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Ford Classic 1.4 TDCi

The Fiesta whose design spells S-A-F-E doesn’t break new ground but it has a confident stance that gives it a purposeful look. The Fiesta’s front end with its large grille, striking headlights and an aggressive-looking bumper is the best looking part while the side view is disappointingly plain.

autos Updated: Jan 16, 2013 15:52 IST

The Fiesta Classic, at an ex-showroom tag of Rs 9.54 On Road Mumbai, offers reasonable value for money.

The Fiesta whose design spells S-A-F-E doesn’t break new ground but it has a confident stance that gives it a purposeful look. The Fiesta’s front end with its large grille, striking headlights and an aggressive-looking bumper is the best looking part while the side view is disappointingly plain. The Fiesta’s overall proportions and bulk makes it look larger than it actually is and also accentuates the skinny 175/65R14s on which it sits.

Like the vast majority of cars today, the Fiesta diesel is front-wheel drive and uses Macpherson coil over damper struts to suspend the front wheels, anti-roll bar, and rack and pinion steering system. Ford’s tailor-made for India springs have large diameters that are better suited for our roads. The steering rack is mounted on the cross member for greater steering accuracy, and twin tube shock absorbers have been called in for improved durability. The Fiesta uses a disc /drum brake combo, and has an (optional) anti-lock system.

Interior

The Fiesta’s cabin is of a solid, workmanlike nature but the interior colours look dreary though the finish is decent. It also gets adjustable seat-height and a steering-wheel, which tilts up or down.
The Fiesta’s seats are comfy and supportive too, especially on long drives.The dash is dominated by its flat panel console and four porthole-like vents, which shut tight and can be swiveled in any direction.

A nice set of Skoda Octavia-ish, clear white-on-black dials, grippy steering wheel, expensive handbrake lever and clever door pads with door mounted speakers complete the feel-good effect. Ford has focused that extra bit on storage and there’s loads of practical niches all around, including a sizeable rear parcel shelf.

You can comfortably place more than one cell phone in the slot ahead of the gear lever, there is a storage cavity under the handbrake, a useful recess built into the top of the dash, huge door pockets that can swallow even large size bottles, rear door pockets and expandable cup holders between the seats. Ford is proud of the little recess in the centre of the dashboard sill, which it calls an idol stowage area. Ford also has a flip down rear seat, which increases bootspace and practicality.

Performance & Economy

The Fiesta diesel’s forte is in-city driving, right in that critical second and even third gear, 20 to 40kph range, which is where most cars in urbania, more often than not, reside. And its refinement belies its preference of fuel. The engine’s adjustable pilot injection, that pre-warms and eliminates that sharp diesel rattle allows for a smooth idle.

It uses a third-generation common-rail direct injection system which has benefits like lesser emissions and better fuel consumption. The motor is more refined than the Accent CRDi and even the Octavia. Ford claims that a special valve in the head prevents the oil from draining out after the engine has stopped and this helps reduce cold start noise. Noise levels are low but when pushed to the redline, the sound from under the hood can give the game away.


However, it’s the lack of vibrations that truly shocked us. Vibrations that creep in through the steering wheel, gear level and pedal are simply not present on this diesel and Ford has done an outstanding job of isolating the engine from the cabin. The presence of a low inertia turbo also means an instant surge in power from as low as 1200rpm up and this is the key to the Fiesta’s superb driveability. Turbo lag is minimal and once you get past the initial but tiny bit of lethargy the Fiesta surges forward on a wave of torque.

Its refined manners and tall gearing are a plus on the highway and the Fiesta is a happy cruiser, capable of holding onto a steady 120kph in fifth, with the tacho registering a lazy 3200rpm. Where the Fiesta diesel does fall short is when asked to overtake in a hurry. It runs out of puff quite quickly and you need to make maximum use of the gearbox to extract every bit out of its 68 horses. This engine also does not breathe as well due to it’s two valve per cylinder head and as a result the dash to 100kph comes up in 17.48seconds.

Acceleration tapers off sharply beyond 130kph. Compared to the Accent CRDi, the Fiesta is a slowcoach and like we’ve said before, the 1.6 version of this diesel would address the car’s weakest link — highway performance. In the city, the Fiesta diesel covered an astounding 13.8 kilometres on a single litre of diesel and 18.3 kpl on the highway.

Ride & Handling

Ford is known for its driving dynamics. Cars like the Mondeo, Focus and even our home-grown Ikon are living, rolling proof of this outstanding ability and know-how. And the Fiesta, fine-tuned to Indian tastes, is no different. Now keen to appeal to a wider customer base, the car has been tuned to erase every bump and broken patch Indian roads can throw at it. And the taller springs and tuned dampers have the desired effect.

The ride quality over poor sections of the road is simply superb. The Fiesta blots out most road noise over poor sections, the severity of the bumps and pitching is greatly reduced and most importantly, this has been done without the suspension getting floaty.
The Fiesta is also extremely accomplished at low speeds, a crucial attribute in our driving environment. And the best part is that low speed ride does not compromise high-speed stability.

You can turn the Fiesta into a corner with more confidence, assured in the knowledge that it will provide enough feedback to allow you to carry the speed out of the corner without losing any hair. But it’s no Ikon. Not keen on snappy changes in direction and with no running commentary on the state of grip on the front wheels, the Fiesta’s ride-centric set-up means this car is nowhere near as entertaining to drive as the Ikon.

Verdict

The Fiesta, at an ex-showroom tag of Rs 9.54 On Road Mumbai, offers reasonable value for money, even offering ABS. However, what Ford offers is an overall package that is quite attractive and is well equipped. You get a state-of-the-art diesel engine that behaves like a petrol car and is priced like one too. Throw in the low-running costs and the Fiesta becomes impossible to ignore.

Technical Specs

Fact File

What it costs
Ex-showroom (Delhi) Rs 7.40-9.54 lakh
Warranty 12 months/unlimited mileage

Engine
Fuel Diesel
Installation Front, Transverse, Front wheel Drive
Bore/stroke 73.7/82 mm
Compression ratio 18:1
Valve gear Two Valves per cylinder. SOHC
Power 68bhp at 4000rpm
Torque 16.3kgm at 2000rpm
Power to weight 59.13bhp per tonne

Transmission
Gearbox Five speed Manual

Dimensions
Length 4282mm
Width 1686mm
Height 1468mm
Boot volume 430 Liters
Ground clearance 168mm

Chassis & Body
Weight 1150kg
Tyres 175/65R14

Suspension
Front Independent, MacPherson Struts with offset coil springs
Rear Semi-Independent twist beam with coil springs and twin tube dampers

Steering
Type Rack and Pinion, power assisted
Type of power assist Hydraulic

Brakes
Front 218mm Ventilated Discs
Rear 203mm self-adjusting Drums

Economy
City 13.8 kpl
Highway 18.3 kpl
Tank size 45 Litres

Range at a glance - Engines
Petrol 1.6 litre
Diesel 1.4 litre