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Road test of the Ford Fiesta diesel; the old timer.

New Delhi, Feb. 10 -- The Ford EcoSport may be one of the flashiest cars around, but there's no denying that some of its better design cues have been borrowed from the Fiesta upon which it is based. Moreover the sedan is an important model in the company's Indian line-up, but hasn't received much praise from buyers over the past couple of years.

Design

The Fiesta now sports the same gopping hexa grille that adorns the front of the EcoSport, which is part of Ford's new design language. The sleek wraparound headlamps give rise to fluted bonet lines that seemlessly blend into the steeply raked front pillars, a design cue that is carried over to the compact SUV.

While the Fiesta hatchback that is sold abroad is a handsome looking car, some of its charm is stolen away by the addition of a boot. The fastback like design may sound enticing on paper, but in reality it fails to impress and looks a bit awkward. The small tail-lamps along with a high boot fail to impress, but otherwise the Fiesta flaunts a thoroughly modern design.

Interior

The interiors of the car are cleverly packaged and finished in a shade of black. The heavy design of the dashboard consists of an instrument cluster that is made up of two pods with an LCD readout in between them. The centre of the dash is dominated by a funky looking infotainment unit, which is very similar to the one found on the EcoSport.

The substantial dashboard and high window lines give you the feeling of being seated in a car far larger than the Fiesta actually is. The front bucket seats offer plenty of bolstering and are quite comfortable, however larger occupants may find them to be a tad bit narrow.

The rear bench too is comfortable, but seating three adults is a squeeze. Leg-room at the rear is adequate, but there's a lingering feeling that the car could do with a bit more. Some of the rear space is stolen by the 430-litre boot and the tapering roof-line not allowing for the bench to be pushed back any further.

Performance & fuel efficiency

The 1.5-litre all-aluminum mill produces 89bhp, but displays some amount of lag. A strong surge of power kicks in at around 2,000 rpm, making for a punchy mid-range with the torque lasting all the way to the redline. Navigating city traffic is a breeze, with the five-speed manual box making for smooth precise shifts. The only irritant is the clutch that offers high resistance making for a tiring stop & go traffic experience.

On the highway the mid range punch aids in high-speed cruising, with three digit figures on the speedometer coming quite easily. The top speed is in excess of 170km/h. The Fiesta averaged 15.2 km/l in our test, subjected to a mix of city and highway driving.

Ride & Handling

While the Fiesta may be let down by its awkward looks, it tries to win back some ground with its dynamic abilities. The ride may feel a tad bit stiff at slow speeds, but as the speeds rise the brilliant chassis makes for an insanely planted feel. Bump absorbtion while travelling at speed is simply superb and tackling irregularities is child's play.

The steering may be electrically assisted, but it weighs up incredibly well with speed. Even the feel that the steering transmits, perfectly tells you what the front wheels are doing. This makes the Fiesta one of the best handling cars avaliable in India, retaining the crown that the Fiesta Classic had earned. The brakes too add to the driving abilities, displaying a strong bite while feeling very progressive.

VerdictPriced at a little over Rs 11 lakh, the Fiesta unfortunately fails to make a strong case for itself. It's high price, awkward styling, dark interiors which fail to look upmarket and weird clutch make it lose out to competitors like the Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and Honda City. Despite its terific handling and high level's of refinement, the Fiesta does not do enough to set itself apart from the crowd.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Wheels Unplugged.

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Publication:Wheels Unplugged
Date:Feb 10, 2014
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