My Fiesta 1.6 SXI enters the teenage years
Hey guys. It's been over a year since I've owned this beauty, but never got enough time to give it what it deserves--a review. But whenever I clean it in the morning, I get a kind of feeling that she's begging me for a review. So here goes.
It was in end of Jan, 2007 that I started feeling the need for a second car, and it had to be a sedan. My WagonR was entering its 7th year in July, and I needed one more car so that my wife and son could use the Waggie. I'd owned an 800 for 12 years prior to the Waggie. So the hunt for a sedan began, with a budget of 8 lacs. My wife was more interested in a Civic. So was I, but budget was the constraint. That apart, I had read some reviews about all Hondas bottoming out quite often on Indian roads, save the CRV
My daily run being around 28 kms did not justify a diesel, though I did TD a Verna diesel after reading rave reviews on this forum. Though I liked the rocket, my kids at the back were not quite enthusiastic about it, as they said they could feel the vibrations in the stomach, and were getting swayed by the car at the rear. So among petrol sedans, my choice
lay between the Verna, Ford Fiesta, Ikon,City, Esteem, Baleno and the Aveo. I did not like Indigo one little bit, so never even had it in my mind. To be frank, I don't even know if they have a petrol version of the Indigo.
I ruled out Esteem and Baleno as they were getting phased out soon, and found their looks too mundane. Ikon was also ruled out as it only had a 1.3 version, and had lower fuel efficiency than the Fiesta, though I still like its looks, despite being dated. So it finally boiled down to the NHC Vtec, Verna, the Fiesta 1.6 and the Aveo 1.6 (I wanted a car
more powerful than the 1.4 versions, where available). I also knew that the SX4 was being launched in a few months' time, but did not like the looks I could sneak at in youtube and other sites.
Among the 4, I found the looks of the Aveo most inspiring, followed by the Fiesta. The interiors of the Aveo also held me in awe, but the Fiesta's sxi version also held a special appeal. I did not like the looks of the Verna that much (no offence to Verna owners)...the front grill looked like a Santro's grill, and I did not like the dashboard tilted towards the driver, as in the Ikon (my personal opinion, though). Only thing I liked in the Verna was that the rear seat felt more roomy, and the driver's armrest was a real boon for long distance driving.
As for the NHC, I did not like its rear, despite the new 'wrap around' tail
lights.But the interior was the roomiest and classy, though I did not find the stock Alpine ICE good either to look at or to listen to. I finally narrowed down to TD the NHC Vtec, the Aveo and the Fiesta 1.6 sxi, after lot of research on this forum, and other sites like bsmotoring, etc.
The Aveo was very comfy and roomy on the driver's seat, but the drive was not that great. The gear shift was clumsy --reminded me of my Waggie, and I did not find it that great to drive when compared to the Fiesta 1.6. I then TD'd the NHC vtec and found it to be quite good to drive. Its rear seats were the roomiest of all the sedans in that segment. It had a pretty good gear shift too. However it was priced around 1 lakh more than the other cars, and did not have basic features like ABS and airbags. The steering was light and easy to handle, but I felt feedback was lacking at high speeds. My kids did not like the arm rest at the rear dropping onto the seat, and were all gaga over the Fiesta. I also
felt the Fiesta was more fun to drive, and I loved the raspy sound at high rpms. This apart, for a lakh less I was getting ABS, EBD, alloys, better sounding 6 cd player, and small but great features like DTE, outside temperature, etc.
My heart and kids said 'Go for Fiesta' , while my mind favoured the Honda. I thought I should do my heart a favour :)
So I TD'd the sxi once again to confirm that I was not having illusions. My kids were gung ho about it. I really freaked out at the power delivery of the car in all gears, even with AC on. When compared with the WagonR, where there is almost a 30% perceived drop in power in 2nd gear when the AC is switched on, I found hardly found any drop on the sxi. I also liked the sound of the stock 6 cd changer, though I was disappointed that it does not play mp3s...not very different from higher end cars like the Embera. The system however sounded far better than that in the Corolla and the Embera.
So I went ahead and booked it---1.6 sxi, Paprika Red,with ABS and alloy wheels. I was informed that I would need to wait for 5 days so that the car would be despatched to Hyd from Chennai. A day later, the salesman from Mody Ford called me to inform that the sxi now comes with ABS as default, and no alloy wheels. Till Feb, 07, alloys were default,
but ABS was optional. Since I wanted both, it did not make a difference to me. I applied for a loan from ICICI, and gotit in 5 days, not 3 as promised. Only gripe was that they delayed it for 2 days and sanctioned the loan with 1% higher interest, as it had just increased that day. I was not happy with them, but that is another story.
So finally, Mar 14th was the d-day. I informed my boss that I would be leaving early that day. But soon as I reached office that day, I found a meeting invite for 6 pm with US folks. I declined and my boss asked me not to worry. So off I went with wife and kids and took delivery at 6 pm---the car was bedecked with flowers and a good ribbon. One thing
that bothered me was that I would need to pass through Begumpet flyover, and that was the most crowded time to do so. So I took the longer route home via Necklace road and tanked up, as I was curious to know its FE in the coming days. A few days later, it turned out to be 12 with 70% AC, much higher than my expectation. It was almost equal to my Waggie. To be honest, I expected around 9 or 10.
Despite taking all precautions of driving a bigger car, the first 3 months saw my car taking 5 hits--all at the rear left. The
first and 4th hit did not make any imprint--boy, the car is tough-- but the one by an 800 on my rear bumper and by an
auto on my rear left door, and one more by a mobike on my left rear quarter panel needed attention. With some clever jugglery of words, I made it appear in the insurance claim that all 3 were one accident,and it was promptly attended to by ICICI lombard and Mody Ford. I had to shell out 1000 bucks though, as the claim fee was 500 only for below 1.5
horsepower vehicles. I had to shell out another 1000 bucks on a claim in October as a motorbike swiped my left doors on the Warangal highway.
I've been enjoying driving her each and every day. I've taken her to Srisailam, Warangal and Mumbai for long drives, and the FE ranged from 14 to 16.5, depending on the speed of driving, and ghat sections involved. I never got more than 17 on my WagonR so far on long drives, so that would be a good benchmark for comparision.
So here is a quick review of the goods and the bads, after covering 8500 kms:-
1. Excellent to drive, both in city and on the highway. Just floor the pedal and watch the traffic gasping to keep up in the rear view mirrors. Few cars can match its monstrous pickup. Low end grunt is also great.
2. Superb gear shift..real butter smooth.
3. Lovely handling.
4. Good turning radius. I need to turn the steering less for a U turn compared to the WagonR.
5. Great feedback from the steering at high speeds, unlike what you get with EPS cars like the Waggie.
6. Very decent FE, unlike other 1.6 sedans. The worst I got was 10.5, with 100% AC, in a week when I had to go through several traffic jams near Punjagutta.
7. Excellent ride.
8. Folding rear seats a real boon for carrying large objects and luggage.
9. Decent interiors and exteriors in the sxi model---I mean the chrome lining, leather covered steering, leather vinyl seat covers, etc. I did not have to spend anything after buying this model---I mean on seat covers, ICE, etc.
10 Electronically controlled OVRMs are a great feature.
11. Loads of other features like outside temp display, DTE, lights on warning, fog lights, rear defroster,programmable wiper speed , remote boot release,etc, some of which are not even mentioned in the manual.
1. Wipers and turn signals on the wrong side. Though I got used to this pretty fast, I am wary of lending my car to others. My BIL took it for a small ride. I warned him about this, but he calmed me saying he had owned a Mitsubishi Eclipse in the US. But in a 1 km run, he put the wipers on twice while he wanted to turn. Ouch, that hurt! Reason for his
error--he now owns an Alto for the past 3 year. I checked and was releived to find there was no mark on the windscreen. Phew !
2. Bonnet release on the wrong side. Not a great detriment to me, as I have opened it only 4 times over the past year.
3. Some small obstruction at the left of the clutch prevents you from pressing the clutch fully with the middle of your foot---instead you need to use the tip of the foot to avoid that thing. I am told this is in the SX4 also---is it the steering rod? I got used to this change pretty fast. So I was taken aback when my son, who got a rare chance to drive it (he
drives the Waggie often), said the gear shift is not that good. I asked him to drive and realized that he was making the same mistake--pressing the clutch with the middle of the soul. Because of that obstruction, he was pressing it half way
and trying to change the gear. After I coached him, he realized his folly and now finds the gears butter smooth.
4. Cannot call this a con, but reverse gear was a bit difficult to engage when starting the car in the morning. They fixed this in the 1 year service. Another issue was a squeak from the rear. This too got fixed---it was coming from the rear seat harness.
Maintenance has not been as alarmingly costly as Ford cars are supposed to be, but definitely higher than the WagonR. I spent Rs 1674 on the 3 rd service for oil changes, etc, and around 3000 on the one year service, which also includes wheel balancing, rotation, alignment, oil change, AC filter change, oil filter change, labour charges, etc.
Well that's it for now,guys. More later, after munching more miles. I have not posted pics of the car, as they are already in my album. Ciao !
Good review Vnabhi.
Good that you followed your heart - you tend to appreciate it in the long run!
Its great to know that ABS is default and not the alloys. Seems like there is someone out there who values safety vs good looks features.
Great review manclap:I know how you feel about the car cos I own a 1.4 Fiesta Zxi-i just don't wanna get out of the car.It's like my personal space!Simply love-can't think of 1 reason to regret buying it.:thumbs up
Good report. I too own a Ford but an Ikon. Most of the points in your pros almost matches to that of my thinking. Its a nice car to drive with and very pleasent experience except for its spare parts and FE.
Great detailed review clap:. I am getting one soon, an zxi with a 1.6 heart though, and cant stop dreaming about the beauty day and night :)
Thanks guys. I know that 'owning is believing' feeling.
For those of you who are buying the babe, you will not regret it one bit, I assure you. Go ahead n rip 'er !!
great write up vnabhi. have fun munching more miles :)
Sure, will do Karandeep81.
praveen_v, when are you gonna get your beast, or 'beasta' as someone in this forum called it?
Are they offering any freebies now?
Didnt get any freebies but got a corporate cash discount of around 38K. So it's 6.72L on-road in chennai. The dealer said since they are offering the corporate discount they directly give the details to Ford and blah blah and said that they dont get any dealer margins on this case.
He showed me the corporate offer pricelist and it has caetogorized companies according to the induvidual sales they get from each company. This price i beleive, is fixed by ford and I found it to be common across the two dealerships here.
So i chose to put the few accessories from the discount I got. The spoiler, fog lamp and the side door moulding with body color which comes to 17K i think.
And I'm still in confusion about the ICE setup thanks to all the ICE gurus here lol:
Should hopefully get the delivery in 2 weeks after the loan formalities are completed.
The sales guy who sold me the ikon 7 years back is still there in MPL and he did mention to me about the discount for corporates when I had to negotiate for a friend. I gave him an earful about how rupees is rupees and they shouldn't discriminate customers with respect to price. Service, freebies, etc. is different.
Better to avoid fog lamps in saloon cars especially in Chennai where the fog lights are easily submerged in monsoon and become miniature fish tanks needing replacement of lens/lamps.
Yen Vambu vela kuduthu vaangura? (English: Why pay and buy yourself trouble?)
It will be a whole LOT better than the junk people stuff into their doors.
I think they offer this deal to woo more people from the same company. After all they want only sales figures and dont care how they manage to get it. I got an even better deal for the Exi but I was not interested in it.
38 K corporate discount! Holy smoke! That's one hell of a discount!
All I got was 15 K corporate discount.
Have fun when you get your Beasta. Fog lamps are good, IMO, for the reasons you have already stated.
heard that ford vehicles are very costly when it comes to maintainence....is that true???
However, other owners my also please respond to zenopio's question.
great detailed review vnabhi. good that you followed your heart and the car has been able to meet your expectations. how is the ground clearance of the car? does it scrape bumps when loaded? One more thing is how would you rate the car compared to an Ikon 1.6 (The JOSH machine)?
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