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Old 20th May 2010, 18:58   #16
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Ikon 1.6 was the first car which I enjoyed driving

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Originally Posted by Damu View Post
And right you are to celebrate its 10th year - how many of the Ford "haters" can point to another car that is still selling after 10 years in this heavily competitive market?
There are lots apart from the one mentioned above.

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Old 20th May 2010, 19:03   #17
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Great Writeup!

"You try to be careful with it, yet you are carefree with it."
This is what actually happens with me. I try not to rev it and drive slow but then I can't control myself, after a few mins and it has to happen, I shift it in "J" mode
Josh!!


Filled some JOSH in me.
Thanks!
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Old 20th May 2010, 20:08   #18
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CONCEIVEMENT OF AN IKONIC PROJECT

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The Ikon came at a time when the Indian automobile industry was beginning to mature. One year back saw a plethora of small cars hit the market and the year next, a new segment-that of entry level C segment sedan was beginning to take shape.
Ford India's innings started in less than stellar note when it launched its Escort in 1996. Dull to look at, dull to drive with underpowered engines, sparse level of equipment and a high price kept potential buyers away who kept on lapping loaded Cielos and Astras and those who cannot afford high price-the esteems. Even the 1.6 Zetec escort failed to ignite the market and it simply flopped.
More smackdown in its face came in 1998 when two Japanese atom bombs-the Honda City and Mitsubishi Lancer took the market by storm and wiped off both the astra and escort out of the market.

Meanwhile, behind the curtains, Ford was working on a midsized car project exclusively for the booming Indian market.
The lessons learnt from Escort dictated that the mass market is in need of an inexpensive 3 box sedan which is good to look at, packed with decent level of equipment, fun to drive and spacious and comfortable, while at the same time being adequately powerful and decently efficient.
Ford had one ace up its sleeve-sterling customer satisfaction as the inaugural JD power CSI study ranked the then JV Mahindra Ford as number one in total customer satisfaction, which Ford heavily advertised to win back customers.

Design and Development


For the development of the ikon, Ford turned onto its operations in western Europe where its Fiesta nameplate was selling extremely well. Known there for excellent driving dynamics, design, ruggedness and simple mechanicals which are easy on maintenance.
Quiet simply, sticking a boot on MK 4 Fiesta wasn't an easy task. So, Ford engineers went back to the drawing board and redesigned the car entirely from the B pillar onward. In the pics shown, the front end is identical to the MK4 fiesta which had just received facelift internationally and incoporated Ford's new edge design theme which debuted internationally on its focus nameplate in 1998.
Full of new gen creases, this design was chosen keeping in mind Ford's target market of all kinds of audience, both young and old alike.
Engineers from Ford India, western Europe, South Africa and Australia worked jointly on the ikon project, which was derived from Ford's B platform (underpinnings of MK4 Fiesta) and converted into the C platform, for segmentation.
The platform internally was codenamed C195.
the ikon has a completely new roof, rear doors, rear quarter panel, the mandatory tailgate and bumper and is built on an extended wheelbase compared to the MK4 fiesta, a key component t increase rear passenger space. In fact, the car was so superbly designed that for 1999, it looked pretty futuristic, funky, youthful and extremely well proportioned, crucial in winning those showroom battles. The dart shaped bodyside moulding added to the character of the car and lessened the visual bulk.
Testing began in early 1998 and heavily cobbled up mules were being extensively tested across the length and breadth of the country, VRDE at Ahmednagar etc.
I remember getting the first glimpse of the ikon at age 14 when I purchased the then newly introduced overdrive magazine sometime in early 1999 which carried out the first spy pics of C195 in testing. It looked so ugly in disguise that I thought-"another escort in the making"!
Meanwhile, while the escort was assembled at a JV plant in Nashik, for the ikon, Ford India was setting up a fully fledged manufacturing facility at Maramalainagar, near Chennai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu with an initial capacity of 50,000 units which can be expanded depending upon the demand.

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Engineering


If a car was designed to look good, it must also be engineered with a go to match the show. But at the same time, the cost target was also strict for the project.
So, Ford came up wit an innovative set of power trains to power the ikon. It turned up to its South African operations which had just inaugurated an engine plant and was starting to produce Ford's new family of ROCAM engines which were to be used in a variety of Ford cars that were sold in SA.
Ford wisely decided to chose its 1.6 version of this superb motor. The ROCAM engine stands for Rollifinger Camshaft, since its camshaft is driven by a chain instead of a belt. Originally developed by Ford Brazil, it is a relatively simple low cost motor with nothing new in terms of technology.
It has only 2 valves per cylinder, a single overhead camshaft, and is an iron block motor instead of an all aluminum one.
But the addition of rollifinger camshaft has one great advantage-immense torque output at all rpm bands, crucial for pickup.
It displaced 1597cc and output was 91bhp@5500 rpm.Torque figures are unknown to me.
For the mileage conscious, the escort's hardy 1.8 endura diesel was retained.
While nothing spectacular in terms of tech, this diesel mill had proved well itself as an endurance runner in many escorts and gained a reputation for being a solid reliable workhorse with decent mileage, provided its maintained well.
It produced a modest 60 bhp, but the ikon being a full 180 kilos lighter, performance is stated to be better.

The lower midsize segment just started to grow with the addition of Fiat Siena and Hyundai Accent to existing players-the Maruti esteem and Daewoo Cielo, which had just turned the market in doldrums when its price of the GLE variant was dropped by a whopping Rs. 1,30,000 to 4,90,000, from an earlier of 6,20,000. Competition was beginning to be intense.

Now that we have seen the design and development of the car's exteriors and engine, its time to step inside and also see the underpinnings.
But before that, its time for some refreshments and that joshila break.

Stay tuned as we return under the skin to see the inside story, up in the next part.


Last edited by sidindica : 20th May 2010 at 20:10.
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Old 20th May 2010, 20:53   #19
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Thanks for another great read, Sid! I have always thought that the Ikon is one of the best looking sedans in India. I finally went and bought one from the used market a few of months ago, and it has been giving me great driving pleasure since. I absolutely love the car, in spite of the little issues that I have to take care of now and then.
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Old 20th May 2010, 21:33   #20
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I was waiting for a thread like this from you;Brilliant Sid! I'm glued to this thread now

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damu View Post
A
And right you are to celebrate its 10th year - how many of the Ford "haters" can point to another car that is still selling after 10 years in this heavily competitive market?
Ouch, the numbers/facts won't support you From the year the Accent and Ikon were born, the Accent has won the sales game consistently. Even last month!

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Originally Posted by Gilead View Post
Since your car needs a suspension job, I think the new owner will have tears as well.... when he visits the A.S.S.
I agree. But that's what the Ikon is all about - You'll Love it and hate it at the same time!

There are some cars which make you feel that they are an extension of your body. The Ikon is one such car.
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Old 21st May 2010, 01:39   #21
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Sid,
beautiful write up!
The Ikon was the first car we bought from Ford, back in 2000. It was a green 1.6 ZXi.
Over years of personal use, followed by office abuse, the car still kept me smiling the last time I drove her.
In fact, we were so impressed by the Ikon, that we bought another one the following year, discounting all the other competitors.
Best rear seat, amazing performance, amazing handling, and built like a tank!
My friend had an Ikon and he took it over those small dividers, met with many accidents, and even then it would put a lot of cars to shame.
Ever since the Ikon, we have never looked back and have had at least one Ford in the family in the last 10 years.
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Old 21st May 2010, 08:31   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilead View Post
800, Alto, Santro.. I suppose I am a Ford 'hater' now
Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerHead View Post
There are lots apart from the one mentioned above.

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Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Ouch, the numbers/facts won't support you From the year the Accent and Ikon were born, the Accent has won the sales game consistently.
Gentlemen,

You are all absolutely correct, but that is not at all the context of my remark (which I should have explained properly). My remark was in context of the thread topic and was purely with respect to the Ikon's direct competitors as "drivers cars" in its price segment, and not all cars. Of this group, only one has matched the Ikon in longevity, and that is the very, very good and sadly under-rated Maruti Esteem. The others in this group, all excellent cars BTW, did not last long. Even the Esteem is strictly speaking not in this category as it was in a lower price bracket (which makes that car a classic all by itself). In this context, my observation is not wrong, is it?

@Gilead : Ikon and Fiesta (and Figo and anything else Ford) fans are all of the same blood. They love their cars because of the handling characteristics and performance. So there cannot be "haters" amongst the Ford-ies! (and, BTW, how's your Lady in Blue? Looking forward to an update!).

I didn't want to use the term "haters", I would have preferred "detractors" but I do know people who just hate not only the Ikon but anything that's spelt "F-O-R-D". I have come across people who sneer at me merely because I say the Ikon is a good car. Agree with me?


Cheers
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Old 21st May 2010, 09:43   #23
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Hi Sid,

Thanks for the turning the nostalgia on!
I completely agree that Ford Ikon was a wonderful car to drive and has loads of power, performance and stability.

My car pictures which now is with my cousin after 7 years of my ownership are attached. I Love this Car!!

Regards,

getSurya
Attached Thumbnails
An Ikonic Story-ikon-783.jpg  

An Ikonic Story-ikon-b-783.jpg  

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Old 21st May 2010, 13:17   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang.101 View Post
Wow Sid! Awesome stuff! I am selling my ikon 1.6 after driving it for 8 years & i literally had tears in my eyes after reading this
I can relate to that. I still kick myself for having sold my Ikon 1.6 ZXi. Yes, it did have its drawbacks. The brakes were not the best and the resale value was..er, of not much value.

But this car was a hoot to drive. The engine was responsive, the exhaust sporty, the handling crisp, the steering felt alive in your hands and the gears slotted with a 'click'. My then girlfriend used to compete with the josh machine to vie for my attention.
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Old 21st May 2010, 13:22   #25
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THE INSIDE STORY

An Ikonic Story-dsc00792.jpg

Designing the insides of a car built to a cost and targeted at wide audience is no easy task. The ikon's interiors carry the oval theme with a streamlined dashboard lifted from the MK4 fiesta, but it does have some India speciic changes.
The best part is a dedicated AC vent atop the centre vents for rear seat passengers, the chauffeur driven owners being the obvious target, then the co drver side dashboard area has been scooped in such a way that the panel does not interfere with the knee, thereby increasing legroom and knee room for the front passenger. A shelf atop the glovebox is provided to keep he stuff and the driver enjoys decent all round ergonomics, save for the atrocious rear visibility, thanks to a high bootlid and sloping rear parcel tray.
Splashes of silver paneling around the console and class first white dials are obvious sporty design touches, so does the multicolored seat upholstery. Overdone at best, yet youthful to look at, obviously inspired from the josh theme.

But the car reeked of cost cutting. Cheap shiny plastics, cardboard door trims, no boot lid opener and absence of rear defogger is not something you expect from a three box car. Worse, only one reverse light!!!!

Whatever the issues may be, the interior had two nice traits, equally to impress all clientele-the superb driving position and awesome rear seat comfort.

The driver's seat is set low, like in a typical sports car, steering was a bit over sized but grip levels are amazing and soft to touch, whereas the rear seat has amazing leg room, its 2486mm wheelbase playing a large part, and its 27.5 degree of inclination is very comfortable, in fact for 2 persons, it could be termed as best in class that time. The middle squab is flat for the third passenger, though width could have been better.
Interior dimensions too were decent with the front headroom at 982mm, rear headoom at 968 mm, maximum front legroom at 1036 mm and shoulder room at 1325 mm.

The power window switches are another ergonomic mess, placed so low that only we humans with orangutan sized arms would be able to reach for them...come on ford..

Same goes for rear integrated head restraints, their diminutive size made them as neck restraints at best. Yet, overall the interior is a mixed bag of pros and cons.

Under the skin

An Ikonic Story-dsc01061.jpg

The ikon rides on an extended wheelbase of the MK4 fiesta's floorpan, which itself was panned in the early 90s in the MK2 fiesta, with heavily modifications being carried out in every variation. But who cares, as long as the car is supposed to be fun to drive..
The front is equipped with Independent McPherson struts with separate sub-frame and hydraulic dampers, whereas the rear does with a cost effective Heavy duty twist-beam with strut-type coil spring and damper units. Further to cut costs also meant cutting corners, like an absence of anti roll bar.
The ikon weighed about a tonne, pretty much the norm for this class of cars, only the siena being the heaviest at 1.2 tonnes.

Time for countdown to the launch of this car having decent dimensions of 4145 mm length, 1632 mm width and 1439 mm height with a segment leading 2486 mm wheelbase.

Pre launch first drive


An Ikonic Story-dsc01085.jpg

Autocar India, in their inaugural September 1999 issue carried out a world exclusive first drive of Ford's made for India Ikon and billed it as "Ford's mid size masterstroke for India."
(If anyone has that article, request to kindly scan it and post it here.)

The car looked great, had a nice shiny glossy silver paint finish, sporty interior and great all round talents that praised the critics, who also praised its handling and called it immensely fun to drive.

The competition has now intensified, with the ikon entering this ever crowded entry midsize segment already occupied by
  • Cielo (1.5 GL, GLE and GLX),
  • Maruti Esteem (1.3 LX, VX and AX A/T),
  • Fiat Siena (1.3P ED, EL, ELX/SP and 1.7D EL, ELX/SP)
  • Hyundai Accent (1.5 GLE and GLS)
But the big question remains unanswered:
  • How many variants will the ikon be available
  • what is the expected price band?
  • How will the public react to it?
Before we answer all these questions, its time that we take a break.

Take some refreshments, recharge and then aao josh mein...


(ikon pics courtesy member vivekji05)


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Old 21st May 2010, 13:39   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
But the car reeked of cost cutting. Cheap shiny plastics, cardboard door trims, no boot lid opener and absence of rear defogger is not something you expect from a three box car. Worse, only one reverse light!!!!

The power window switches are another ergonomic mess, placed so low that only we humans with orangutan sized arms would be able to reach for them...come on ford..
I guess I just got lucky with my 2001 ZXi model. By then they had added a boot release, a defogger and an additional reverse light AND the power window switches were still placed on the driver side door handle/armrest. In later models, this was moved way down as can be seen in the above picture. Fog lamps were also standard equipment on the ZXi by then and whats more, i got those gorgeous 13' Ford OE alloys free, as part of a promotion!

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Old 21st May 2010, 13:44   #27
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Some of the earlier Ikons also didnt have a left side ORVM. Truly, a no-frills version.
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Old 21st May 2010, 14:19   #28
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I had one... Steel Mist Silver Grey was the color,Bought on 05/05/05, I remember the satisfaction i had on buying the josh machine, the only regret at times was that i bought the one with a smaller heart. The drive was always more than satisfactory, it was the upkeep which was a little beyond the reach of a normal service class guy. I drove it till 90k kims and sold it for 1.75 lakhs to the first buyer who responded to the advertisement. But i still remember it for how i enjoyed it and my dad for how costly it was to maintain it.
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Old 21st May 2010, 14:58   #29
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Our 2000 Ikon was actually the first generation in the market. I am quite sure it had both the mirrors, and an internal boot release. Also, the PW switches were in the same position as in the picture.
However, there were various trims. IIRC, it was the 1.3 CLXi that did not have both the mirrors and boot release.

Our 2001 Ikon was the second generation (as in face lift) and featured better upholstery, 2 reverse lights. Also, it had its engine tweaked for better FE IIRC. It wasn't as sprightly as the first version.
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Old 21st May 2010, 15:51   #30
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There are few things in the world which once experienced or owned cannot be forgotten..IKON is one of them, for the sheer pleasure, thrill , presence or the pain(cost of ownership) it offered.
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