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Rs. 10,19,000 (Ex-Showroom)


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The fun machine (that feels cheap inside)!
Jun 13, 2009 12:01 AM 31315 Views
(Updated Jun 13, 2009 12:27 AM)

Leg Room:

Dealer Satisfaction:





As I mentioned in my Fiat Linea Diesel review two days ago, I am in the process of picking my new car. I am test driving almost all cars in the range of 7-12 Lakhs ex-showroom price during this week and next. While yet another review on Ford Fiesta may be boring for most readers, I have to record my findings here for immediate future reference(and comparison) which might lead to a final decision on the next car by June end.

*The josh continues.

*The car that I own right now is a Ford Ikon 1.6 ZXi and I love that machine for its driving experience. However, it's already running on an outdated engine technology and looks are totally obsolete as well. I thought of test driving the Fiesta 1.6 litre after reading a lot of good things about its drivability. Also, I wanted to experience the difference in'josh' between Ikon and Fiesta as early as possible before I move over to high power machines next week.

The machine and its looks

The variant that I picked for test driving was the Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi(100 BHP, 146Nm torque) which is more or less a fully loaded car compared to its peers. However, what you notice immediately is those funny looking wheel covers on a beast with small feet. Yes, Fiesta has much smaller tyres than what its size demands and by default SXi comes without alloy wheels. Apart from this, Fiesta sports a slightly modified Ikon looks - a classic shape that most Indians would love to see on our three-box cars(How many of us were really willing to accept the Honda City's shape initially? Weren't we all stuck with the concept of Maruti Esteem for years?). Please note that we are talking about a car that came to Indian markets four years back and hence its looks are slightly getting outdated but still manageable.

The front view is reasonably good with the modified clear headlamps and circular fog lamps complimenting each other very well and flanking an reasonably aggressive looking front grills and air dam. However, the Fiesta still has that long radio antenna that's packaged with Ikon - I hated to see that again! From the sides, it looks decent except for the small tyres and the rear is pretty much plain. I took the test drive at night and hence got to see the front and rear fog lamps in action. The headlamps and fog lamps of the Fiesta is far superior to that of the Ikon. I always had problems with night driving in my Ikon.

The driving experience

I had decided to call it quits(just kidding) after driving the Linea last week. Today, the Ford Fiesta actually managed to get me back to my good moods by providing one of the best driving experiences you can find int its class of vehicles(and at that price). From starting the machine to 80 km/hr was so smooth and I changed the gears four times in a matter of 7-8 seconds I felt. The gear stick(like Ikon) is a little longer but smoother. The steering was responsive though I liked the grips of my Ikon steering better. I was driving with four people in the car and it was moving really really smoothly. In between I switched on the A/C, restarted the car and found that it is dragging a little bit with A/C and four passengers. Just like my other test drives, I jammed the brakes from~80K and found that the brakes of the Fiesta are pretty goodbut I thought the Linea was a dash better as far as brakes are concerned. The Fiesta(19K kms done test car) stopped without much screaches and wobbling - thanks to the **ABS and EBD features(and the feeling of safety that the dual airbags add).The turning radius of Fiesta is just 4.90 meters and that makes it a great car to drive in the city. When it comes to the overall driving experience, the only thing that could be improved is a little better roadgrip on turns which could be solved by upsizing the tyres(Will talk about it later)

Build quality and interiors

I must say that the overall build quality of the Fiesta body is pretty good for the price it comes. However, the interiors are not all that great. The black and beige color combination is somehow camouflaging the bad parts. The black parts look decent while the beige areas at the lower part looks really pathetic - especially those doorside magazine folders and cup holders between the front seats(That block was actually moving a little bit - poor quality). Other examples of bad interior building are(a) Open the glove box and you can see the fuse box and the IC unit through the gap(b) there's a gap between the foldable back seat(i.e between sitting area and the leaning part).

The vinyl seats looked and felt reasonably good. When it comes to the controls I thought they are all positioned well and are accessible The Fiesta comes with a six speaker system with MP3/CD player/Radio and the sound quality was good. The pre-sales person told me that it is fitted with a Sanyo drive and Sony speakers.

*What's good and what's not?

What I liked the most about Fiesta is the **great overall driving experience. At no point of time, during my driving with four people, I felt any lack of power, dragging or the need to frequently change gears. Of course, the response was a little bad with A/C on and four people onboard but with normal driving conditions it should do great. The next best thing about the car is that it's an overall great packaging and a very very practical car. At seven lakhs ex-showroom price you get pretty much everything.

As for the dislikes, I already talked about the poor plastic quality and smaller tyres.

*How to configure your Ford Fiesta?

*Most of you know that there's a sports version(1.6 S) of Fiesta in the market. However, they sport 15" alloys and low profile tyres and may not be that great on Indian roads. I suggest the following configuration for your Fiesta 1.6SXi.

1) Change the stock 175x65 14" tyres to 195x60 14" - Something like Michelin would be awesome. Michelins are great to drive on both dry and wet conditions and also they reduce the road noise(Fiesta still has some road noise felt inside)

2) Change the steel wheels to alloys - Ford has a decent collection of alloys starting from 17, 000 to 34, 000 for four pieces.

3) If I were to pick a Fiesta, I would also add reverse parking sensors that come at 5-6 thousand rupees and that would make this car complete!

*Why am I rating it 4 out of 5?

The current ex-showroom price of the Ford Fiesta SXi is around 7 Lakhs in Bangalore and the Ford dealers are giving a **huge discount of Rs. 56, 000 on the Ex-price. Now, getting a 1.6 litre, powerful car(100 BHP, 0 to 100 at 11.5 seconds, 146Nm torque) that offers a great driving experience, reasonable passenger laxury with all those good features at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 6.5 Lakhs is really a great deal. Suddenly it has become a value for money car as well!

And you know what, I might as well dump the new Honda City(which would cost me 9.5 Lakhs ex-showroom with similar add-ons) for a Fiesta. Go Fida!

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