The Classic variant presented last week seemed like a Fiesta built for the BPO operators and that was a tad disappointing to see given the Fiesta' driver-seat USP. But day before yesterday was a different story. I spent just ten minutes with the new Fiesta and it gave me a good feeling. This is what a Fiesta should really be like. It looks nothing like what you see today in India because it sticks to Ford's tradition of being a fun to drive car. At least it seems like it.
Ford now sells 3 versions of the Fiesta in India - the Figo is the previous generation Fiesta, the Classic is a sedan on that platform and the new Fiesta is the current generation model.
The Ikon was another booted Fiesta from the early 90's, production of which came to a close early this year.
We'll dive right into the new Fiesta and learn about what I'm going on about -
Designed for the driver' seat, the Fiesta' a whole hearted attempt to add fun to driving. The fat seat bolsters and extra under-thigh support have the intention to keep the driver locked in during hard cornering.
The steering feels good to grip and the gear lever is shaped differently and the shifts felt lively. This is not a Point A-B car. It's not going to be a taxi market' love, I can say confidently.
Remember that these are interpretations from a static car and only after a spin we'll be able to give you the real picture.
There are small things but significant things customers will appreciate like the ergonomically placed seat adjustment lever, drilled pedals, stylish and sensible floor mat clips, arm rest that takes in a pet bottle, pouch near the roof lamp for housing toll tickets and concaved seat backs liberate extra legroom.
The glovebox is like a compact draw and operates smoothly. The height-adjustable head rest is a useful addition for tall passengers and the parcel tray is very usable.
Every element in the passenger compartment is given a sporty touch. The door locks, steering wheel and the neighboring buttons and levers, seats, head rests, aircon vents, gear lever, etc have a kink here and an accent there lending the interiors a fresh feel. The experience of operating the center console is like texting on a smart phone.
Many cars in this particular segment have components retrieved from a segment below partly because they are just an elongated hatchback and more because they have to be priced well.
The Fiesta has no visible signs of cost cutting, though the plastics and materials aren't class leading.
The boot is decent for this segment and is bigger than it appears from the outside. It houses a smaller steel wheel, which is intelligent cost cutting.
Once the seat is pushed back completely, there is no room for a 6-footer there. You can sit straight on this car because the adjustable head rest is supportive and there is plenty of head room. The arm rest will come in handy during long journeys.
This car has things the Figo lacks. Usually these small additions are what differentiate the sedan from the hatch standing right next to it in a dealership.
The features build the car's impression in a customer's mind because he hasn't yet taken a drive. It's easy to understand because many customers look at the neighboring product to begin benchmarking to understand why he's paying extra.
Ford is not looking to go out and dominate this segment. With a driver-centric product, it wants to address a significant level of customers in this segment who are for driving dynamics instead of rear seat comfort. That said, Ford is not short-changing the customer on the fuel economy front. According to the company, the Fiesta will have class-leading fuel efficiency figures.
Ford will manufacture this car in Chennai and strap it with locally-manufactured engines. India will get the 1.6-liter petrol and diesel engine capable of delivering 118bhp and 90bhp respectively. The petrol engine will host variable valve timing while the diesel will have turbocharging and CRDI technologies.