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Old 8th December 2006, 01:36   #1
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Default Verna CRDi V/s Fiesta TDCi - Initial driving impressions

I test drove the Verna amd Fiesta's diesel versions in the last two days. Basically, I was there to assist my friend in deciding between the two cars. I did not go out with any timing devices or other equipments. So no hardcore figures there. However a drive of around 3-4 kms on the wide empty roads of Gachibowli and Kukatpally Link Roads helped form an initial driver's impression. This is a document of this impression, in two parts.

Part - I (Verna - driver's impression)

First one was the Verna. We were asking Hyundai dealer here to send us a test car since last one week. Somehow it was not materializing. Got a feeling that the Hyundai dealer had too much on his plate. He took his own sweet time. Ultimately he sent us a spanking red test drive car with all the side stickers and Hyundai graphics on the bonnet. The odo said it has been driven more than 6000 kms. Yes the meters were all working. Car was in a very good condition though.

My friend took the driver's seat. I was at the back. The rear is spacious. You will expect nothing less from a 8lakh+ car. Seats were also firm, though not spindly. Lot of glass area all around. Adds to the feeling of spaciousness. However the only version of diesel has a plain boring black dashboard with two open slots to fit in the HU... company provides you the slot, thank you. The boot space is ok but nothing very great there.
As we hit the link road my friend stepped on the gas. The pull was immediate and vigorous. I felt the surging acceleration. All the glasses were rolled up. And yet I could hear some amount of engine noise. However it was the howl of the tires that was more disconcerting. After a few twisties and brakings and acceleration my friend nodded and asked me to take the driver's seat.

I belted up... The seat has a big travel. I had to pull the seat a little ahead. Again, shows that the car is not as small as it initially feels from outside. The seat height, the distance between the thighs and the steering column felt just right. Looking at the gears the first thing I realized is that the reverse is not in its more conventional position below 5th. Instead, it is at the extreme left, top. Also, it has that now frequently seen ring that needs to be pulled up to engage reverse.
As I gingerly left the curb the car smoothly started rolling. After an initial feel of the car I stepped on the pedal. I could feel the car leap ahead. Though that pushed-back-to-the-seat feeling was not there this time around. It seems to be a special effect meant for the back seat passengers as my friend acknowledged later. The steering is crisp. A smallish play and then the car responds, even to the minor twitches of the steering. And the way it does so is pretty nice. You get an immediate feedback even for the minor twists. The car is a hoot to throw around. You can actually make it dance the salsa. The gears are really good with nice short throws. Brakes are also pretty effective and at least on a straight drive and then hard braking does not make the car swerve at all. Although I had a feeling that on a speedy swerve if you panic brake the rear seems to feel a bit nervous. Somehow I had a feeling that more than the brakes it is that same steering that gets nervous at sharp twists and sudden brakes combo deals. With 4 passengers the car could pull ahead from a 25-30kmph speed even on the fourth gear. Anything less and you need to shift down to the 3rd.

As we ended the drive and stopped I again felt that the braking is pretty effective and brisk even though ABS is missing. And the doors close with a reassuring solidity when compared to the Accent.
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Old 8th December 2006, 01:38   #2
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Default Verna CRDi V/s Fiesta TDCi - part 2

Part - II (Fiesta's driving impression)

The dealer was very prompt. Within 1 hour of the call the car was there outside our office for the test drive. No elaborate badging for a test drive car. Just a white car with registration plate in place and all meters functional! It was a ZXi with ABS. Again the car was around 5000+ kms old but looked to be in good condition.

After Verna I was expecting the Fiesta to be a damp squib considering the meagre 68bhp output. However first things first. The car is cramped! And that is to put it mildly. With two people from the dealer, including a girl in pant-suit who seemed to be the supervisor, at the back along with me I had this umcomfortable feeling she was almost sitting on my laps! Also, the seat pitched a little backwards or pushed behind by a tall driver immediately scrapes your knees at the back. The story in front is also not very encouraging. The knees touch the steering column, even with the tiltable steering set up at its max up position. Seating is also pretty low and getting in and coming out of the car takes some effort.

The interiors and the fittings in general are top notch though. Compared to the boring dashboard of the Verna it has a dual tone dashboard with aluminium finish mixed with the black. Even the gear lever is in sporty aluminium finish. The dashboard has a Ford emblazzoned music system fitted into it. Anyday better than a skeletal open slot. The doors close with a very reassuring thud. And the boot is cavernous. In fact they should have tried to liberate some more space at the back by reducing the boot size. But then that would have probably meant a more upright rear windscreen and smaller parcel tray.

As I tried to ease the car of the curb the gear took some effort... It is not as smooth. Next, the car stalled. I wa s horrified. Not because I stalled the car but I was perplexed with the clutch. It is so heavy that you need to stand on it to make it depress. Next time I managed to pull off but not before telling the sales guy that the clutch is horrendously hard. As I started driving the next thing that had me swearing off was the gear's throw. It is very uncomfortable to hold... partly because it is so far ahead and so straight that you feel like you are driving one of those tempos or vikrams. On top of that it makes a lot of issue about shifting... No smooth throws here. You have to make an effort everytime you shift and the throws are longer than that of the Verna.

Compared to the monstrous 110bhp of the Verna a 68bhp engine of the Fiesta should be downright pedestrian, right? Wrong! I was surprised to find that this baby pulls. It may not be an eager sprinter a-la Ben Johnson but it definitely is no slouch. We had 5 people in the car and the AC on, and yet stepping on the gas had the car pull briskly. It is not as fast as the Verna. It can not be... but pedestrian it is not. However, the engine shows two different characteristic under different driving styles. If you drive like a gentleman you will never realize it is a diesel. The car is refinement personified. No engine noise, no tire howls. Its pretty quiet inside the cabin. However as soon as you want to be the next boy racer the engine changes course. It accelerates but with a massive whizing noise from the engine. In fact although it accelerates pretty fast the engine almost sounds out of breathe.

The brakes are a delight as much as the steering is. You can twist and turn the car as fast as you want and then stand on the brakes but the unflappable demeanour is maintained. The car firmly holds the course. Now I am not sure if it was majorly due to the fact that the car had ABS fitted. But if that is so then the ABS definitely makes a massive difference.

So having driven both the cars what did I feel, particularly considering the fact that the on-road price of the ZXi TDCi and the CRDi are about the same? If I were to buy one of these I will jump for the Verna CRDi. This inspite of the fact that Verna looks downright ugly when compared to the Fiesta's understated European looks. This is mainly for two reasons. One, Verna is a hoot to drive. Change those tires to something substantial and the car will be an absolute delight. Add to that at such premium pricing I will not buy a car that cringes on space. Fiesta is a squeeze when compared to the cavernous Verna.
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Old 8th December 2006, 02:05   #3
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yes compared to ford Verna is a better car and will be better till ford comes out with something resonabley powerfull but verna design is as uninspiring as fords punny disel one cant get the best of both worlds
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Old 8th December 2006, 10:30   #4
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Dude that is nice review, Hyundai is much better when it comes to diesel engines. Some how I like the looks of Verna, it got a different styling altogether. It looks small but actually its big :-) 4310L x 1695W x 1490H compared to Fiesta's 4282L x 1686W x 1468H
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Old 8th December 2006, 11:34   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santhoshx View Post
Dude that is nice review, Hyundai is much better when it comes to diesel engines. Some how I like the looks of Verna, it got a different styling altogether. It looks small but actually its big :-) 4310L x 1695W x 1490H compared to Fiesta's 4282L x 1686W x 1468H
A very good example of misleading numbers. I was suspecting how these numbers are measured for some time. I own a petra that is supposed to have a length of 4113 and a Honda City 4300+. That means a difference of about 20 cms, about 8 inches. Recently my neighbor bought a Honda City. I took this opportunity to compare them. I just parked my Petra next to City and realize there was hardly any difference in overall lengths of the cars. If at all there is any difference it would hardly be an inch.

The more usable numbers our manufacturers need to give are leg room & head room for front and rear which they generally dont.
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Old 8th December 2006, 12:15   #6
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Well Ford's one problem will remain if they launch the 1.6 engine which will be having a better performance. Thats the interior space issue mentioned in the review.
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Old 8th December 2006, 12:43   #7
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Nice review! I prefer the Verna's looks to the Fiesta's too.
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Old 8th December 2006, 12:56   #8
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A very useful review, and that too from a practical driver's point.
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Old 8th December 2006, 13:23   #9
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I have driven the fiesta for about 3 weeks and I thought that the gear shift was one of the best. Its pretty smooth. And yes fiesta is not as spacious as you feel it might be.
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Old 8th December 2006, 13:33   #10
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Vey nice comparo drive there Zappo. I have driven the TDCi but not the Verna yet. The Fiesta had good torque but i have no doubt about your observations that the Verna is miles ahead. Maybe I can contribute my 2 cents to this thread once I get behind the wheel of the CRDi Verna
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Old 8th December 2006, 16:13   #11
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Hey Zappo, very crisp & objective review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
Part - II (Fiesta's driving impression)
As I tried to ease the car of the curb the gear took some effort... It is not as smooth. Next, the car stalled. I wa s horrified. Not because I stalled the car but I was perplexed with the clutch. It is so heavy that you need to stand on it to make it depress.
I thought the Fiesta's gear shift is one of the best in its class, haven't heard about any clutch complaints either from our TBHPian brethren who own TDCI Fiestas - problem with the Test Drive car perhaps?
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Old 8th December 2006, 17:23   #12
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nice review man,thats why i took a verna vgt passion red .did almost 3500 kms and gives an ovwerall mileage of 17kms per litre and those kms are enjoyed kms not cursed kms .nice car cool performance.
ram
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Old 8th December 2006, 17:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Hey Zappo, very crisp & objective review


I thought the Fiesta's gear shift is one of the best in its class, haven't heard about any clutch complaints either from our TBHPian brethren who own TDCI Fiestas - problem with the Test Drive car perhaps?
Seems to be problem with the TD fiesta.
Our TDCi has one of the best clutches and gearboxes in the house. Everyone who has driven the car has only been in praise about it.
Try test driving another fiesta and then see.
When i went and saw the Verna, i hated its looks and interiors. Space was decent enough, more then the fiesta though but apart from the space and engine, i didn't see any other reason to buy the Verna.
The fiesta was a more comfortable and safer option than the Verna but that is only my opinion.
Different people have different views.
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Old 8th December 2006, 18:18   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
The fiesta was a more comfortable and safer option than the Verna but that is only my opinion.
Different people have different views.
Is Fiesta more safe compared to Verna? What are the additional safety features in Fiesta? I thought safety-wise both cars were of the same league.
Regarding comfort, I have gone through reviews recommening Fiesta for city driving and Verna for highway driving. From a drivers point of view, which is a better car?
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Old 8th December 2006, 18:45   #15
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Even i have test drove the Fiesta, the clutch and gearbox combo is the best in its class.... i think it was a problem with that particular car.
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