Ford Fiesta 1.6S vs Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT

Well, this cannot be called a true war however both of these fight for the economy chunk that the Honda City leaves behind for them. The Ford Fiesta 1.6S in India is one of the older ones here and the Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT in India has been revamped lately with new features and also a limited edition{even the Ford has had that}. All the car companies by the way have it and that is not to be mistaken for a revamp. The thing worth considering is that most of the cars are outclassed by the Honda City and more recently by the refreshed Fiat Linea 1.4 turbo. However since we already had a compare between the Fiat Linea 1.4, Volkswagen Vento and the Honda City wherein the winner was the Fiat Linea with its wide stroke of features and scintillating performance. This war now moves onto the lower economy class and it boils down to between the Ford Fiesta 1.6S in India and the Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT in India. Usually the price of the Ford Fiesta 1.6S and the price for the Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT are considered.

Looks

Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT for India – This car was one of the best in its segment till the Honda City came along and spoilt its party. The Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT for India echoes the look of the new face of the company since the augmentation of the Swift. That both are based on the same platform is only a small thing. It doesn’t have a long bonnet unlike the others in the Maruti Suzuki portfolio. The bold pronounced nose has that honeycomb grille with the chrome finished Suzuki logo at the center. The air intake is however not so prominent and alongside it is the fog lamps. The side profile reveals 16 inch wheels with prominent wheel arches and a quarter glass. The outside rear view mirrors are also very big and they do a good job of showing what is behind. These are body colored as well. The rear shows up a hunched up profile and clear lens tail lamps. The boot is also well shaped however has a small opening.

Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India – This was one car which was made for India though its name has been used by Ford Motors cars in the US. It evoked the memories of the Ford Ikon when it was launched. Those fish shaped head lamps are carried over from the old model Fiesta. The front grille is not so big and houses the blue oval. The lower air dam is wider and makes for a bigger intake. The fog lamps are also housed in their own separate pods in the uniform bumper. There are skirts at the front which add to the sporty demeanor. There are side skirts as well and the 15 inch wheels exude a sporty feel. The rear carries a big spoiler with clear lens tail lamps and body colored bumpers.

Round 1 goes to the Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT for been a butch looking car with loads of road presence.

Interiors

Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT – The high seats in this car make for easy ingress and egress, something which is usually missing in Maruti’s cars. The dash board is well built however the quality of plastics leaves something to be desired. It has the automatic climate control, instrument panel and the audio system. The parts bin is shared with lower segment Swift and its booted brother, the Swift hatchback. There is fabric accents on the front and rear and the top end version comes with leather seats. Silver finish can be found on the door locks and handles. The arm rests are made up of wood though. Space at the front is okay however for any one above 6 foot 2 inches, it is best to avoid this car or if you are so smitten with this car, then you would have to learn aerobics as well to get in and out. The rear seat is also well made however could do with a bit more of the under thigh support. Boot space is also quite big for this segment at 425 liters though intrusion from the suspension mounts can be a problem. Abundance of cubby holes can be found in this cabin as well.

Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India – The interiors of this car reek of sportiness right from the word go. The major giveaway of its sporty intentions is the drilled aluminium pedals. The short throw gear box also looked classy. The twin pod instrument cluster sort of looks primitive however it has a wide array of information that one would ever require. There is no automatic climate control offered however power goodies are in plenty. The quality of materials used is a bit higher than those used on the SX4 and this makes a whole lot of difference to the approach. The front bucket seats are quite comfy however the rear ones aren’t too comfy. The seat backs are too upright and for long journeys, this would be very tiring. Lack of under thigh support adds to this. The boot is nicely carved and store a bit more than what its competitor in this segment can do. The Fiesta’s cabin actually seems cramped in comparison to the others in its segment.

Round 2 goes to the Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT again for the level of convenience features and good room inside the cabin.

Handling and ride quality

Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT – It would be a common perception that due to the higher ground clearance of the car{180 mm}, the handling would suffer. However this is far from the truth. The car handles quite well and due to its firmer suspension is a hoot around corners. Sure, it lacks the agility of the platform on which it is based but this doesn’t mean that the car is left wanting in the lurch. The promos of the car are really tastefully done and there is no doubting the capability of it. Infact, there is no need to even slow down for those big speed breakers or potholed roads as the car smothers everything in its stride. This doesn’t mean that it is perfect and it’s the ride quality which suffers. It is firm and small pot holes would send jolts into the cabin. Once the speeds rise, the problem is solved. Also a fully loaded car rides well due to its firm damping. The steering wheel is also direct like the Suzuki Swift and it is only on highway speeds that the steering feels a bit disconcerted. Nevertheless, it is one of the better units in this segment.

Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India – Now, every kid in the automotive world knows that only two manufacturers namely Fiat and Ford provide the best suspension setup in India. For the Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India, its no different. The car rides on a softer suspension however for the 1.6S motor, the springs have been shortened leading to a firmer suspension at both the ends. The steering wheel is too communicative and is the best in this segment. It delivers feedback in spades and this ensures that overall, the feel of the car is enhanced. The handling is at par with dare I say, a BMW. It goes well around corners and wouldn’t want its occupants to throw up their lunch or breakfast either. Its low stance {165 mm} also means that it is more aerodynamic than the Maruti SX4. The ride quality is also surprisingly good and it doesn’t break the backs of its passengers. It however lets out audible reminders of what it is going through.

Round three no doubt goes to the Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India due to its far superior ride and handling package.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT – This car features the 1.6 liter engine from the M series of the Suzuki family engines. It brings in variable valve timing (VVT) technology which aids in the timing changes inside the engine. This ensures that the optimum power is maintained all throughout the rev range. The peak power output is 104.68 Ps at 5600 rpm whereas the peak torque is 145 Nm at 4100 rpm. This 16 valve DOHC engine is mated with a 5 speed manual or even a 4 speed automatic. The car races from 0-100 kmph in 12.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 181 kmph. The engine however feels quite strained and raucous at those rpms. The gear box is also notchy and requires a shove. It is better not to hurry the engine and enjoy the surge of torque in its mid range.

Braking is handled by disc brakes in the front and drums at the rear. ABS as well as EBD ensure safe braking. Safety is taken care by ample crumple zones, collapsible steering column, 2 air bags and 3 point seat belts. Fuel efficiency is not so good with 11.2 kmpl in the city which increases to 16.4 kmpl.

Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India – This car has a 1596 cc 4 Cyl. In-Line, 16-V DOHC engine which has SEFI. Maximum power output of this engine is 101 Bhp at 6500 rpm whereas the torque reads as 146 Nm at 3400 rpm. On paper, this figures pale in comparison to the one produced by the Maruti however on the road all that matters is the performance of the car. This motor is very tractable and more so than the Maruti unit. It is rev happy and there is never a stress or strain in the motor, even near its 7,100 rpm redline. Moreover, complementing the superb engine is the 5 speed manual gearbox which is very slick in its operation. It is well spaced out and is an enthusiasts delight. This car races from 0-100 kmph in just 12.5 seconds and maxes out at a top speed of 173 kmph. The induction sound of the engine is enough to tickle the nether regions of the driver. Truly a driver’s car.

Hauling this car to a halt is the combination of discs and drums. These are assisted by the usual EBD, Brake Assist and ABS. The one thing that should be noted is that this car has a spongy brake pedal and one which robs off the feeling of strong braking. Ford Motors India could do well to calibrate this unit and hence enhance the overall feel of the car. Safety features in the Ford Fiesta also abound in the way of the 3 point seat belts with anti whiplash properties, collapsible steering column and also 2 air bags.

Fuel efficiency is a tad better in the Ford Fiesta than its Maruti challenger. It returns 11.6 kmpl in the city and 16.9 kmpl on the highway.

This round is won fairly by the Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India.

Verdict

This is one tough war and for those looking for sedans in the lower strata of the price bracket. Both the cars are equally competent in some field or the other and would appeal to a wide range of buyers. For singles, the Ford Fiesta would be a talking point and more so of a show off in the electric blue color. It would be good for a jaunt with a probable girl since the interiors are not that spacious and would be too close for comfort. You can carry out power slides in it and at the same time driving it sanely would yield double digit consistent mileage figures. On the other hand, the Maruti Suzuki SX4 is more for the family oriented people. It is spacious, unless you have a houseful of 6 footers. It has automatic climate control and many other features that you wouldn’t get in the Ford. Now, the final decider would be the pricing. The price of the Ford Fiesta 1.6S for India is Rs.8,10264 on road in Mumbai whereas the price for the Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT is Rs.7,99431 on road in Mumbai.

The winner, unfortunately, depends on one’s preferences. Those who love driving would look no further than the Ford Fiesta whereas those looking for practicality would go for the Maruti Suzuki SX4. The balance shifts to the Maruti’s end due to its wide spread dealer network, ability to cope up with the bad roads due to its elevated ride height and overall low service costs. Ford Motors India are yet to revamp their service point however at this price point, the Ford Fiesta is the poor man’s BMW and a frugal one at that. It loves been thrashed time and again. And it still shines and begs for more. I have picked up my choice here since I love driving and it would be the Ford Fiesta for me.

2 Replies to “Ford Fiesta 1.6S vs Maruti Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT”

  1. Go for the Ford guys. I own a Ford Fiesta 1.6 Sxi in a blue color. Its performance makes me smile everytime. I know it sounds strange that a doctor would prefer performance over comfort but then aren’t we human beings too? I was always an auto junkie and so in 2005 got a Swift and now the Ford. It has that communicative chassis that gets you hooked on whenever you take a corner. I have been on many highway drives and the car never felt underpowered. Yes, the Ford service sucks but now even they are bucking up. The injectors in my car once got clogged and it took the entire day for Ford service people to think what went wrong. But at the end of the day, I was happy to have my car back in top condition. Its things like this which endear the car to you.

  2. Ford Is the best guys buy the ford
    its too good and is much better than the sx4
    the ford is luxurious and has a very good engine

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