It's been close to a decade now since Ford first launched the Fiesta saloon in India and it carried a lot of weight on its shoulders when it replaced the Ikon. The Fiesta did not disappoint. A few weeks after its launch, Ford garnered close to 2000 bookings on the Fiesta and since then there was no looking back. But a couple of years ago, when Ford decided to update the saloon by giving it the face of the hatch sold abroad, they hoped to receive a similar applause. However, that never happened and the new Fiesta, though good looking from the front, did not take off when it came to sales.
This time around, however, Ford decided to do things differently. They attached the word 'premium' to the new Fiesta and it clearly becomes a word that defines the car in every way. The new Fiesta is premium in terms of looks, features and from what we expect pricing. It was the last bit that was the biggest reason for its predecessor's poor show last time around but Ford is not worried one bit.
However, are they expecting to do better than the Honda City or the Hyundai Verna? Not really. Ford isn't looking at the Fiesta to become a volume seller and is placing it as premium product because they know that till the localisation level in the Fiesta does not go up, they really cannot be expected to tempt the customers by cutting down cost.
The fact that Ford has launched the new avatar of the Fiesta only in the diesel form, which is clearly the expensive route to take, makes one understand that the pricing of the car will not be something to look forward to. However, there is a lot more than that in this car like a new design, updated interiors and some amazing gizmos that clearly are a first-in-class.
The all-new Fiesta looks better than its predecessor and Ford says that it is aerodynamically superior too. The car has spent 150 hours in the wind tunnel and every crease on the bonnet or the side of the car is to improve its driving dynamics. Even the trapezoidal front grille is not just to give the car a pretty face. It's all pure science! The rear too gets a makeover with a new bumper that comes with a chrome strip, a bootlid that gets an integrated spoiler and re-designed tail lamps.
The cabin of the new Fiesta remains unchanged. However, because of the two-tone dashboard and the gloss black plastic used on the centre console, it looks more upmarket and hence premium. If you are expecting more space in the car, well there isn't much. The wheelbase of the Fiesta is lower than the likes of the Nissan Sunny, Honda City and even the Hyundai Verna so, yes you are crammed for room. Ford has put all its resources into building up the technology in this car and that is what makes it more interesting.
The 2014 Fiesta now comes with the SYNC technology which we saw in the Ecosport as well. It gets everything from voice command to Bluetooth to emergency alert, and since it is connected to your phone, it can read out text messages while also giving you a pathway to access your smartphone apps on the go. The SYNC technology recognises over 150 voice commands and the emergency assist system is something that is absolutely the need of the hour.
The emergency assist system gets activated if the airbags are deployed or there is a cut-off of fuel in the system. The system then calls the emergency services, who, are able to locate the car because of the latitude and longitude details that have been sent across thanks to this software. Other features include keyless entry and start, reverse parking sensors and steering mounted controls. Airbags come as standard on all the variants and there is ofcourse ABS. Then there's automatic climate control, automatic wipers and headlamps.
What about the engines? Well, as I said earlier, unlike its predecessor, which came in both petrol and diesel forms, the new Fiesta will only be available in the diesel variant. The company has done away with the automatic version of the car as well. Since there are no mechanical changes, the Fiesta gets the same 1.5-litre diesel engine which churns out 90bhp at 3750rpm and a peak torque of 204Nm at 2000-2750rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and the gears are pretty well sorted.
Ford says that they have been able to reduce drag by 3% and that translates into better fuel efficiency.
The new Fiesta puts in 25.01km/l (ARAI figures) and this helps it get an upper hand when compared to its competitors. Ride and handling has always been a forte of the Fiesta and it lives upto that reputation. It is stable in a straight line, attacks corners with ease and the ride quality is not at all uncomfortable.
The new Fiesta is a good car and it will probably sell more in number than its predecessor. Why? Because it is still every bit engaging and dynamic and loaded with features. The only thing that will go against it is its price tag, but Ford already knows that.