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Ford Fiesta: Dressed to the nines

Ford has draped its Fiesta in a fashionable new attire, spruced up the engine lineup, and brought the prices down. It’s time you had a serious look at this one

The Fiesta has always been a sporty looking sedan. Nevertheless, Ford India decided it was time for some sprucing up; so they added a bold new global family grille to it, garnished it with more chrome, and added some nifty features to bring some more value to the package. So here it is, our two pence on the highs and the lows of the new 2014 Fiesta facelift that left us gasping in awe when we first saw its Aston-ishing new face.

Ford Fiesta

Fascia fantastic
The new Fiesta is the second model in India to get Ford’s bold new family grille in India. The aggressive- looking upper hexagonal unit adds loads of character and belligerence to the fascia. It’s got five chrome- lined slats inside the frame, adding punch and style to the face of the car in equal measure. The air dam at the bottom is lined with chrome, too. Fog lamp housings are new, which, unlike the small body coloured recesses on the earlier car, are wide, with ribbed insides and are finished in piano black.

The new Fiesta boasts of a new design, 10-spoke, 15-inch alloy wheels featuring a star-shaped design. They’re lighter and look snazzier
The new Fiesta boasts of a new design, 10-spoke, 15-inch alloy wheels featuring a star-shaped design. They’re lighter and look snazzier

Headlamps are restyled, and are termed as ‘laser-cut’ by the official Ford media literature. Another important detail of the new Fiesta’s front end is the introduction of a power bulge on the bonnet. As another small change, the Ford logo, which was earlier positioned between the bonnet and the bumper, is now inlaid into the bumper’s surface.

Nothing much has changed in the profile, except for the new design alloys. The new star-shaped 10 spoke 15 inch alloy units are slimmer and lighter than the ones on the previous gen model.

The new, restyled tail-lamps have their contrasting colours more horizontally aligned to give a wider look to the rear. The shape of the integrated spoiler on the boot-lid is also more aggressive on this model — it’s wider and more well-defined. Ford designers have inserted a slim chrome garnish joining the reflectors at the two ends of the lower bumper, which themselves are positioned further apart to make the car look wider and more squat.

Cabin and features
In a bid to enhance the feeling of space and airiness inside the cabin, Ford India have presented the new Fiesta in black and bright beige colour combo for the interior. The upholstery is draped in beige too, with the seats featuring great-as-ever bolstering for lateral support and a special pattern on backrest spine and seat squab for good grip.

The interior remains largely unchanged except for the new black-beige theme, new Piano black treatment for centre console and the introduction of SYNC with AppLink
The interior remains largely unchanged except for the new black-beige theme, new Piano black treatment for centre console and the introduction of SYNC with AppLink

The mobile phone-inspired dashboard remains unchanged design-wise. Steering wheel is leather-wrapped with mounted audio controls. The new version of the Fiesta also boasts of smart features including keyless entry, push button start, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights.

Another important change to the interior is the introduction of piano black, hi-gloss finish to the centre console surrounds and A/C control unit. This finish is extended to the door panels, where the door handles are given a similar glossy black treatment.

SYNC and Ford AppLink
An important inclusion on the new Ford Fiesta is SYNC, seen previously on the Ecosport. The big news, however, is the introduction of Ford AppLink which has made its debut on an Indian car with the new Fiesta.

SYNC along with AppLink lets you perform many tasks without having to take your hands off the steering or eyes off the road. You can make calls, change audio tracks, navigate to destinations and do much more with this nifty new system. Pics/Amit Chhangani
SYNC along with AppLink lets you perform many tasks without having to take your hands off the steering or eyes off the road. You can make calls, change audio tracks, navigate to destinations and do much more with this nifty new system. Pics/Amit Chhangani

Of the two, SYNC is Ford’s tech to represent some of your phone’s features on the central ice blue back lit screen. The functionality offered by SYNC includes caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, a caller log, contact list, signal strength icon and a phone battery charge icon. Additionally, SYNC can also read your SMS messages. You can also reply to a message, choosing a response from one of the 15 pre-set messages using voice commands.

A brand new introduction to any Ford model in India, as discussed before, is the Ford AppLink. Using AppLink, the driver can use certain cellphone applications with voice commands after pairing his phone with the system using Bluetooth or USB. For now, the Ford AppLink has only three smartphone applications — Explore by MapMyIndia, ESPN Cricinfo and Glympse.

Another key feature associated with the SYNC is the Emergency Assistance system, which debuted with the Ford Ecosport in India. Activated in case of a pre-defined event (deployment of airbags, fuel line shut), the system calls the emergency number (108) by itself, delivering the GPS coordinates of the car over the air, and allowing the driver to talk with the emergency service operator if possible. Emergency Assistance feature is free for life of the vehicle.

Engine and performance
With the 2014 version of the car, Ford has spruced up the engine lineup and the new Fiesta is available only with the 1.5 litre TDCi engine. The power and torque output of the engine remains unchanged. Peak power is rated at 89 bhp @ 3750 RPM, while maximum torque of 204 Nm is produced at 2000 RPM. The ARAI certified fuel efficiency for the car is an impressive 25.01 kmpl. The engine is mated with a crisp shifting five speed manual transmission unit.

A wider integrated spoiler, restyled tail-lamps and a slim chrome garnish at the bottom work together to give the car’s rear a wider look
A wider integrated spoiler, restyled tail-lamps and a slim chrome garnish at the bottom work together to give the car’s rear a wider look

No surprises that the low end torque is impressive, with the mid range performance being even more impressive. The linear and tractable characteristic of the engine along with ample torque at hand makes the Fiesta a punchy car to drive in the everyday world. In-gear acceleration is strong, and overtaking is a breeze with the engine delivering good response even at relatively low rpm. The body roll is well contained, handling is sublime, and the Fiesta remains one of our favourite cars to drive this side of Rs 10 lakh.

Our verdict
Ford is offering the Fiesta in three variants — entry level trim Ambiente, mid-spec Trend and top of the line Titanium. With the new version, the prices for the Fiesta have been brought down and the car is now fit for a buyer in the segment. For a discerning customer, who appreciates good engineering and a dynamic drive, the Fiesta does make a lot of sense. It’s loads of fun behind the wheel, fuel-efficient and boasts great kit levels too. What it doesn’t quite have, however, is the City’s expansive cabin or the Verna’s jazz. But the car is guaranteed to bring a bigger smile on your face when shown a road leading up a hill. Go ahead, buy this one, if a wider grin equates to more happiness to you.

Technical specs
Engine — 1468cc, 4-cylinder, turbo diesel
Transmission — 5-speed manual
Power — 91PS @3750 rpm
Torque — 204Nm@2000-2750 rpm

Price
Rs 7.69-Rs 9.29 lakh

Rivals

New Honda City
The new Honda City has shaken up the segment with its strengths. Backed by the coveted Honda badge, and armed with a diesel engine in the newest avatar, the City looks formidable.

New Honda City

A stylish and expansive exterior, tons of space inside, good fuel efficiency, proven reliability and resale value work in its favour. The diesel engine is a tad too
noisy though.
Price: Rs 7.2-R11 lakh

New Nissan Sunny
The new Nissan Sunny features some extra zing on its exterior, and beats the competition hands down when it comes to the backseat leg room.

New Nissan Sunny

Automatic transmission is available for the petrol variant, delivering fantastic fuel efficiency. Diesel engine is extremely linear, fuel efficient and a breeze to drive through the city. The Sunny isn’t an enthusiastic driver’s car though.
Price: Rs 6.99-Rs 10.22 lakh

Hyundai Verna
The Verna has led this segment for a substantial period of time, and for good reason. Stylish, expressive exterior lines, and a feature-laden, quality interior — the Verna had the Indian customers floored.

Hyundai Verna

The car also offers the most number of engine and transmission options in the segment. Pricing is good, and Hyundai is known in India for its fuss-free after-sales support. On the downside, the car isn’t dynamically as able as its German and American counterparts.
Price: Rs 7.2 -Rs 11.6 lakh

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