was solely used within the European and Asian markets. Kia would later use this engine within the Sephia.

Many individuals had been fascinated by a BJ. The mid-level engine had 1.3-liters of displacement, with 16 valves and the all-important DOHC and single-point gas injection. Solely Japanese market Festivas used the BJ, and solely in notably sporty trims. The 1.3 was good for 87 horsepower.

Lastly, the most important Festiva engine on supply was the B3. Barely bigger than the BJ’s 1,290 cc displacement, the B3 was 1,324 cc. It was provided solely in SOHC guise and was accessible within the Festiva in addition to Mazda’s bigger Familia, the Ford Laser, and the successor to the Festiva the Aspire. Initially, the B3 was carbureted, nevertheless it was later developed additional and acquired gas injection. With both gas distribution sort, it had 63 horsepower. Within the Nineties, the B3 was up to date and enhanced, which added 10 horsepower to its ranking. The B3 lived till 2005 within the Kia Rio, and till 2014 in Kia’s Pleasure.

Talking of Pleasure, that’s what Kia known as their model of the Festiva. The Pleasure was assembled regionally in South Korea from the beginning, and the market was one of many first to begin its manufacturing. Assembled below license, manufacturing began in 1986 for the 1987 mannequin yr.

Australia and Europe acquired the Festiva below its most correct identification, because the Mazda 121. Gross sales for these markets began in 1987 as properly. The Mazda 121 was a short-lived mannequin, nonetheless, and after 1991 the 121 changed into the Ford Festiva on the Australian continent. In Europe, the 121 grew to become the Kia Pleasure.

The factor to remember with the Festiva: At its base, it was a Ford product request, and although Mazda dealt with the mission themselves it was Ford calling the pictures when Festiva went on sale. And so it was that in February 1986 the Mazda was launched in its dwelling market of Japan, because the Ford Festiva. The hatchback was not accessible as a Mazda in Japan.

Japanese Festiva trims in its launch yr included L, L Particular, S, Ghia, and Canvas High. Preliminary trims had been supplemented later in 1986 for the ’87 mannequin yr by the GT and GT-X, which used the aforementioned DOHC engine. The Festiva was accessible by way of Ford’s Japanese dealership arm, known as Autorama.

Although the vehicles for the Japanese market had been produced in Japan and wore Ford badges, the Festivas for the North American market had been produced in South Korea alongside the Kia Pleasure. North People needed to wait a bit for the Festiva, as gross sales didn’t begin within the US till late in ’87 for the 1988 mannequin yr. Canadian gross sales had been even later, because the Festiva appeared there in January of 1989. To help in distribution, the Festiva was additionally accessible at Mercury dealerships in Canada.

Not like different markets, the North American Festiva was restricted to at least one engine, the 1.3-liter B3. There have been simply three trim ranges at introduction: L, L Plus, and LX. As commenters identified in our final entry, the way in which to inform the LX aside was by way of its luxurious rear wiper.

However the LX was upgraded in different methods, in that it was the one one to have a tilt steering wheel and a tachometer. It was really the times of the essential subcompact automobile, as until the LX was chosen there have been no alloy wheels, no inside mirror changes, and no material on the seats (solely vinyl). Desire a cassette participant? You’d have to spring for the LX. The LX additionally featured a five-speed handbook, with different trims represented by a four-speed. Those that averted shifting themselves discovered their driving expertise punctuated by a three-speed Mazda computerized.

It’s attention-grabbing to contemplate the market variations between the Festiva of Japan and the North American one. No DOHC engine, no sports activities trims with physique kits, no canvas roof! It’s nearly like Ford needed to suppress the Festiva’s enchantment so it didn’t battle with different essential small vehicles within the lineup, just like the Escort.

Whereas we’re on the subject of market variations, we have to cowl the opposite markets that produced varied variations of the Festiva for a very long time. Except for Mazda’s manufacturing (by way of 1992) and Kia’s (by way of 2000), there have been three different main licensed producers of the Festiva. In 1993 SAIPA of Iran started manufacturing of the Festiva below its personal branding and constructed them in Iraq. In China, the Dongfeng Yueda Kia three way partnership started its manufacturing in 1997. Lastly, AAV joined the membership in 1998 with Egyptian manufacturing.

It turned out AAV had the shortest curiosity within the Festiva, because it constructed the hatchback solely by way of 2002. Dongfeng continued its manufacture by way of 2003. However SAIPA took the cake, because it produced varied variations of the 1986 design by way of 2020. SAIPA known as the Festiva a 111, 131, 132, and 141. Then they made a pickup truck out of it and known as it 151. It additionally had some formal names, like Pleasure, Saba, and Nasim. Chinese language manufacturing noticed the Festiva rebranded because the Guangtong GTQ5010X, because the Chinese language subcompact buyer enjoys an extended mannequin title.

By its varied meeting places, the Festiva was constructed at one manufacturing unit in Japan, two in South Korea, and two in China. It was additionally constructed within the aforementioned Iran and Iraq, in addition to Egypt, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Venezuela.

A tiny and but very well-traveled automobile. We’ll discuss all of the variations of the Festiva in our subsequent installment. We’ll additionally cowl the refreshes and updates that occurred over its first technology.

[Images: Ford, Mazda, Kia, SAIPA]

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September 2022