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Feast your eyes out

autos Updated: Aug 11, 2011 01:32 IST
Highlight Story

The full effect of Ford’s ‘Kinetic Design’ shows itself on the new Fiesta. The combination of soft lines, rounded corners and bold creases all add up to a striking shape with an especially intimidating front. The large dagger-style headlamps that spread right up to the front wheel arches look fantastic. The commendable thing is how Ford’s designers have integrated the arched roof to flow seamlessly into the boot. The large single-piece rear bumper, however, is a touch too large and makes the tail appear bulky.

Build quality is top notch, but the big change is the switch from hydraulic to electric power steering (EPS). The new car’s insides are a lot more stylish and modern than the Fiesta Classic. The funky wing-like fascia holds controls for the music system on one side and a keypad for phone connectivity on the other.

The hooded instruments with their winged binnacles look imported from space-age and the thick-rimmed steering feels great to hold. The dials for the climate control system are neatly placed lower down on the dash and the overall feel of the switchgear is nice and solid. Interior plastics though could have been of a better grade, and the fit and finish also leaves a lot to be desired owing to the gaping shut lines and inconsistent panel gaps.

Comfort cove
The driver’s seat truly offers you a sense of control, and the seats snugly hold you in. They can be adjusted with a rotary seat back adjuster that lets you find the perfect seating arrangement. The rear, however, suffers a bit in comparison to its rivals. Boot space at 430-litres isn’t the best, but it’s adequate for the occasional sprint out of town, and the backseat can be flipped forward if need be.

The 1.5-litre Duratorq diesel engine pumps up the power to 88.7bhp from the earlier 68bhp due to the addition of an intercooler. While there’s a bit of a turbo-lag below 1,800rpm, the engine builds up in a linear manner thereafter, making the Fiesta easy to drive. The gearbox is slick, sporty and well matched to the torque characteristics of the car.

The twin-cam, 16-valve 1,499cc petrol motor puts out 107bhp and uses a 32-bit processor to optimise engine performance and fuel efficiency.

Although the engine isn’t punchy, the petrol unit is quite easy to drive in the city if you aren’t in a hurry. Drivability is superb and the gentle surge lets you keep up with traffic without a fuss. The petrol and diesel engines came in with 23.5kpl and 17kpl respectively on the Indian Driving Cycle (IDC), pointing out to the fact that performance has been sacrificed for efficiency.

The new Fiesta takes the handling benchmark to a whole new level thanks to its terrific dynamics. Engine and road noise are amazingly low and as a result, especially at higher speeds, wind noise is far more prominent. While tackling a corner, the steering is quick and communicative and it weights up perfectly as the speeds increase. The 195/60-R15 tyres afford plenty of grip with a lot in reserve.

Autocar India
Ford Fiesta 1.5 d/p
Price: Rs 7-10 lakh (estimated ex-showroom)L/W/H 4291/1722/1496mm
Wheelbase: 2489mm
Ground clearance: 156mm
Turning circle: 5.2 metres
Fuel tank: 43 litres
Engine: 4 cyl in-line, 1498cc, diesel/4 cyl in-line, 1499cc, petrol Installation Front, transverse, FWD
Power: 88.7bhp at 3750rpm/107.5bhp at 6045rpm
Torque: 20.8kgm at 2000-2750rpm/14.27kgm at 4500rpm
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Kerb weight: 1157kg/1124kg
Brakes: (f/r) Ventilated discs/ drums
Tyres: 195/60-R15

Verdict
The Fiesta retains its badge as the best driver’s car. The ride and handling is tough to criticise. The diesel is sure to be the option most buyers go in for. Ford has also lowered ownership costs as of late. With competitive pricing, Ford has a winner on its hands.