The Fiesta has always been an enthusiast’s delight, even in its earlier avatar, now branded Classic, and more so in its sharp looking and feature rich current gen version. The earlier Fiesta too was quite a dapper car, its front being one of the sharper, more fashionable fascias of the lot. Nevertheless, Ford India decided that it was time to add the bold new family grille to the sporty sedan, garnish it with some more chrome, and add 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-ish new face.
After the Ecosport, the new Fiesta is the second Ford model to get the new family grille. The new radiator grille’s Aston Martin-ish appearance has been a hot talking point among auto aficionados. We’ll leave the argument about similarities with Astons behind though and evaluate the car in individuality. The smartly rehashed front fascia now replaces the earlier grille design which had a big black plastic slat dividing it in two.
The new grille has twin openings, with the big, bad, aggressive looking upper hexagonal unit adding loads of character and belligerence to the fascia. It’s got five chrome lined slats inside the frame, adding anger and stylishness to the face of the car in equal measure. The air dam at the bottom is lined with chrome at the bottom. Fog lamp housings are new, which, unlike the small body colored recesses on the earlier car, are wide, with ribbed insides and are finished in piano black.
On the flanks the imposing grille (we think it’s a hexagon, technically, Ford calls the shape trapezoidal though) headlamps are restyled, and are termed as ‘laser-cut’ by the official Ford media literature. The smoked black periphery of the headlamps on the earlier model has been replaced by a clear lens look.
Another important detail of the new Fiesta’s front end is the introduction of a power bulge on the bonnet. Two parallel creases travelling from the windscreen to the bumper form a powerful hump over the bonnet. The raised central bulk offers more physicality to the model’s face as compared to the previous version. 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 on the sides, except for the new design alloys. The new 10 spoke 15 inch alloy units are slimmer and lighter than the ones on the previous gen model, and with their star shaped design, are somewhat reminiscent of the alloys we have so very often seen on the Ferrari F430.
The cosmetic surgery continues at the rear with a new design created for the tail-lamps. Unlike the previous version where the reverse lights were triangular blocks, the new tail-lamps have their colors more horizontally aligned to give a wider look to the rear, which we assess otherwise looks rather high. The shape of the integrated spoiler on the boot-lid is also more aggressive on this model – it’s wider and more well-defined. The ford logo at the rear has moved down a little and is now positioned just above the registration plate recess. To make the car look wider from the rear, 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.
It’s not just the form of the car that the Ford guys have worked hard at though. The new shape has a functional consequence too. The new Fiesta is claimed to have been tested for more than 150 hours in the wind tunnel. The result is a 3 percent reduction in drag, further benefitting fuel efficiency and enhancing performance. The front air-deflector design and enhanced rear spoiler along with under body optimization have helped Ford achieve the feat.
The Fiesta looked sharp in its previous version as well, but the facelift takes the aggression and attitude to a new level. We love way the new Fiesta looks, especially when viewed front on, and from the front three quarters. Looked at in profile, the car somehow appears rather rear heavy. It’s at the rear where the proportions look slightly imprecise, but that’s more a handiwork of the black power suit clad marketing honchos who wanted the boot to be voluminous – quite rightly so, though, for this market. The designers have a done a good job with introducing horizontal elements on the new version, including the new tail-lamp design, a wider spoiler, a slim and wide chrome garnish and wider set reflectors to offset the tall looking boot.
The 2014 Ford Fiesta will be available in six colours including two new shades – Golden Bronze and Smoke Grey.
Cabin and features
The Fiesta, as we have always known, isn’t the most spacious of the cars in its segment. To have a black themed interior, thus, wasn’t a very fruitful thing to have on the previous gen car. Ford India have taken note of the matter, though, and for the 2014 version, the Fiesta features black and bright beige color combo for the interior. While the upper part of the dashboard carries on with its black attire, the lower portion, along with the upholstery has been draped in beige colored plastic and fabric, 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 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 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 center 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.
Satin chrome inserts in places provide nice contrast and lift the quality feel a notch. Quality of materials in nice, and finish doesn’t leave anything to complain either. We do feel, though, that the number of buttons on that center console are a tad too many. The layout could have been more intuitive too. Overall, the cabin feel is extremely sturdy and on the move the overall assembly gives you a perception that it’s built to last a lifetime.
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 Ford AppLink which has made its debut on an Indian car with the new Fiesta.
Of the two, SYNC is Ford’s tech to translate 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.
In its 2014 version, SYNC has evolved, and can recognize up to 150 unique voice commands. It’s also capable of figuring out deviations in accents and figure out the meaning of alternative words. For India, SYNC is available in UK English.
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. This can come handy to feed in addresses and landmarks while navigating, or for finding services like fuel stations and restaurants while driving, without having to use your hands. For now, the Ford AppLink has only three smartphone applications – Explore by MapMyIndia, ESPN Cricinfo and Glympse. Of these the first two apps are India specific, while the third one is a globally available service.
With more than 10 million cars with SYNC plying on roads and the number growing fast, Ford is keen on increasing the number of apps available on the platform. For this, the American carmaker is creating an environment to let more and more developers create apps to help drivers carry out tasks without having to use their hands.
Ford SYNC with AppLInk is a useful feature, and works well. However, it isn’t going to work from the word go. Using the system and the associated applications effectively requires some practice and getting used to, after which making the system work for you is a breeze. Owners of the car, having enough time to master the system should find the convenience offered by SYNC and AppLink very useful.
The last 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.
More Features and Details
Various readouts on the central MID
Parking sensors for Park Assist. Notice the new chrome insert on the bumper. The reflectors flanking the chrome strip are also new
New design for the alloys – light and racy. What do you think of them?
Rear spoiler and tail-lamp design has been reworked to give the car a wider look
Back seat is comfortable and well cushioned, if not the most spacious
Check out the unique ribbed pattern on the seats, meant to offer grip and prevent sliding, which causes discomfort in the long run
Legspace isn’t class leading, but sufficient enough to make for for a comfortable journey
Driver seat height adjustment
Functionality of the A/C panel remains the same. It gets new piano black treatment though
An overhead net pocket comes mighty handy for holding toll tickets
Piano black treatment is extended to the door handles
New, bigger piano black housings for the fog lamps
Restyled headlamps look sharper
Spare isn’t an alloy. For some reason, it also indicates a speed limit of 80km/h, though its not a space saver
Boot space is good, though not class leading
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 trusty, torquey 1.5 liter 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 at2000 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 unit.
As has always been the case with this engine, 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 punchy character of the engine, ever so enjoyable in the real world driving conditions, begins waning at the upper extreme of revs. But that isn’t a matter of concern as the car delivers above average performance for a meaty and useable rev range.
The steering wheel on the car is well contoured and is a joy to hold even after not being too thick. It’s responsive and sensitive across its range. There is no play whatsoever and the driven wheels respond to the minutest input at the steering, even at dead center. Typically European ride quality, with firm damping and a planted feel inspires confidence to push the car around bends. The feedback from the steering wheel at the palms only eggs you on to push the car a bit faster with every passing bend. Body roll is extremely well contained and you’ll feel the cabin tilting unnervingly to one side only once you have decided to push the car and your luck beyond the realms of sanity. In a nutshell, no complaints on the ride and handling front – the Fiesta remains one of our favorite cars to drive this side of Rs 10 lakh.
With the petrol variants totally taken off the shelf, the new Fiesta is available only with the 1.5 Duratorq diesel engine. Ford is offering the Fiesta in three variants – entry level trim Ambiente, mid-spec Trend and top of the line Titanium. The prices for the three variants are Rs 7.69 lakh, Rs 8.55 lakh and Rs 9.29 lakh respectively. With the new version, the prices for the Fiesta have been brought down and the car is now making more sense than ever for a buyer in the segment. It’s cheaper by about Rs 50-70k as compared to the other two leading models – Hyundai Verna and Honda City 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, very fuel efficient and boasts great kit levels too. We absolutely love its audio system. What it doesn’t quite have, however, is the City’s expansive cabin (but it offers a much smoother engine), or the Verna’s jazz. The Fiesta, however, is guaranteed to bring a bigger smile on your face when shown a road leading up a hill though. Go ahead, buy this one, if a wider grin equates to more happiness to you.
Technical Specifications and variant wise features are provided below