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Ford Fiesta PowerShift road test - Powering on


Now, Ford is a well established brand in our market and their products are generally well accepted, but when it came time to replace the popular Fiesta sedan with the new model, Ford dropped the ball a little. It had most things going for it and had it been priced competitively from the start, it would have been a success, but alas, one must make mistakes to learn from them.

And learn they did, they revised the pricing of the Fiesta and added an automatic variant on top of that.


Does it look good?

When you come up to the new Fiesta, you can't help but think it looks good. It'll look great parked right outside your house, too. Its trapezoidal lower grille, the slit-like headlamps and the new 'Kinetic' design language give it that I'm-moving-even-though-I'm-stationary look, which we find quite desirable.

The Fiesta name was always meant for a hatchback, but for the Indian market, Ford was kind enough to offer a sedan version going back to the Ikon. This time, all the other international markets get the sedan as well. But it’s still designed primarily as a hatch though and it shows in the rear end styling. The very narrow opening of the boot and the high waistline are typical hatchback characteristics.




How is it on the inside?

The Titanium+ model we tested came with all the bells and whistles inside. Leather upholstery, climate control, steering-mounted audio and cruise controls, a voice command system and last but not least the audio system with USB and AUX-IN inputs and bluetooth capabilities. The only thing you might find to be a problem with the interior is the rear seat space. The actual space is decent, but the all-black interiors along with the high waistline means that rear seat passengers aren’t going to be too happy being confined there. We may be nitpicking a little here, but the centre armrest and the one one the door-pad aren’t at the same level, so you feel like you’re sitting a little lopsided when you’re back there.




How does it drive?

Any problem you may have with the car melts away once you get into the driver’s seat and crank that 1.5-litre engine to life. This is an automatic, so there’s no joy to be derived from perfectly matching your downshifts and such, but the Fiesta comes with a segment-first, six-speed dual clutch transmission called the PowerShift. What all this technical jargon means for you is that shifts are quicker, almost instantaneous, and the crew at Ford did a great job of tuning the transmission shifts too. Even in the normal ‘D’ mode, the transmission holds gears for you and isn’t hesitant in the least to drop a gear or two if the need arises. The shifter offers no other options though, there’s just an ‘L’ mode for when you want to climb steep inclines and a hill descent control when you need to get down. We’d have loved it if it came with paddle shifters or a manual mode on the transmission though.

The engine is unchanged from the manual version, and while it’s no 1.6S, the 1.5-litre petrol mill makes a healthy 107bhp of peak power which is enough to send the Fiesta from 0-100 kph in 12.2 seconds. This is enough to beat out the Skoda Rapid, but it trails behind the Honda City.





How well does it corner?

The old Fiesta, especially the 1.6S, was known to be a true driver’s car and this new one certainly doesn’t disappoint.Sure, they take away one pedal from you, but the other parameters are still well under your control. The steering feels great in your hand and once on the move communicates all that is going on between the tyres and the road straight to your fingers. The suspension is very well suited to enthusiastic driving, with minimal body roll during hard cornering. Surprisingly though, for something that handles that well, it also takes on the bumpy roads quite well. The slow speed bumps are a little harsh, yes, but at speed, the undulations and bumps on the road are easily soaked up by the suspension.

So, how about it, then?

If you ignore the price tag for a while and just drive the car for what it is, a sporty automatic sedan, you’ll definitely want to make this your next car, but there are a few drawbacks to it. Since the transmission lets you have some fun, fuel efficiency suffers a bit and price, even the revised one, is a little on the high side. If you’re intent on a sporty sedan though, the Fiesta is still a great choice.