Produced by Ford Motor Company since 1976, the Fiesta has been manufactured in some European countries as also Brazil, Venezuela, China, Taiwan, Thailand, South Africa and India. Between 1976 and 2014, there have been six generations and several facelifts of this car. With a sale of more than 16 million units worldwide since the launch of original model, Fiesta has been one of the top selling Ford cars following Escort and the F-Series in the international markets.
It was the sixth generation of this car that was launched in India in July 2011 with both petrol (manual and automatic) and diesel engine options. At that time, Fiesta petrol was priced higher than the Honda City and the diesel version was more expensive than Volkswagen Vento. Coupled with this, the rear seat comfort in the sedan was not at par with competition. Needless to say the Fiesta failed miserably in India in the C2 segment.
The latest facelifted version of this mid-sized sedan was unveiled at Auto Expo in February 2014. In an attempt to breathe life into the Fiesta and revive its sales, Ford has made some major design changes. More importantly, the petrol model has been discontinued and the new version of car is powered by 1.5 litre diesel engine that has 91 PS and 204 Nm of peak torque. It is mated to 5 speed manual transmission. The new Fiesta comes in three variants – Ambiente (base), Trend and Titanium (top end).
Styled very differently from the outgoing model, Fiesta has a new fascia that features the EcoSport like grille and elongated, swept back headlamps. The headlamps are now all silver and do not have the smoked impression of the previous avatar. The windscreen still has a shallow rake that makes the front glass very tall. With prominent creases on the bonnet, there’s a hump in the centre - the lines that straddle it diverge towards the Ford crest placed above the grille. The bumper has also been refreshed and the fog lamp surrounds get a piano-black finish. A new wind deflector below the bumper is part of the aero package and runs up to the front tyres.
In its profile look, the new Fiesta does not seem very different from its predecessor. But the length goes up to 4320 mm long. Width of new model is also more by 42 mm than its predecessor. While the length has increased, the wheelbase at 2489 mm is same as the previous car. The window sill line of this Ford sedan is quite low and the blackened side pillars add to the impact of the long stretch of glass on the sides. There is a new, 5 double spoke design for the alloy wheels. The wheel arches have a sleek flare and Fiesta’s top end version stands on 15 inch alloys with 195/60 R15 tubeless tyres. The other two versions use the same tyre size with 15 inch steel wheels. ORVMs have been redesigned and besides side turn blinkers, they also get puddle lamps now.
New Fiesta looks better from the rear and it shares certain design cues with Ford Focus of the US. The tailgate is more angular and the updated design of the tail lamps, tapering towards the boot looks refreshing. There is 430 litres of space in this trunk. Curvy sculpting below the tail lamps and the slim reflectors on the bumper complete the look.
Inside the cabin there is a new dual tone colour for the dashboard with black upper and light grey lower part. There is glossy black plastic for the centre console and the three spoke steering wheel has a brushed chrome finish. Audio controls mount the LHS and in this Fiesta, there is cruise control feature (switches on RHS of steering) with the Trend and Titanium trims. Illumination for the instrument panel has changed from red to a somewhat neutral blue. There is an updated MID with new fonts. It has a temperature gauge but unlike the EcoSport, there is no real-time fuel economy meter.
The buttons on the centre console and the climate control unit have piano black finish. Fiesta comes with keyless go and so you do not need to take the smart key out of your pocket to start the engine. Just press the clutch and then the engine start –stop button. The audio system (not available in base variant) comes with Aux input and USB port besides FM/AM, CD and MP3 player. There are 6 speakers. The top end version also has a voice control attribute.
Seats in grey upholstery are comfortable and front seats have really nice side bolsters. There are door pockets and appropriately sculpted cubby holes for stowage of knick knacks.
Anti lock braking with electronic brake force distribution is a standard feature for the Fiesta. Airbag is provided only for the driver in Ambiente trim and for both driver and front passenger in the upper 2 variants.
ARAI certified fuel economy for the sedan is 25.01 km/litre.
The colour range includes shades such as Golden Bronze, Panther Black, Paprika Red, Smoke Grey and Diamond White. The Ambiente, Trend and Titanium are priced at Rs. 7.69, 8.56 and Rs. 9.29 lakhs respectively (ex showroom price Delhi). And so the car that was rejected because of its price among other factors, is now more affordable than competitors Hyundai Verna, Honda City and VW Vento.
International models of Fiesta that also include its hatchback version have been honoured with a number of awards and accolades. Some of these are 'Car of the Year 2009' by Britain's What Car? Magazine, 'Best Supermini' in Auto Express magazine's New Car Awards 2009, and 2011 AJAC Car of the Year Award for Best Small Car under $21,000.
While the first Fiesta model launched in India did not see any success, it does look more focused and tuned for ground reality in its second innings. It is a good choice for those who need to purchase a diesel mid sized saloon and intend to drive themselves instead of being chauffeur driven.
Fiesta comes with ultra-modern and chic clothing that although has found appeal among the youth but at the cost of large section of practical masses that have not been very happy with Fiesta’s on-your-face design attitude. However the biggest problem in Fiesta offer is its heightened price as the top variant of this vehicle costs you over Rs 10 lakh. Now it’s too pricey for a sedan that lacks in overall safety and equipment list; more so when compared directly to competitor’s offering. The only hope of Fiesta’s sales revival rests on the pillar of price revision that could save this otherwise brilliant sedan in some of other virtues like ride, handling and city drivability.
Also Ford need to understand that even if it wants to charge premium for its vehicles it has to get all the basics right especially related to its dealerships network that has many times drawn flak for their poor service and apathy towards the customers.