American automotive giant Ford has just launched the latest version of their Fiesta sedan in India. A couple of years ago, the company took their original Fiesta, renamed it as the Classic and repositioned it in our market.
They then launched an all new Fiesta that was totally redesigned and had a totally different approach. Unfortunately, despite being a good car, due to several factors, it just could not replicate its predecessor’s success. Now though, Ford has given their Fiesta an overhaul and they invited us to take it for a 160 kilometre drive in and around Bangalore to see what it’s like.
How does it look on the outside?
In a word, fantastic! Ford has dropped the idea of making a car look all boring with straight lines only. The new Fiesta looks rakish with its new trapezoidal front grille with 5 horizontal chromed slats that (not to sound clichéd!) gives its front end a decidedly Aston Martin-ish appearance, chrome ringed fog lamp enclosures, a rising belt line that starts from the car’s muscular flared wheel arches and goes almost all the way to the remodelled wraparound tail lamp clusters.
The rear of the car also gets a thick strip of chrome running the entire width of the car to lend it an impression of being more planted and strong.
How about when you step inside?
Again, it looks excellent. We feel that the dashboard has been designed to look as though it belongs in the next century! It is definitely worth mentioning the seats because, in spite of not being leather upholstered, they are very comfortable. On a drive that took us over 6 hours, none of us had complaints of any aches or pains.
The front seats have side supports as well, which means that even during hard cornering, you don’t tend to slide off your seat. If we had to point a finger at something that we didn’t like, it would be this – since the front windscreen is kept at such a sharp angle and because the whole dashboard is such a large unit, the front can feel a tad bit claustrophobic to some. Also, since the A-pillar is so thick, visibility while turning into a sharp corner isn’t as good as we would’ve liked it to be.
Does it ride well?
It surely does. Fords have also been regarded as fun to drive cars and this latest iteration of the Fiesta holds true to that. On our test drive, we took the car through crowded and narrow city roads, wide highways with barely any traffic and tight, twisting mountain roads.
The car handled every type of terrain with aplomb. With 90 bhp (only diesel engine offered) on tap, chucking this car around at high speeds around sharp bends is a joy. The steering feels light and effortless to manage and the 5 speed manual gearbox is fantastic as well. At lower speeds in traffic, the turbo lag is annoying since you have to wait to hit nearly 2000 RPM before power is available.
But, to its credit, the car’s suspension is very good and it dampens out almost all road irregularities quite well. We did notice that bumps are felt a more harshly at the back but it really doesn’t bother one too much. The ARAI-certified mileage of 25.01 kpl means that you won't have to spend a lot of time pitting for fuel either.
What sort of gizmos do you get?
Irrefutably, this is the new Fiesta’s party piece. This is isn’t a car so much as a smartphone on wheels! Jam packed with gadgetry such as keyless go, rain sensing wipers, push button engine ignition, steering mounted controls, climate control, electrically foldable rear view mirrors with integrated turn indicators and puddle lamps, ambient interior lighting, automatic headlamps and a really good 6 speaker audio system with Bluetooth, aux-in and USB connectivity, this car gives the impression that Ford has left no stone unturned in including everything that the car buyer of today is looking for in terms of technology.
But the pièce de résistance is the Ford Sync system. With a paired mobile phone, this system enables you to make calls, read messages, play music, find directions, search for nearby restaurants and several other functions all by just speaking to it. This ensures that you never have to take your eyes off the road.
Is it safe?
This car has airbags for the driver and front passenger, ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist, reverse parking sensors and an engine immobiliser. Best of all, if you crash the car, the Ford Sync system will even call the emergency services by itself. This happens only if an airbag is deployed or the fuel pump cut-off mechanism is activated so that an ambulance isn’t called if you just bump into a shrub or something!
Ford has really gone all out to ensure that this car will be a success and their efforts are clear to see once you have familiarised yourself with this sedan. However, this car will be entering a segment that is full of extremely capable vehicles in their own right but now that Ford has launched it and the price isn't wallet-busting, it is pretty certain that the new Fiesta will bring Ford heaps of reasons to cheer about.