The Ford Ikon provides outshining performance and driving pleasure and ticks the right boxes when it comes to having fun on the go.
The Ikon when launched was Ford’s premium offering in India. The car sported three engines, namely a 1.3-litre petrol engine producing 70 HP and 105 Nm, the most favourite 1.6-litre petrol engine with 92 BHP and 130 Nm, and a 1.8-litre diesel engine. Deemed as the ‘Josh Machine’, this car was preferred by driving enthusiasts for the sheer power offered by the signature 1.6-litre petrol engine. The ageing 1st generation model was given an update or rather just a facelift in 2008 and the TDCi diesel engine which was doing its duties in the Fiesta was plonked into it, giving it a good amount of power for the car of this size. Ford pulled the plug on the Ikon in 2011, thereby ending its relatively long life of 12 years.
The model I own is a Miami Gold 2007 Ford Ikon Flair, which has clocked 88,000 kms just recently and unfortunately bought just a couple of months before the launch of the facelift. I am sharing with you my personal experiences with the car.
Exteriors – While talking about the exteriors, the front-end of the Ikon is still seemingly appealing, taking into consideration that it’s quite old. Its cat-like eyes integrates well into the very sporty looking front bumper. Fog light enclosures do look very old, but are well integrated into the bumper as well. As the car is low slung at the front, it still looks better than the much later launched first generation Toyota Etios. Simple lines run over the bonnet giving the front an overall masculine appeal.
The side mirrors seem very dated and are made of cheap plastics, they are coloured in black. I have often had to replace the self-adjusters given inside the car. The Flair was the only variant on offer at the time of purchase and it had no alloy wheels on offer. Average looking wheel caps find their way onto the steel rims instead. Towards the rear, the car looks a bit high off the ground. But the good looking large rear lights give the rear end a nice look.
Interiors – Stepping into the car, we are welcomed by beige coloured interiors which makes the inside seem big and spacious. The material used though is only fabric and leather was not even available as an option. The seating position is a bit on the lower side but is quite comfortable. There is ample amount of leg and knee room for the front passengers as the dashboard is bent in. Cup holders are only provided on the lid of the glovebox compartment which is a downside, while the compartment itself has ample space available for any sort of storage.
There are no bottle holders anywhere to be seen and the storage space available on the doors are only suitable for keeping newspapers, wallets, etc. There are electric power windows for all four doors having a neat looking fluorescent coloured back-light. The power window switches are of average quality, but the AC switches are fine. The back seat is a little low but provide the perfect inclination for both short and long journeys. Boot space is more than generous but the rear seat cannot be folded.
Performance – The Ford Ikon has always been known to have a performance oriented setup. There is a lot of power available in the low and mid range of the powerband but the car feels a bit strained when stretched to the limit. As soon as the accelerator is floored, the motor pulls strongly and gathers momentum fast. Whenever driven to the limit, the engine always offers peppy performance. The vehicle currently returns about 12-13 km/l and about 14-15 km/l when driven sparingly in city traffic and highways respectively.
Driving Dynamics – Power delivery is linear and it gathers speed quickly. I once managed to touch 155 km/hr and even at that speed, the engine didn’t give out too many stress signals, though the NVH levels have always been on the bad side (the sound of the car is pure music though). Gear shifts are very smooth and it’s a delight to throw around, but the clutch on the other hand is on the heavy side making traffic jams a bit of a nightmare.
Ride and handling is good and the car always seems to stick to the road. ABS is missing but the brakes are very reassuring and precise even in the rains. The Ikon does not face much problems in tackling potholes, but due to the low nose out front, one needs to be careful while entering a big bump up ahead. Headlamps are a bit of a let-down as only near stretches of the road are well illuminated and driving on the highway can be a bit of a problem at night.
Verdict – To sum it up, the Ford Ikon has always been a car to be self-driven. It had been aimed at customers who love driving, offering immense fun on the run just like most of the other vehicles from the same stable. The suspension is just the way it has to be. It’s got the goods under the hood, ready to pump some adrenaline when you need it. On the other hand, it can also play a role of a faithful family sedan, with comfortable rear seats.
The only irritation is the vibes, which finds its way to the gear stick and the pedals. Neat touches like integrated coat hangers on rear hand grips, automatic switching off of headlights when the ignition is turned off, an awesome AC unit and the small and sporty steering wheel gives the Ikon a very Ford like driving experience altogether.