')">Ford Motors India Limited have been designing cars especially keeping the Indian audience in mind. While their “one market” proposition would be in effect only by 2013, which essentially means that they would be offering a similar product range across the world. We Indians are a happy lot to know about that some one atleast cares to cater to our market specifically apart from the other desis in the fray namely Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki. Their last made for India development was the Ford Figo whereas the first one was the very own “Josh” machine, the Ford Ikon. In between, there was or rather still is a popular brand named as the Ford Fiesta. Now somewhere else in Europe, the Ford Fiesta may be a rip snorting beast in hatchback form but then in the Indian context, it is a docile sedan in India. Ready for a revamp entirely during this year, the Ford Fiesta in India is a car that I have heard as having good overall dynamics but then have never driven. So I got myself a Ford Fiesta from one of my friend’s friend and here I am narrating the details of the road test.
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The Ford Fiesta in India had been given a minor tweak since the time it had been launched. The Blue Oval logo sits on the honey combe grille which is encircled by the chrome outlines. Those fish eye shaped eye head lamps have given way to somewhat tear shaped ones. The air dam has vertical slats intersected by two horizontal ones. The fog lamps do sit in their own pod with nicely carved out slats.
The 15 inch alloy wheels do look but only in the electric blue version of the Zxi or Sxi variant. For the others, wheel caps are offered. The wing mirrors are body colored and flat looking. Ford Motors India Limited could have done better by offering bigger sized wheels for the Ford Fiesta in India since the wheel arches aren’t filled up by those 15 inchers.
The rear portion is the same conservative design that Ford feels would appeal to one and all. For the S variant, it has been spruced up with a rear spoiler however for the others, it seems a bit bland. There is no rear wiper but there is a defogger offered. The integrated bumper arrangement makes it easier to fit in the tail pipe. The tail lamps are of the triangular types which house the reversing lights, brake lamps as well as the stop lamps.
The Ford Fiesta in India boasts of typical Ford interiors, dark and all in gray. The 3 spoke steering wheel feels nice to hold but sadly doesn’t integrate steering mounted controls. The meter console looks quite cool but then the green back light for the fonts wasn’t to my liking. It felt sort of old fashioned. The circular AC vents are beautifully designed and they carry chrome inserts around them. The integrated CD player on the top of the line variant sounds good but then who in this age would go for single CD players? There is an input for aux and USB though and this should keep the techno geeks happy.
The dash board is made of soft materials but one does feel the effect of cost cutting and not so high materials used. The AC knobs are of the rotary types and this also makes the interiors look down market. There are many well sculpted holes for storing all the small items like change, papers and all. Seating volume however is something which the Ford Fiesta lacks in and this independent of any variant you select. The front seats are comfortable but then lack some under thigh support. The rear is what one would call as typically cramped. The cabin is wide, no doubt, but there is a lack of legroom. Tall passengers like me, would be rubbing their legs with the front seats. That saying, shorter passengers shouldn’t have a problem. The boot space is also good at 413 liters and the loading lip been low, makes for good luggage loading. The suspension mounts are also hidden away from view and so there is no intrusion.
Handling and ride quality
The best part of any Ford vehicle in India. If Ford Motors India Limited doesn’t do it better, then who does it? The chassis of every Ford vehicle made in India is designed keeping in mind the Indian driving and road conditions. The chassis is tuned more for handling as this car is been projected as a sporty car. The first thing that I mentioned was regarding the steering wheel and how true my premonitions were. It is meaty to hold and well weighted. The steering delivers accurate feedback from the front wheels. It helps you place the car exactly where you want it to be. The steering wheel is light to use in city and weighs up nicely while on the highway.
The handling is at par with dare, I say, a BMW. No wonder even Narain Karthikeyan after driving the Ford Fiesta had commented that it is one of the cheaper avatar of a BMW car. There are not many driver aids in this built for a price sedan but then as discussed earlier, the chassis makes up for more than any other deficiencies. The ride predictably is stiffer for the 1.6 liter petrol engine but then for the 1.4 diesel, it is tuned a bit more softly. The 1.4 liter diesel engined car is capable of soaking in bumps at lower speeds but only occasionally at higher speeds, it sometimes falls short due to its suspension setup. The 1.6 on the other hand, been stiffly sprung makes for a good tool on the highway whereas in the city, the sharp ruts do filter through. But those are nothing compared to the smiles that the car will plant on your face the moment you take it out for a spin.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
Speaking of engines in the Ford Fiesta in India, there were three initially but as of now, only two are offered. The more popular version is the 1.4 liter Duratorq, TDCi engine that makes 68PS at 4000rpm and maximum torque of 163 Nm at 2000 rpm. The engine is mated with a 5 speed manual transmission. It races from 0-100 kmph in only 14.2 seconds whereas the top speed attained by this motor is 163 kmph. The motor is very silent in its operation and makes for a relaxed performer. What it doesn’t like to do is been hurried upon.
The other motor is the 1.6 liter Duratec petrol motor which makes 101 Bhp of peak power at 6500 rpm whereas the maximum torque that it makes is 14.9 kgm @ 3400 rpm. This is enough to propel this car from 0-100 kmph times of 11.4 seconds and the top speed is 172 kmph. Even this motor is mated to a 5 speed manual. The transmission in both the engines works beautifully and has short throws. The 1.6 liter motor is a bit more vocal than the 1.4 liter unit but then it has been tuned for performance and also to satisfy the aural delights of enthusiasts.
Braking in both is achieved by discs at the front with drums at the rear. There is ABS and EBD to support the retardation figures. As regards the safety aspect, Ford Motors India Limited have offered 2 air bags, emergency locking retractors, fuel cut off in case of collision, engine immobilizer and also seat belts with pretensioners.
Fuel efficiency for the 1.4 liter diesel motor stands at 14.8 kmpl in the city and 18.2 kmpl on the highway whereas for the 1.6 liter petrol engine, the figures read as 11.4 kmpl in the city and 15.1 kmpl on the highway.
The Ford Fiesta in India is due for a replacement sometimes later this year. Till the time, the ones doing duties in India are epitomes of core Ford values and those are driving pleasure at its best. Be it the 1.4 liter motor or the more hard core 1.6 liter one, driving pleasure is guaranteed. Ford Motors India Limited have also upped the ante as regards to the sales and service parts thing, so this shouldn’t deter any one from looking for a high performance yet very efficient mid size sedan from the Blue Oval stables. The Ford Fiesta price in India for the base diesel version is Rs 7,11,000 (ex-show room, Delhi) whereas for the top end, it is Rs 8,21,000. For the petrol one, the price starts at Rs 6,23,000 going all the way upto Rs 8,21,000 for the top of the line variant.