We shared this New Fiesta review article many a months back. We revisit this one which featured at Ford India’s Fiesta’s official page. Read on to know finer details about this car.
Ford’s first global car for India. Let’s see how well this American tourister says “Namaste!”?
Tested model: Fiesta Trend Dura-Torq
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India has always been profit grounds for global automobile manufacturers. May it be any company, it wants to enter the Indian soil and try its luck with the Indian customer. And why not? Owing to the huge population of the country, it offers a vivid spectrum of customers, allowing automobile companies to launch not just one good car, but many of them in every segment. Ford is no different.
This American giant estimated the huge potential in the country but couldn’t harness it well. Though all the cars it launched were good, but it always kept its customers wanting for more, subsequently turning into dissatisfaction. Cars like Escort, Mondeo and Fusion were ahead of their times, but couldn’t gel well with the Indian customer. In fact a few of them were heavily criticized.
Then Ford launched its life saver, the Ikon, punched as the ‘josh machine’. Indeed it was like a steroid which gave the much needed ‘josh’ to ford’s feeble existence in India. People welcomed this car warmly and it was one of the segment firsts in entry level sedans. This car lured with its cat eyed looks and amazing built quality, which gave a change to Maruti accustomed crowd. This car saw its time, but when people wanted more, ford did not deliver, rather they dragged their Ikon for almost a decade with a few minor facelifts, until the fall of 2008, when it got a diesel engine and alternative fuel options like CNG. But the market had outgrown this car, and subsequently outgrown ford.
The company then launched its made for India hatch back, the Figo. Owing to ford’s history in India, people didn’t expect a lot out of this car, but were proved wrong. The car was worthy, and could carve a smile on the faces of its drivers. In mid-sized sedans, fiesta was launched, which epitomized how well drivable a car should really be. In premium SUV, endeavor set its hold, and we all have witnessed the muscle this beast has. These three vehicles helped ford to regain its status (or rather let’s say just gain :)) in India. They redefined what American cars are known for, and properly this time.
Ok, now everything was settled, ford had a decent name; popularity etc. now was the time to give its warrior some well-deserved rest. In the year 2011, when Ikon finally retired, ford launched its first global car for India, the new ford fiesta. And voila! This indeed is new! So read on and judge for yourself, does this new car have it in to continue ford’s well-deserved reputation in India, or will it just stay? Let’s drive and find out….
Design lines: exteriors: 8/10
Like many of the mid-sized sedans on the road today, the fiesta is redesigned from a hatchback. This hatchback got its ‘derriere’ for the CAAAR loving crowd in India, and we are gifted with the fiesta saloon!
Though we have the fiesta saloon and not a hatchback, on look at the car and the change is biased to favor a hatchback more than a sedan. It is a gorgeous looking car, but not as well engineered as Volkswagen has done with its polo and created the Vento. The front looks aggressively sporty with its chrome finished grille and trapezoidal intake. The dagger shaped headlamps look completely ‘prince of Persia’ inspired. Right from the front the attractive shoulder line starts and vanishes gradually approaching the end.
The car overall looks quite ‘fluidic’, but not in a Hyundai way. Ford rather has a new design line up called ‘kinetic design’. As we move towards the sides, the distinct and perfectly placed rear view mirrors catch attention. They complement the sporty design of the car and also house the side indicators. As we further move towards the rear, the overall design rises with our excitement.
On reaching the rear, the eye sore is quite evident. The design ends with the car’s rear being so chunky and huge that everything else surrounding it seems puny, specifically the rear wheels and rear lamps. It seems similarly blown out of proportion as that of the Tata Manza. Moreover there is vast and idle space below the rear lamps which add to the tininess of the lights.
Ford designers should have tried something like what people at Toyota have done with their Prius which also has a huge rear, but lamps are proportional. But looking at the whole car, let’s just say that the new car is here and it is here to stay. I don’t think that the car’s rear would break the deal for anyone thinking to go for this car.
The immaculate build quality never lets down, and Americans are already known for it. The distinctive ‘thud’ on shutting the doors lets you know of it. Ford has built this car with aluminized boron steel, which makes it stronger and lighter than its previous avatar.
Inside out: Interiors: 7/10
So much for the outside, not that much for the inside. Ford cars for India have proved it every time and the new fiesta is no different. Though ford has tried to jazz up the dash board in line with the exteriors. The center houses the ‘back-from-the future’ music player, which looks quiet inspired from a cell phone. The true nature of the system is revealed when you get closer to it and realize the overcrowded buttons and substandard quality plastics.
The plastic quality of the dashboard and interiors though, feels up market and soft. Not that there wasn’t any space on it, but still the contents of the dashboard are quiet wound up. But nevertheless it sounds superb, has AUX and USB connectivity and complements the sportiness of the car.
The hooded instrument console looks quiet stylish and is well illuminated to offer clear readability while on the move. It is fairly detailed and provides all information that the driver could use. There is a central screen which serves as a user interface for music system and other user related applications. The font used in it looks old school though. The steering wheel is sporty and is embedded with remote to control the music player and cruise control on the high end titanium variants. Now wait a minute! Cruise control on a mid-sized? We’ll come to it….
There are various knick knacks here and there offering convenience and practicality. The glove box is deep enough to store vitals and there is also storage space under the front passenger seat. The hand rest also has cup holders. But is placed too high. You may end up using the hand rest just as a cup holder. The steering wheel is tilt adjustable and seat height adjust travel is also good. These factors offer good road view and unlike the Marutis, the A-pillar doesn’t impair visibility. The climate control does its job well and as seen on the smaller sibling, the Figo, the air conditioner is a chiller.
The fiesta is and always has been an excellent driver’s car but the same doesn’t apply to the passengers at the back. The space is not too much and lacks headroom, knee room and thigh support is just down the line. The thing that saves you here is the comfort on offer by the seats. The all grey interiors may be fresh but most of the times make the cabin look dull and plush beige interiors are not an option.
The cabin is well insulated of the outside noise. If you want to spend most of your time at the back seats of the Vento, then the front seats are a place to be in if you are in a fiesta! They are extremely comfortable and you feel like you are a part of the car when driving. Boot space is deep but narrow. As we already saw, the loading lip was tad too high, so loading can be tedious, requiring you to lift your luggage too high before loading them.
Now for the most important feature offered by this car, that could seal the deal for quite a few thinking for this car. The car comes with a spirit of a lady which wants to talk a lot to you!!! No, sorry for being so dramatic! it actually comes with a voice command system, which would take your voice commands and operate your climate control, phone and music player. Of course you cannot have long conversations with the car and share your feelings, or just command it to automatically drive off!
Its functionality is limited but it may just be the glimpse of things to come! So we can expect ford to create many such ‘James Bond’ features in the years to come. Plus, it’s a thing of pride when you are in the car with your friends and you change the track or temperature just by asking the car to do it! Hold the voice command button and speak up your mind! This feature is only available with the highline titanium.
Under the hood and an athlete’s test: Engine and Performance: 7/10
The previous fiesta was a pretty successful car hence the company still runs it as the Classic. The new fiesta is no different, only better. Ford has given it an entirely different engine. The diesel motor now gets clubbed to a 1.5 liter diesel engine compared to the former 1.4 liter Duratroque whereas the petrol fiesta gets a 1.5 liter petrol engine compared to the previous 1.6 liter Duratec. The spirit burner Duratec is a Ti-VCT (twin-independent variable crankshaft time) unit, creating 110 PS and 140 Nm torque@ 6500 rpm.
Our tested model was an oil burner, equipped with 1.5 liter diesel engine with 1498 cubic centimeters of displacement, producing 91 PS power at 210 Nm torque @ 2000 rpm. This intercooled turbo charged engine uses simple 2 valves per cylinder SOHC setup compared to the 4 valves per cylinder DOHC in other cars in the segment. This is how technical it is on the paper; now let’s test the real thing on the dust….
The engine feels extremely refined, with no trails of stress at any gear. Not many cars come close in the segment. At 91 PS, the car was one of the least powered on the paper, and this fact is well felt on the road. Owing to the fantastic dynamics, the cars feel short of power. You always keep wanting for more. Power delivery is smooth and consistent throughout and turbo lag is felt under 1800 rpm.
The gear box is slick and offers well slotted feel, though to keep the car eager, you have to keep it above 1800 rpm, but performs adequately under most situations. Pressed on a quarter mile test, the car could touch 171 kmph@ 4900 rpm, but don’t expect to win races against petrol headed Honda Citys and diesel Vernas on the road. It could hit 0-100 kmph in just under 14 sec and stopped from 80-0 kmph in around 30 sec, given the car only sports front disc brakes.
The power to control: Handling- 9/10
The new fiesta is a gem of a car when it comes to handling. Fiestas have always been driver’s delight, and the new car just continues the aura! Fiesta’s immaculate grip is favored by its stiff chassis and front suspensions. More than that straight line stability is great. You don’t need to put in much effort to keep the car in a straight line on the run. Throw this car hard on the corners and it wouldn’t squeak!
The improved ground clearance for India gives the car a tall stance, which is well struck. It isn’t as tall as the SX4 to produce undue body roll, nor is it too short to cause ingress/egress issues. Ford has replaced its hydraulic steering unit with new electric one with pull drift compensation. For the general, the steering experience is better than ever now giving improved response, feedback and accuracy for those hair pin turns. But what I feel is it could hold the road better and offer more road grip.
The car feels at home at every speed, thanks to its neither-so-soft-nor-so-hard suspensions. This car handles great, whether on the urban, or occasional off roads.
Thirsty trips to gas stations: Fuel economy – 9/10
Our oil burning diesel fiesta returned excellent figures on fuel runs, with very few stops at gas station. The car we tested had only covered 3000 km and returned something close to 20kmpl on longer runs. Once the engine becomes more experienced, expect it to return anything above 20kmpl under good driving conditions. The engine as we already saw was amongst the least powerful in the lot, but that made it the most fuel efficient car of the rest. In normal city driving conditions, it returned anything from 14 to 17 kmpl in the city depending upon the time of the day you travel most.
Inimitable protector: Safety – 8/10
Ford has been in the Indian market for quite some time now and it is well acquainted with the Indian customer mentality. This said, launching a car at a price dearer than every other in the segment may seem foolish. But when comes to the safety equipment list, its attempt is justified.
The car gets segment first cruise control, safety features like ABS (Antilock braking system), EBD (electronic brake distribution), EPS (electronic power steering) and airbags; with basic features available on all variants. One the convenience list, features like climate control, power mirrors, keyless entry, remote boot opener, steering mounted controls, power rear view mirrors (automatically retracting on top variants) are available, with minor changes across the variants.
Hole in the wallet; Price – 7/10
The new fiesta hails at a price band of 8.23-10.42 lakhs ex-showroom, Delhi, which is indeed expensive. A driver would have lots of options to look out for elsewhere. But at this premium pricing you get a really good car you would not regret, until you are just budget oriented. Further on, ford has recently slashed down its rates, giving another reason to look out for this car. Furthermore, ford offers 2 year-100000 km warranty with the car.
Let’s now brief out to see if the car would ‘do-it’ or ‘shoo-it’
- On the flipside, premium pricing of this car would only attract ford fans and lovers, a layman customer would find more bang for his money elsewhere
- This premium pricing has given the car an exclusive road presence, making it difficult to spot on the road. So if you are in for more looks and head turns on the traffic, you might want to own this car
- Features like cruise control and voice command system are segment first
- Loading lip is too high and boot space is just adequate (or probably less when you will need it). One of the smallest in the segment.
- Because ford has nothing to offer in the executive segment yet, that makes the fiesta its flagship car just under the company’s overall flagship SUV, the endeavor. In that case, the interiors don’t feel as that of a flagship car. At least top variants of the car could offer luxury leather or plush beige
- There is no compromise with safety, all models come equipped with ABS, EBD, EPS and 2 front airbags. I hope Volkswagen is listening!
- The car is the new dynamics and handling king of the segment, able to challenge cars from upper segments as well. Road grip though could have been better.
- The engine is refined and all but when you really start to enjoy the incredible handling of the car, you expect if the engine could offer a lot more performance.
- Rear windscreen is too small, impairing reverse movement. Only the top titanium plus comes with reverse parking sensors, but it is a vital accessory for this car for regular drivers.
Motorbash verdict: what we feel…. 9/10
A very well thought and judicious step by ford to further strengthen its hold in India. The experience with the car was a mixed bag, with positives on most of the part. It’s a fantastic driver’s car, providing everything a driver could want, ABS, EBD, airbags, fantastic dynamics and handling, comfortable front seats, good visibility and so on. But at the same time, it’s not as good for the passengers. Small knee room, tight head space, inadequate thigh support, no rear AC vents, plain jane luxury standards, etc just lets down.
But whatever that my mind says, I would listen to my heart and go for this car, just for the experience. It’s a much focused machine and undoubtedly would spearhead ford’s success in India, and give people another reason to “GO FIDA” over it! With that, signing off.
You read this Comprehensive Drive Report at MotorBash.com presented by Rakesh Patel
You can check out the gallery attached below for comprehensive list of pictures which provides minutest of details about the car…
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