Ford New Fiesta: A feisty challenger
The new Fiesta remains true to Ford’s family design, with the blue oval badge on the grille over the signature inverted trapezoid lower grille opening. The foxy, multi-element headlamps taper as they reach the sweeping A-pillars. The all-round wedged and prominent shoulder-lines make it visually muscular and aggressive. However, the rear design of this sedan cannot be called its highlight, because it looks like an elongated hatchback. It has chamfered liftgate glass and honeycomb detailed tail-lamps mounted high on the narrow boot. The new Fiesta runs on 15-inch wheels (195/60 R15), which enhance ground clearance, but the 60 tyre profile fills up the wheel-arch, making it appear rather squat.
There are some fancy body colour names too – Diamond White, Squeeze, Chilli, etc – but arguably the most appealing shade is the Kinetic Blue featured in this article, which will also be the launch car colour. Overall the car looks upbeat and was even awarded a prestigious ‘red dot’ design award (Germany) for international product design.
The Fiesta will be available in 1.5-litre powertrain options of Duratec Ti-VCT petrol and Duratorq TDCi diesel. The older 1.6-litre petrol motor from the Fiesta Classic has been scaled down to 1.5-litre petrol for the 2011 version. It now uses variable valve timing to churn out 110 PS of power at 6,000 rpm, a raise of nine PS over the earlier version. The torque curve peaks at 140 Nm at 4,500 rpm, which is a bit lower than in the older car. I felt that the Duratec lacked punch and ran out of breath on the highway. The power delivery was linear and just about all right for commuting within the city, but definitely not as responsive as that found among some of its competitors. The new car is based on the B2E platform, its particular strength being ride and handling.
The 1.5-litre Duratorq diesel motor is better on the highways thanks to its strong mid-range served by 204 Nm of torque and 91 PS of power, though the oil-burner gasps below 1,800 rpm and has an evident turbo lag with the rubber-band effect. Ford engineers have paid extra attention to reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, giving the Fiesta one of the most subdued cabins in the segment. The snazzy cabin design is an attempt to woo the young buyers with an all-black dashboard, chrome highlights and buttons stacked in a wing-shaped pattern. Bucket seats and thick steering complete its young and sporty packaging. This sedan comes packed with several useful equipment such as a segment-first cruise-control, voice control entertainment system and auto folding outer rear-view mirrors, among others.
With interesting styling, good equipment, great ride and handling quality and an estimated price of Rs 8 to 10 lakh, the new Fiesta can make for a good purchase option, though the apathetic powertrain may take some of the fun out of it.