Ford Fiesta Diesel Long Term Review
Car Tested: Ford Fiesta Titanium
Kms Done: 6466 kms
Test Started at: 6730 kms
Test Concluded at: 13,196 kms
Mileage: 15.67 km/l, 17.35 km/l (best), 13.48 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 412 litres
Fuel Cost: Rs. 25,132/-
Rs. per km: Rs. 3.88/-
Service Cost: Rs. 2706/- (Second Service)
The Ford Fiesta is so fun yet practical that it is a car which excels in both work and play
Man is a social animal and most of the times we do things which pleases others, even if it is purchasing a car. No, it doesn’t matter as to how the car makes you feel, what matters is how your family and peers respond to it. I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous but that’s how things work in our country. That’s the reason people purchase safe bets, putting more importance of buying vehicles which will call for less ridicule from others. That’s the reason why the first few months of any newly launched vehicle is of prime importance and sadly for the seventh generation Fiesta, things did not start off on the right note! Ford went with premium pricing and that was largely due to the high amount of import content in the car. With the EcoSport, lessons were learned and the facelifted model benefits from more aggressive pricing. Having lived with both the pre-facelift and the new Fiesta on a long term basis, we simply scratch our heads and wonder why this car doesn’t outsell most other C-segment offerings.
After wondering for long hours, we have got answers but still they don’t justify the low sales of the Ford Fiesta. When the American automaker launched the all new model, it was priced too optimistically and that was one big reason for the sales not going good enough. Ford did correct the pricing issue in the facelifted model but I still don’t see as many Fiestas on the road. With the EcoSport doing extremely well, people are no longer having the myth that Ford service is expensive because it simply isn’t. Probably people who go to buy a Fiesta are attracted to the EcoSport and opt for it instead, after all we Indians love SUVs and that car is also well accepted, so no social pressure!
Where the Ford Fiesta does lose out on is interior space. While the front seats have enough room, the rear bench doesn’t offer the same levels of comfort as its rivals, not even matching the Hyundai Verna or Fiat Linea, two cars which aren’t as roomy as the Nissan Sunny or Honda City. In fact every car in the C-segment, except the Verna and Fiesta come with rear seat AC or fan vents. Clearly the Fiesta isn’t aimed at the chauffeur driven and there comes the problem. Most buyers in this segment use the rear seat, either by traveling with more people on board or keeping a chauffeur, the Fiesta is not the car to be driven in and Ford has itself positioned it as a driver’s car. The problem is, how many people love driving? Because whoever does, there is no better car in the segment than the Ford Fiesta.
Being the shortest car in the segment in terms of length, not only does the Fiesta lack on interior room, it also lacks when it comes to boot space. In spite of that, a person who is driving will always appreciate the front seats, they are the best in the business as far as comfort over long distances go, with those thick side bolstering helping to a large extent. I really like the black and grey dashboard and the funky centre console, the design is just right to go with the sporty positioning of the car. There are plenty of features too, not once have I turned on the lights of the Fiesta because the light switch has been placed to automatic since day one and it simply works flawlessly. Equipment list is generous with cruise control, automatic wipers, climate control, Bluetooth audio system with SYNC voice commands, keyless go with push button start and reverse parking sensors, all of which make the Fiesta a very loaded vehicle.
In fact, the amount of equipment on the Ford Fiesta is among the best in the segment, it does miss out on small things which is surprising, like there is no automatic door locking (the EcoSport has it), the AC circulation is always on outside air (one always has to turn internal circulation on) and the power windows switches are too behind so the controls don’t fall naturally in hand, etc. Besides that, the Fiesta’s easy to read instrument console needs to have two trip meters and the mileage needs to be shown as km/l not l/100 (EcoSport has it in km/l). And since it is India where we live, the most important safety feature on the Fiesta isn’t as flawless to use, I am of course talking about the horn pad which solicits extra effort to use.
Nit-picking aside, once you come to the driver’s seat of the car, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. Press the button on the door handle with the key in your pocket and the car unlocks, the rear view mirrors open and you are all set to go. Press the ‘Ford Power’ button and the 1.5-litre diesel engine comes to life, the only powertrain option on the car. Sure 90 PS and 204 Nm doesn’t sound much and it isn’t in the real world either but you will be surprised by the slick performance of the car. The Fiesta never feels underpowered, be it the city or the highway, there is always good punch on offer and that ensures you can make quick overtakes without a second thought. There is some lag in the low-end so downshifting is the need of the hour in stop-go traffic but the light clutch and smooth shifting 5-speed gearbox are a joy to use.
Where I enjoy driving the Ford Fiesta is the highways. Getting into fifth gear quickly, you can pull the car right from 60 km/hr to 195 km/hr in the same gear. The way it pulls post 2000 RPM in top gear, really makes you think you are a couple of gears down. The gearing is just perfect for highway driving. Helping the Fiesta pull strongly to high speeds is the improved aerodynamics. We had the old Fiesta for a long term a couple of years back and it never felt so instant post 140 km/hr, the new model does. The improved slipperiness has also aided in fuel efficiency, the claimed number being 25.1 km/l while our enthusiastic driving has seen us get around 16 km/l, the car sipping more fuel at triple digit speeds.
The Ford Fiesta’s steering wheel is so amazing, I can rate it above some popular German cars too
Coming to the most impressive part of the car, the handling, let me talk about a small incident. To test the Benelli bikes, we headed to Pune in the Fiesta and en route, we were doing triple digit speeds. Sitting with me in the Blue Oval were people who don’t care much about cars and yet they said that this car has amazing stability, they could barely make out the speeds being done because it’s immensely stable. They also appreciated the ride quality which they said was phenomenal. I have been with them in big fat German vehicles and have never heard such praises from them. What truly spell-bounds you is the steering wheel, right from the word go, it just has the right feel and feedback. In fact, the steering wheel of the Fiesta is so good, I would rate it above cars costing Rs. 60 lakhs too. There is so much feel and accuracy that you can pin-point the vehicle to exactly where you want it to go. The grippy rubber and excellent brakes further help you to exploit the fantastic body control of this C-segmenter.
The recent facelift to the Ford Fiesta has boosted its appeal immensely. The Aston Martin inspired front-end makes the car look gorgeous and those wheels (seen on old Ferraris) look the part too. Our other long termer with the Fiesta was the segment top-seller, the Honda City and while the Japanese vehicle will happily scrape its underbelly every now and then, the Ford doesn’t have any ground clearance issues. We have had as good a service experience with Ford as we have had with Honda, so those who say that Ford service is bad or parts are expensive, need to get a first hand feel. The only issue we faced was when a coconut fell on the windscreen and shattered the glass, it took sometime to source a new windshield as the dealer did not have it in stock.
Ford Fiesta Cost Of Service
* Engine oil per service – Rs. 1152/-
* Oil Filter – Rs. 341/-
* Air Filter – Rs. 500/-
* Fuel Filter – Rs. 1400/-
* Wheel Alignment – Rs. 400/-
* Wheel Balancing – Rs. 400/-
* Brake Service – Rs. 850/-
* Brake Fluid – Rs. 700/-
* Paid labour chargers in periodic service – Rs. 1400/-
(Ford offers 5-years/50,000 kms scheduled service plan for the Fiesta which covers all perodic services including labour charges. You can also opt for total maintenance plan for 3-years/30,000 kms which also includes wear and tear items. The engine oil and oil filter is changed every 10,000 kms while the air filter, brake and clutch fluid needs to replaced every 20,000 kms. The fuel filter requires change every 30,000 kms. When all periodic service and its costs are factored in, the Fiesta’s cost of maintenance comes to Rs. 50 paise per km which is very reasonable for a diesel C-segment sedan).
The Ford Fiesta is a terrific car and among those few cars which touches your heart. I have driven many cars and yet the Fiesta is the rare few I would personally like to buy. From a day to day car for the city, to driving endlessly on highways, there is simply no other vehicle which comes close to the sheer balance offered by this Ford. It handles beautifully yet there is no trade-off as the ride quality is excellent too. The engine has more than enough pep to keep you smiling yet it won’t sip fuel. If I have to sum it, the Ford Fiesta is an American car at heart, with German levels of engineering yet costing as much as Japanese cars to buy and upkeep and that mix is simply a dream come true. After having driven it for close to six months, I can confidently say that there is nothing wrong with this car, wrong is with the people who don’t consider this gem of a vehicle as a prospective purchase.
While we loved the Ford Fiesta during its time with us, this car has made it difficult to live with other cars because nothing comes close to the ride-handling-steering feel of this American automobile. This car deserves to sell in big numbers.
* Engine performance in mid and top-end
* Ride and handling balance
* Steering feel and terrific feedback
* Stability and brakes
What’s Not So Cool
* 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine not offered
Further Reading –
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta