Test Drive - Ford Ikon TDCi
Shrawan Raja, I'm the Founder & CEO of IndianAutosBlog.com. I love teamwork and talking about cars.
We spoke about the exteriors of the Ford Ikon TDCi in the initial report - The overall dimensions and shape remain same except for the excellent front-end touch up which is the cute grill-less design and headlamps which we carried over to our desktops.
On the Inside things have changed for the better, the instrument cluster is now bolder and more readable, and the cluster backlight fades out softly when the lights are turned off making it a unique feature.
Seats are comfortable with ample support where needed; a height adjuster would be more than welcome here. The steering wheel begs for one too, in the interest of convenience. Individual shutters for A.C vents are a practical move and a fixed vent on higher on the dashboard channels cool air for the rear passengers.
The glove box is deep with its lid turning into a tray when opened. A mp3 stereo is standard on the TDCI variant which worked fine, its remote allowed rear passengers to control the volume and station. It is also bluetooth enabled but my Sony Ericsson didn't detect it through the entire week.
Legroom and headroom are same as the old Ikon with the rear seat being the most comfortable in this segment, maybe second only to the Renault Logan. The boot is large, 400 liters of usable space. The Ikons'a suspension intrudes the boot space and cuts out a few more liters. Another surprising shortfall is the fixed rear seat depriving it of a loading flexibility.
When we fired up the engine on every one of the dull monsoon morning, it started with the same ease, mind you the rains ensured temperatures were lower than usual. The engine noise creeps into the cabin, but it wasn't a cause of any disturbance; the NVH level is not on par with big brother Fiesta.
The Ikon is a full 144kg lighter than the Fiesta, and we felt it when we blipped the throttle for the first time. If you judge it by the engine, it's a budget-performance diesel sports car. It is very responsive and agile.
The only irritation is the vibes, which find their way to the pedals. We hear this is because of the ordinary rubber mounts as opposed to the costlier hydraulic mounts on the vibe-free Fiesta.
Power delivery after the turbo sets at around the 2K mark, is awesome; it is linear and it gathers speed quickly. We managed to touch 155kmph and even at that speed, the engine didn't give out stress signals. High speeds on the Ikon were never possible with the earlier 1.8-diesel engine.
The turbo sets in after the 2k rpm mark, and the Ikon turns into a tarmac muncher, it hoots as the speedo needle acts like it was on a tire pressure gauge.
Gear shifting is smooth; the gear ratios are identical to the Fiesta, but they are not cable operated. The linkages did a good job of giving us a feeling of what was happening in the gearbox. The clutch pedal is bit heavy; we did not feel its effect on our joints or muscles after the 300km trip, but we're at the gym everyday at 6:00 in the morning for the past few years.
The brakes are reassuring, and even in the rains you don't have to possess the skills of a WRC driver to judge braking, which you would have to if you were driving a similar car. The only thing that worked against us was the high placement of the pedal. We felt uncomfortable operating them initially.
The Ikon ironed out the potholes which have surfaced now that the rains are in rather very well even with its puny 13 inchers. We would have liked to have a 14-inch set, it could have reinforced stability and feedback by trading in fuel economy. If you are for the former, we would recommend the switch.
And talking about switch, the power window switches on the driver side door are of average quality, the A.C switches are however fine.
Things we miss/dislike
1. Seat height adjuster
2. Steering height adjuster
3. Rear defogger (since the air conditioning was very effective and the rear glass got fogged and reversing was difficult then)
4. Unsatisfactory NVH levels ( Especially during idling, you can feel the vibres creeping into the pedals)
5. Bigger tires
6. Bigger side view mirrors (current ones are tad small, and look horrible)
7. Cabin noise can be lower
8. Single horn unsuitable for a family sedan
9. Dashboard material quality can be improved
10. Brake pedal is placed higher
11. Loose clamp that holds the Bluetooth mic on the sun flap, which does not work with a Sony Ericsson.
12. In the last day, the hand brake got stuck and did not want to disengage till we did a two-hand bicep flexing action, Arnold style.
13. High parcel tray position posed problems while reversing; the slope drains usability.
14. The panel gaps on the dashboard, around the A.C controls were a bit frightening.
Things we like/appreciate
1. A ‘marvelous' engine
2.' Mind-boggling' fuel economy (nothing less than 18 kmpl- mostly in city driving conditions for the one week period)
3. Suspension setup provides a comfortable and jerk-less ride. It isn't Rolls Royce smooth, but ranks high in its segment
4. ‘Deadly' Air conditioning system (took less than 3 minutes to show its capability, and had to be switched off every 5 minutes)
5. Integrated coat hanger on the rear hand grips is essential for the office goer.
6. Unique hazard switch placed behind wheel resembles a police beacon.
7. Rear seats are very comfortable.
8. The new face (headlights and the grill is modern)
9. Unique bonnet opener just under the steering.
10. Gear shifting feels direct - An important trait of a driver's car.
11. Overall Value for money.
12. Height adjustable seat belts.
To sum it up, the Ford Ikon TDCI now comes with a much better engine and gearbox. We could have termed it a mini Fiesta, but the interiors, pedal-steering-seat combination is a let down. The suspension is just the way it has to be, and the 144kg weight loss makes it a very fuel efficient car.
That doesn't mean you can't have fun with this car. It's got the goods under the hood, ready to pump some adrenaline when you need it. On the other hand, it can also play a role of a faithful family 3-box, short or long trips, the back seats are cozy, the music system is delightful and the suspension will be a treat to the elderly.
Why would I choose this car from its bunch?
I don't like the Dzire's appearance/rear seating, the Indigo's truck-like settings/lifeless steering and bad NVH and the Logan's low-cost looks and dwindling reputation.