Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ford Fiesta 1.6S

The mid-size sedan market badly needs a miracle. High interest rates and rising input costs had already slowed down its growth drive. But the government excise whammy has pretty much slammed down the brakes. Which is why nearly all mass market car companies are looking to revitalise their mid-size portfolio.

Hyundai has launched a dual fuel Accent and Ford has revamped its entire Fiesta range. The makeover includes cosmetic changes like headlamps and a new face not to mention fabric and leather, now offered in a wider variety of colours, and improvements in quality and finish.

The Fiesta offers both Duratec (petrol) and Duratorq (turbodiesel) engines though in the past sales have been predominantly diesel for the model. At the unveiling of the new Ford Fiesta last week, Michael Boneham, president of Ford India said, “The bold styling of new Fiesta indicates a clear move toward European design cues and is a true reflection of the Ford Fiesta's exciting on-road character.”

The new Ford Fiesta model range includes three petrol variants, 1.6 EXI, 1.6 ZXI and 1.6 SXI, and three turbodiesel variants, 1.4 EXI, 1.4 ZXI and 1.4 SXI. In addition, Ford India has introduced the Fiesta 1.6S sport variant. “We see a growing niche in the Indian market, a discerning set of customers who enjoy driving and want a car to reflect their individual personality and style.

We've developed the Fiesta 1.6 S with its body kit and performance for that customer. This niche wants a Fiesta with more agility and athleticism,” said Nigel Wark, executive director, marketing, sales & service, Ford India. The Ford Fiesta range is priced from Rs 6.2 lakh for petrol variants and from Rs 7.1 lakh for the turbodiesel models. The Fiesta 1.6 S, available only with the 101PS petrol Duratec engine, is priced at Rs 7.15 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). Equipped with five-spoke, 15-inch alloy wheels, the Fiesta 1.6 S offers ‘unique’ bumper treatments, a sports body kit which extends from the bumpers through the bodyside rocker moulding, a new rear spoiler and chrome tipped exhaust. Morello and Thunder are new colour choices for the Fiesta range, joining Panther Black, Diamond White, Brush Steel, Paprika Red, Moondust Silver and Platinum.

The Fiesta 1.6 S is also offered in bright, eye-catching Aquarius. As for the interiors, apart from the fabric, the new instrument cluster, featuring a honeycomb graphic theme and bezel highlights, are also an added style cue. The top-end Fiesta SXI offers beige leather seats and new dark mahogany centre console surround.

The Fiesta 1.6 S offers Ebony and Jasper Blue interiors combined with a liquid metal audio surround and central console. The Fiesta 1.6 S and SXI series feature CD audio units with MP3 capability and a dedicated audio input jack for iPods and similar MP3 players. The new Fiesta range incorporates an array of active and passive safety features. The SXI and the 1.6 S offer ABS along with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) for optimal vehicle control during extreme braking in all weather and road conditions.

The Ford Fiesta SXI and 1.6 S also provide driver and passenger airbags as standard equipment. The load-limiting inertial safety belt technology is designed to limit chest loads on impact. And to make the model India friendly, features such as heightened water wading, where the vehicle is tested to 450mm in depth in dynamic and stationary driving scenarios, have been included. Fiesta’s superb HVAC system also is calibrated to cool the interior rapidly in extremely hot conditions to take care of Indian summers.