While the jury is out on whether the styling works or not, you cant get away from the fact that the ten-year old Ikon is pretty long in the tooth.
To make it easier on the wallet, Ford has transplanted the Fiesta’s frugal diesel motor into the ageing Ikon in a bid to give it a fresh lease of life. A facelift has also been served up. The Ikon gets an all-new nose which follows Ford’s modern ‘Kinetic design’ theme but it looks more like a mid-’90s Ford and we miss the cat-eyed headlamps that characterised the Ikon. The headlights are all new, as are the bumper and fog lamps. That apart, the sides, flanks and rear of the car are indistinguishable from the earlier model. The wheel cap design is new though, but Ikon goes back to a 13-inch rim size, unlike the NXT which had 14-inch wheels.
The interiors of the Ikon look and feel dated and the brown-and-black colour combination doesn’t work too well. The biggest discernible change is the instrument cluster, which now has a silver outline, and a digital odometer/tripmeter. Gone are the lovely white dials, and instead you get black dials with red needles. The gear lever design is the same, and the gear knob fits well in the palm of your hand. The stereo is a complicated item, and while it does have a Bluetooth feature which allows you to sync it to your phone, figuring out the system will take you the better part of a day. This Ford-branded stereo does boast decent sound quality though.
The design and quality of plastics is what really lets the interiors down especially when you compare it to the Dzire. The door pads and overall fit and finish are below par for a mid-size car, especially the plastic speaker covers and the way the glovebox shuts. Thankfully, the power window buttons have been repositioned.
The seats themselves are comfy, and the Ikon’s driving position is spot-on. The narrow cabin is a squeeze for three adults at the back, and you do miss the Logan’s girth, but when it comes to legroom the Ikon is really good. The scooped out front dash allows the passenger to sit far forward, liberating generous legroom in the rear.
The tiny mirrors are carried over unchanged, and here Ford could really have done better. Also, there is no internal boot release, which means every time you want to open the boot, you need to use the key, which is inconvenient.
Performance & Economy
The talking point of the Ikon is what’s under the bonnet — the 1399cc Duratorq motor is one of the best small diesel motors around. This all-aluminium engine has won huge accolades with the Fiesta, so can it perform equally well in the Ikon?
Fire the engine and you realise that refinement levels are not as good as the Fiesta’s. It’s largely because of the way the engine is mounted. For reasons of cost, this engine uses cheaper rubber mounts instead of the more expensive hydraulic mounts found on the Fiesta.
The Ikon uses the same gearbox with identical ratios to the Fiesta TDCi but with a longer final drive to compensate for the Ikon’s smaller 13-inch wheels. The rod-linkage actuation of the Ikon feels nice and direct and though the cable-operated system of the Fiesta’s filters out vibrations, it’s the Ikon’s shift that feels better.
The Ikon has a massive 144kg weight advantage over the Fiesta and that translates into much better acceleration. The Ikon is about as quick as the Dzire diesel and Indigo DiCOR, both of which post sub-15 second 0-100kph times. Where the Ikon really scores is in city driving. The Duratorq is the most responsive compact diesel motor around and the way the Ikon leaps forward with a tap of the throttle is proof enough. Want more? Check out the in-gear acceleration times; the Ikon scoots away faster than any other mid-size diesel.
The impressive performance ties in well with the Ikon’s fun-to-drive character and unlike the Dzire or Indigo, the near absence of turbo-lag adds to the pleasure.
The diesel motor is well suited to the car’s weight, and only below 1500rpm do you feel any lag. Once past this point, the motor really starts to pull and there’s a nice surge all the way to 4500rpm, giving you a wide powerband to play with.
Ride & Handling
The big question on everyone’s minds is just how good is it to drive now? In a nutshell, it’s very good. The chassis and suspension are carried over unchanged, and the Ikon still impresses with its level of grip, front-end bite and steering feel and response. It is also quite comfortable on all but the worst surfaces, and as a ride-and-handling package overall, it is very hard to fault.
The Ikon has good ground clearance too, very important on our roads. From behind the driver’s seat, this car is a gem, as always. The pedals are well placed, the chunky steering wheel feels nice to hold, the gears shift quickly and precisely, and the ergonomics are well optimised. The fly in the ointment, however, is the brakes. The grabby tendency persists, and one needs to modulate the pedal to prevent locking up under heavy braking. Some things never change! Also, the excessive road noise and the roar from the wheel wells coupled to the drone of the engine makes the Ikon distinctly less refined than its rivals.
While the jury is out on whether the styling works or not, you cant get away from the fact that the ten-year old Ikon is pretty long in the tooth. The interior is a letdown and the refinement levels are not as good as we hoped it would be. The flip side is impressive fuel economy and a tempting price, which is substantially lower than the base Swift Dzire diesel, (which does not have power windows or fog lamps or even a stereo for that matter) which makes it seriously worth considering. All ford has to do is ensure that it is as cheap to maintain as it is to run.
What it costs
Ex-showroom (Delhi) Rs 5.36-6.36 lakh
Warranty 2 yrs/ 1,00,000km
Installation Front, transverse
Compression ratio 18:1
Valve gear 2 valves per cylinder, SOHC
Power 67bhp at 4000rpm
Torque 16.31kgm at 2000rpm
Power to weight 66.6bhp per tonne
Gearbox 5-speed manual
Ground clearance 167mm
Chassis & Body
Tyres 175/70 R13
Front Independent, Macpherson strut
Rear Non-independent torsion beam
Type Power assisted rack and pinion
Front Ventilated discs
Tank size 45 litres
Range at a glance - Engines
Petrol 1.3 litre