The Ford Fiesta has been well-accepted in the Indian market, and for good reason too. Unlike the awkwardly designed New Honda City and Hyundai Verna, the proportionate yet conservative design of this Ford pleased most of our owner reviewers and turned-off none. The face-lifted front end design is striking, especially that of the headlamps. Fiestas could use bigger wheels though; the 14 inch wheels (standard variants) look terribly small for the large wheel arches. Build quality is typically European and sturdy, but long-term reviews show that it has its share of grey areas in part quality and panel gap inconsistency. Our ownership reviews indicate that the interior is well put together and offers a lot of practicality, with just the right ergonomics and plenty of storage spaces. A good number of parts are from the Mondeo/ Fusion product bins. However, for a car of this price, the rear seat space is cramped while the seat back is positioned a tad too upright for comfort.
Ford offers two engine options in India: a 1.6 100 BHP for the enthusiast and a super-efficient diesel. Owners state that both engines score highly on refinement. The 1.6 is a scorcher and a sheer delight for enthusiastic drivers. Power delivery is smooth and linear, with the engine developing an addictive raspy tone at higher rpms. Its 0 – 100 timing is amongst the quickest from the segment. Owners were satisfied with its urban drivability as well as highway performance. An equal amount of praise came from Fiesta owners toward the 1.4 liter 68 BHP diesel which, with its high fuel efficiency and absence of turbo-lag, made for the most popular choice. This engine is super fuel-efficient and has adequate power for urban commutes. However, it does not have good top-end power and is best suited to safe cruising on the highway.
The 1.4 diesel does run out of breath during overtaking maneuvers and on ghat sections. Owners loved the slick gearbox but found the clutch to be a little heavier than that of its Japanese and Korean competition. Our reviewers also applaud the ride quality that offers comfortable cruising on most kinds of roads. Even on bad stretches, the damping is acceptably absorbent. The handling and direct steering are very driver-oriented, with the chassis exhibiting superb balance. Fiesta buyers enjoyed pushing the sedan through fast corners, what with the high grip levels and predictable manners on offer. Our reviewers unanimously agreed that braking ability needs improvement. It lacks in feel too. The ABS option is a big plus, and most owners opted for and recommend this upgrade.
In mid-2008, Ford released the 1.6S, a sporty variant of the Fiesta petrol. The 1.6S is one of the few Indian sedans that is targeted toward enthusiasts, and is a hoot to drive. A racing blue colour option, body skirts, meaty 15 inch 5 spoke alloys, 195 patch tyres and a boot spoiler give it a stunning profile. The seats come with additional bolstering and funky double stitches, but are a little too soft for comfort over long drives. The engine runs in the same state of tune and churns out a 100 BHP. A stiffer suspension results in an overall better level of handling. Owners report that turn-in is sharper, grip levels are good while body roll is better controlled. The flip side of a firmer suspension is a stiffer ride. The 1.6 S is distinctly harder on its occupants, compared to the standard variants, especially on broken road stretches.