Thanks to the Blogworks team which selected me in the exclusive group comprising of only the three Delhiites to test drive over a weekend the all new Fiesta with PowerShift.
To begin with, I was happy to get the only automatic car since the other two were manual transmission.
Since hiring the Galaxy MPV 2.0 Zetec automatic diesel last year in London for a week, I became a Ford fan. I was most surprised and excited when Blogworks called me last week to test drive the Fiesta for them over the weekend. I jumped at the opportunity and drove the beautiful Paprika Red (in pic) automatic from Ashoka hotel to my home in Civil Lines.
It was very thoughtful of Ford to give all three of us cars with tank full of petrol, though I could consume little more than a quarter of it only. Nigel Wark, Executive Director of Ford India gave us a demo drive so to say in this automatic beauty and also managed to drive the car in the power-drive feature which revved up the engine and produced a cool Lamborghini style sound–bit like it OK.
The best reaction to the feature-rich sedan was from my 3 and a half year old son who was most impressed with the voice control feature for dialing calls, changing audio stations, climate control etc. From Friday evening to Sunday noon, I had a real good time exploring the car.
To talk about the good things first: The car is fantastic in handling on curves even on the power-drive mode. The automatic fitted with dual-clutch makes snail-drive in traffic or on a highway at a decent speed really enjoyable.
The brakes are decent. Audio system is state of the art. The design of the dash is driver friendly, though the features are also present in the steering wheel too. The boot space is simply great and is required to be great also for me. Trust me, a lawyer does need a good storage area for files to carry to courts.
Ford requires getting used to. For instance, since inception, the controls for turning indicators and wipers are on the opposite sides as conventionally present in Indian cars. Ford has continued it.
Ford website says that the transmission requires no maintenance for 10 years / 2,40,000 kms! It can be a game changer. Many people have this notion that the automatic transmission, if it requires maintenance, can really make life difficult for the owner.
The things which I reckon require a re-look by Ford: The car, especially the automatic variant, is priced more than what might appeal to me. Now I drive a 2008 model Honda City (10th anniversary edition) and a fully loaded Corolla 1.8G, both manual. An automatic transmission is really advisable for a congested city driving or even a long drive on a highway with cruise control–which is also a feature in the all new Fiesta. The practical problem with an automatic transmission is also of the fuel economy because of the continuous acceleration. Ford claims that the fuel economy is over 16 kmpl. I could not ascertain it though since I had the car for only 2 days. My Santro Xing still, after 7 years and over 85,000 kms, gives me a mileage of over 14 kmpl in city and is a gem to drive and park.
Nigel informed us that now the dealership and the service stations are sufficient in number and Ford plans to expand this network even more. It sure will come as a good news to many present and potential owners of Ford who might be cribbing about lack of sufficient number of service stations.
One really great thing about getting a Ford serviced is that the manual of Fiesta says that the car is due for servicing after every 12 months or 10,000 kms done. That takes care of the service portion. My Honda City goes for servicing after every three to four months. Though the cost of maintaining a Honda is not much and the service centers are excellent too, a once-a-year service sure sounds appealing–provided the cost of the service is reasonable as well.
I had a great time with the Fiesta. To someone like me who sold his Esteem after driving it for over 140,000 kms, or the Santro Xing which has done over 85,000, a long term relationship with the vehicle is paramount. The Fiesta sure looks like a kind of vehicle which can be with me for a long time once it enters my garage. The automatic Fiesta could be my first choice when the City/Corolla are up for replacement. Maybe I might go for a Figo when I’m replacing my Xing!
I cannot rate this car on a scale like the brainy journalists do. Hypothetically speaking, if I owned this automatic Fiesta–preferably in this colour too–, I would be one of the happiest persons since the car literally calls the owner for taking it for a spin.
Once again, many thanks Ford and Blogworks for giving me this opportunity.