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Old 20th November 2005, 23:10   #1
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Default Ford Fiesta 1.4 - Petrol & Diesel Test Driven

Most sundays of my week have a test-drive component, and what better car to test today than Fords promising new C segment sedan. My best friend and I were so excited that we reached the Ford showroom in the early morning hours - before they had even opened up! After some idlis / south indian fare at a traditional outlet in Matunga, we headed back to Shaman Ford at Prabhadevi.

The Ford Fiesta

Looks

Unlike the New Honda Citys love me or kill me looks, the Fiestas' will please most. It is not overtly good looking and has a far amount of conservatism built in, which is probably good for a wider market appeal. The front end is great with the twin-focal headlamps; however its the rear that really makes this car. The lights seem straight out of the books of a Mercedes designer. Buttttttttttt the side profile is VERY bland with no design cues at all to liven things up. The doors have the new style handles which are now common on most new-gen cars including the Honda Accord.

One attribute that stands out in a negative way is the way the wheel archs protrude out of the body. This makes the 14 incher wheels look extremely puny, with the body coming out wider than the wheels (a la new Indicas). A serious 15 inch upgrade will be a must for most Team-BHPians.

Interiors

Plonk yourself in the drivers seat of the new Ford and you will immediately see a lot of parts from the Fusion / Mondeo bin. Its not a bad thing, and you would like to live with the modern design in your daily driving pattern. I especially liked the steering wheel which has a chunky feel to it, and the gear lever which is fun to throw around in high revvs. The dials are HUGE, with the overall dash board layout having a modern yet functional approach. There are several neat touches like the damped ashtray lid, the single cup holder which can expand into a two cup capacity and the rotary air-con vents.

The drivers seat arrangement and ergonomics are spot on. This is surely not a big car, and the rear seat legroom with me in the drivers seat was effectively nothing. Standard fare with most C segmenters including the NHC, Baleno and others. Later on, I sat on the back seat and found the rear bench angle EXTREMELY upright and uncomfortable! Its almost a 90 degree perpendicular. However, my friend did not have any such issues. He attributed my back seat complaint to the fact that I am used to a "sleeper" position while driving, and have never sat in the rear seat of any car in like almost ever!

It is also surprising that a full beige interior choice is not available even on top-end versions. Even manufacturers like Tata are offering beige interiors in the Indigo, while cars like the Optra/Accord/Camry/Mercs have adopted it long since. Grey is boring!

The final sore thumb is the cheap rubber beading used along the door pillar. I wouldnt be surprised if the supplier is the same as the Indicas.

Test Drive

We were disappointed that a 1.6 Petrol had yet to arrive at the showroom.

Firstly, the 1.4 Petrol. Normally the lesser engined variants are looked down upon and are termed as sluggish / underpowered. Let me assure you that this 1388 cc baby is NOT SLOW from any perspective. Even from the enthusiast point of view, it revvs really nice and has a smooth power delivery all through the revv range. It was actually a pleasure ripping the 1.4 up and down the empty Sunday streets of Bombay. Not only does the 1.4 love to high revv, but it is amazingly tractable in bumper to bumper traffic. The 1.4s duratec unit pumps out a healthy 82 BHP which is in tune with the NHCs 77 bhp. Butttttttttttt the Fiesta has a significantly more amount of punch. Mark my words, its a 1.4 petrol that is definitive for smaller engined variants.

The 1.4 Diesel impressed us equally much. Its seriously time to bid adieu to the Hyundai Accent CRDi (the only other diesel sedan from this bracket). We are talking refinement which is only available with the Skoda Octavia and above. Unsurprisingly, the unit is pretty torquey and revvs cleanly upto the 4500 rpm red line. There is absolutely no turbo lag - the result being that the driveability in the city is beyond excellence. I just have my doubts on the 68 bhp being good enough on highway runs.

Braking in either car is superb. I feel that the brake pedal is a tad over-servoed (which is my preference with the Vtec and the Jeep both set up in the same way).

The ride quality was extremely European in nature, with that sturdy and heavy feel which the Japanese can only dream about. It simply sails over the terrible bombay roads at speeds high and low. Overall, the car is well planted on the road.

The handling is not razor sharp, but it is good enough to please 99% of the car buying janta. However, the steering feels lifeless at some speeds and does not provide enough feedback to the driver.

This is one car that has each and every engine option as spot-on. The 1.4 is fantastic value for money at 6.36 lacs on the road in Mumbai. The diesel has a whopping 1.6 lac premium over the petrol, but this is the case with most common rail powerplants. Trust me, this is one machine that is going to shake up the C segment. It has mass appeal looks, superb build quality, fantastic interiors, a great choice of engines to suit varying preferences and ride quality to match. The positives of this Ford far outweigh the miscellaneous negatives.

Congratulations Mr. Ford. This is the first time you seem to have gotten an Indian product right.

Some high points

- The air-conditioner is mindblowing in effectiveness. This is a must in Indian conditions.

- It is actually the 1.4 and NOT the 1.6 which is the NHCs direct competitor. The power output is in the same range. And it is 1.5 lacs cheaper.

- Thumbs up to Ford for offering ABS as a Rs.28,000 option on the 1.6 and the diesel. Thumbs down for not offering it on the 1.4

- Ford has had a HUGE oversight in not giving the same equipment level to the 1.4, as the 1.6. Even GM realised with the Optra that a smaller engine does not equate to a smaller equipment level. Most people will opt for the 1.6 only because of the additional fitments which cant necessarily be had in the after market. Atleast offer a 1.4 ZXI as an option, Ford.

- A true all-rounder. 'Nuff said.

GTO

Edit on 8th March 2006. : A highly detailed comparo between the Fiesta and the NHC has been uploaded to this post as an excel sheet attachment. All credit to Team-BHP "Suman" for preparing the same. Thanks!
Attached Files
File Type: xls Ford_Fiesta_Vs_Honda_GXi.xls (24.5 KB, 1798 views)
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Old 20th November 2005, 23:35   #2
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Wow! Great review GTO, you managed to post the first T-BHP review on Fiesta.

So we have a winner here, if 1.4 is so good, I wonder how will the 1.6 perform.
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Old 20th November 2005, 23:52   #3
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Great review there, GTO. And great car there, Ford!

Looks like we have a winner on our hands, gentlemen!
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Old 20th November 2005, 23:55   #4
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Fantastic review GTO! Did the salesman make any tall claims about the fuel efficiency of the diesel? Because if it were nearly as good as the speculation going around here, Ford will go shouting over the rooftops about it (this,after all, is India). So far, none of the ads I have seen mentioned the fuel efficiency.
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Old 21st November 2005, 00:02   #5
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Nice review GTO. Looks like Ford does indeed have a winner on its hands there. If the 1.4 is competition to the NHC then I guess the 1.6 will blow it away. Hope to get my hands on it soon
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Old 21st November 2005, 00:04   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sajo
Did the salesman make any tall claims about the fuel efficiency of the diesel? Because if it were nearly as good as the speculation going around here, Ford will go shouting over the rooftops about it (this,after all, is India). So far, none of the ads I have seen mentioned the fuel efficiency.

The best ad for FE is word of mouth. If the car is half as good as the claims, it wont need any advertising.
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Old 21st November 2005, 00:07   #7
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Fiesta has really upped the ante and by giving 3 engine options, they are covering all bases. The 1.6 will compete with the new OHC Vetc but should come in cheaper.

I am disappointed to learn that the engineers have tuned out the sharp handling that the international Fiesta is known for. I guess the old Ikon still remains the raw josh machine. At least they should have given some fat rubber and sharpened the handling of the 1.6 and made it a sports sedan.
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Old 21st November 2005, 02:28   #8
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Great Review GTO. Thanks for taking the effort to write it all down.

Quote:
It is actually the 1.4 and NOT the 1.6 which is the NHCs direct competitor. The power output is in the same range. And it is 1.5 lacs cheaper
That's the same impression i had when i test drove it.
(http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/showpo...&postcount=305)

It's much faster than the NHC and maybe even the Accent.

Excellent AC(maybe even better than the Baleno),brakes and sporty gearshift were the things i liked most.

I think 1.4 makes a very compelling and pragmatic option at 5.6 L exshowroom - hopefully the FE will not be the weak point here.

Kudos to Ford for getting the Car right-both as a product and with the price.

Last edited by imjimmy : 21st November 2005 at 02:31.
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Old 21st November 2005, 02:59   #9
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hey gr8 reviews GTO...
well it definately is intresting to have another CRDi on the road in C segment. after a long time we have some competition for the accent CRDi.as u said......

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
The 1.4 Diesel impressed us equally much. Its seriously time to bid adieu to the Hyundai Accent CRDi (the only other diesel sedan from this bracket). We are talking refinement which is only available with the Skoda Octavia and above. Unsurprisingly, the unit is pretty torquey and revvs cleanly upto the 4500 rpm red line. There is absolutely no turbo lag - the result being that the driveability in the city is beyond excellence. I just have my doubts on the 68 bhp being good enough on highway runs.
GTO
i really doubt if the fiesta beats the accent CRDi in performance ...imean

firstly, we have 1.5cc engine as compared to a 1.4 of fiesta
secondly, 82bhp to 68 of the newbie
and TORQUE, 19.1 t0 16 of the duratorq....

i guess the specs arent too convincing to beat the former....but definately are GOOD. i do agee tht it scores big time where interiors n looks are concerned...
and YES the fiesta does hav a nice butt

all in all it is a good package to go at....unless the accent makes some serious facelift plans....
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Old 21st November 2005, 03:16   #10
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EXCELLENT, GTO.

No one could have summed up better. U need to be getting paid for this,man. I mean it.

Coming to the topic, The diesel should definitely be a clear winner since its developed by Peugeot - citroen. This i'm saying because the Peugeot's TUD5 was the favourite for manufacturers sometime back. The esteem D, Zen D, Accent DLS,... all had this very very frugal engine. Guess, its gonna be the same with the 1.4 duratorq too.

I can see that the duel will go on as :

Fusion 1.4 petrol vs NHC 1.5 DSi
Fusion 1.6 petrol vs NHC 1.5 vtec (maybe baleno would be in the race too!)
Fusion 1.4 diesel vs Accent CRDi


Question:

1) Are they discontinuing Ikon 1.3?
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Old 21st November 2005, 03:37   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_baghe
firstly, we have 1.5cc engine as compared to a 1.4 of fiesta
secondly, 82bhp to 68 of the newbie
and TORQUE, 19.1 t0 16 of the duratorq....
Another point in favor of Crdi is that it has a 4 valve cylinder head as opposed to the 2 valve Ford. Ford is also missing an intercooler I believe....not to mention the additional friction from the additional cyliner. Hence the low torque.
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Old 21st November 2005, 04:12   #12
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Nice review.
GTO - any idea about waiting time/delivery time for the Fiesta?..is it more for the diesel option?..
Honda should learn from Ford to offer ABS as an option..their City ZX is priced a lot more than the Fiesta,but yet they don't offer that..even for their new City ZX !!!

sr
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Old 21st November 2005, 08:04   #13
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A good review, GTO.

It is heartening to know that major Auto makers are taking the Indian Market more seriously.

After driving the Fusion+ for the last 10 months over 13K kms,
I can Imagine how the 1.6L will behave.

Hope Ford brings in the Focus too and some big ones like Taurus,
an Indianized Mustang(Me and my High Hopes)
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Old 21st November 2005, 08:27   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
Buttttttttttt the side profile is VERY bland with no design cues at all to liven things up. The doors have the new style handles which are now common on most new-gen cars including the Honda Accord.

One attribute that stands out in a negative way is the way the wheel archs protrude out of the body. This makes the 14 incher wheels look extremely puny, with the body coming out wider than the wheels (a la new Indicas). A serious 15 inch upgrade will be a must for most Team-BHPians.

Interiors

The final sore thumb is the cheap rubber beading used along the door pillar. I wouldnt be surprised if the supplier is the same as the Indicas.

GTO
The above points are significant to note, I've not had a test drive yet, but have been to the showroom around 3 times for about 30 minutes each.

I really find the side on profile to be really sad. Baleno, A generation old in terms of exterior design (imho) has a better Side on profile.

The Wheel arches a la Mondeo also are not suitable due to car's shorter length vis a vis the Mondeo.

The rubber beading, the semi beige/grey, are all neither class leading or awe inspiring.

I have not driven the car and would perhaps love the car after the drive akin to GTO but on paper I find it hard to believe that it will be an enthusiasts choice for the reasons below:

1. why would Petrolheads (one with a budget) would go in for the fiesta 1.4 instead of a Baleno lxi.the cars are in thesame price band. The fiesta though is about 30-40 grand more and less powerfull too

2. Why would The dieselheads not prefer Accent Crdi in terms of powerband as the 68 bhp Tdci motor will definitely not compare with 82 bhp crdi one.

3. Ford India brand has been infamously associated with class leading maintenance costs. which would also be a put off factor.

I am sure of one thing though, This car would be a big hit with the 6- 8 lakh budget walli janta as it offers show sha giri beyond a baleno and the diesel would definitely offer more mileage
some thing that most of the janta would love.

cheers

P.S: Hope the team doesn't tear me apart for the critical views on the Baleno's exterior's
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Old 21st November 2005, 08:52   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by islandman
P.S: Hope the team doesn't tear me apart for the critical views on the Baleno's exterior's
Not at all, the Baleno's side profile is one of the best among the cars that are available minus the 13 inch wheels maybe. The only sore part being the stupid tail lamps. The side lines of the Baleno in a way reminds me of the BMW3 series. Then again many may disagree but am with u on this one
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