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2014 Ford Fiesta vs New Honda City vs Volkswagen Vento: Diesel Comparison Review


We put the newly launched Ford Fiesta against the new Honda City and the Volkswagen Vento in an all-out diesel comparison test

 

 

Fiesta v City v Vento group pic 5

 

The upper C-segment sedan category has two dominant players. The new Honda City and the Hyundai Verna. The rest, are finding it hard to bring the big numbers in. Ford, meanwhile, is giving itself another shot at this category with the updated Fiesta. It isn’t looking for numbers with the Fiesta, says Ford, but it wants to address a niche that exists in the C-segment. That niche involves few takers but a reasonably wide selection of cars. So, it isn’t going to be easy. To find out if Ford has a chance, we have brought along the much-appreciated Volkswagen Vento (again a car that doesn’t sell in too many numbers, therefore niche) and the segment flag bearer, the new Honda City, just to better understand where the Fiesta actually stands. So, here goes.

 

Exterior Styling/Design:


Fiesta v City v Vento group pic 7

 

All three cars approach styling from a very different perspective. Where the Volkswagen is the definition of German restraint with its subtle chrome slatted grille and darkened headlamps, the new Honda City is definitely a tribute to modern Japanese design with a distinctively designed large grille. The Ford however is the most striking of the lot with its large Aston Martin inspired grille and large swept back headlamps.

 

At the rear, the Vento’s subtle and balanced styling continues with a set of conventional and comparatively smaller tail lamps. The new Honda City with its stretched out tail lamps and stubby boot compliments the rest of the car while the Fiesta still looks a little ungainly with its taller stance. The sculpted boot lid and distinctively shaped tail lamps have helped give the Fiesta a more acceptable look, nonetheless.

 

City Badge

 

 

Honda City: 4.5

Volkswagen Vento: 3.5

Ford Fiesta: 4

 

 

 

 

Interior & Space:


Ford Fiesta rear legroom

 

Interior design is where things start getting interesting. Each manufacturer has a very different take on interior direction and it shows. Where the Volkswagen Vento has started to feel a little drab and dull as compared to its newer generation competitors like the City, in terms of quality it still feels the best. It is also the most uncluttered. Moreover, the Vento is the only car that offers both height and reach adjustment for the steering column and has comfortable seats all round. Space, be it rear knee or shoulder room, is good too.

 

Volkswagen Vento Rear legroom

 

The Ford Fiesta, which is least spacious of the three cars here, has the most interesting interiors. The EcoSport inspired design has a barrage of buttons and knobs with some extremely futuristic touches in the instrument cluster. The controls for the telephone and infotainment system are laid out in a V formation on the central console. That said, the Fiesta’s infotainment screen too should have been brought up-to-date with some of today’s competitors. The Fiesta’s front seats are a bit on the sportier side, which could be an issue for some. It also has the least amount of shoulder room making three abreast seating at the rear, cramped.

 

Honda City rear legroom

 

The Honda City’s insides have a modern look, nice plastic and good equipment all rolled into one well thought out package. The simplistic design that is dominated by the gloss black panels and the brushed aluminum accents look like they have been borrowed from a car above its class. The Honda also has the most spacious and most comfortable interiors. The comfortable and wide front seats offer the driver and passenger a level of comfort that is unparalleled in this segment. At the rear, the Honda City again trumps its competition by offering class leading knee and shoulder room.

 

Honda Badge

 

 

Honda City: 4

Volkswagen Vento: 3.5

Ford Fiesta: 3.5

 

 

 

 

 

Features & Equipment:


Honda City interiors

 

Comfort and convenience related features are important in this category, and none of the cars feel poorly equipped. All three offer Bluetooth telephony, steering mounted audio and phone controls, USB and auxiliary inputs and electronically adjustable ORVMs. The Volkswagen Vento, as we mentioned earlier, also offers height and reach adjustment in the steering column and a SD card reader. It also gets rear AC vents.

 

Volkswagen Vento Interiors

 

Rear AC vents is also something the new Honda City sports. But, additionally, it comes with a color display for the infotainment system, a touch screen climate control system, a reversing camera and a sunroof. The City also gets cruise control and like the Vento, one can also order the City with leather interiors.

 

 

 

Ford Fiesta Interior

 

The new Ford Fiesta has no such option. It also doesn’t get touchscreen anything or a sunroof or even rear AC vents. But, the Fiesta’s USP is its infotainment system which comes with voice activated command and some smart apps to enhance the traveling experience and the fact that it is the only car here to come with rain sensing wipers. It gets cruise control too.

 

Fiesta Badge

 

 

Honda City: 4.5

Volkswagen Vento: 3.5

Ford Fiesta: 4

 

 

 


Ride & Ease of driving:


Fiesta v City v Vento group pic 2

 

Another win for the Honda here. Not only is the Honda City an easier car to drive, especially in the city with its light steering and good visibility, it is also the most comfortable amongst the three. The Fiesta and the Vento in terms of ride quality over an average road surface score about the same. While the Vento has better insulation levels, the Fiesta has better absorption and ground clearance. But, there’s no getting away from the fact that both these cars are setup slightly stiffer and are therefore, not as comfortable to amble around in at slow speeds as the Honda.

 

Honda City Cornering

 

 

Honda City: 4.5

Volkswagen Vento: 3.5

Ford Fiesta: 3.5

 

 


 

Handling & Braking:


Fiesta v City v Vento group picture

 

Dynamics is where the Ford shines. In terms of sheer handling prowess, the Fiesta is better than the already well sorted Vento. The new Honda City brings up the rear here. High speed stability again is well judged on both the Fiesta and the Vento and both offer reasonably quick and responsive steering. Even around corners, there’s no pronounced under or oversteer. But, between the two, the Fiesta clearly has an edge. The same holds true for braking.

 

Ford Fiesta Cornering

 

As for the new Honda City it does not handle as well, but it isn’t exactly a bad handler. One can’t commit as hard in the City as one can in the Ford or the Volkswagen. But drive it keeping its shortcomings in mind like the skinny tyres, the soft suspension setup and a steering that lacks feel, and it doesn’t feel at sea around a switchback. Braking, again on the City, feels less sharp and balanced compared to the other two cars. But, it gets ABS (like the others) and you can lean on it as hard as you choose.

 

Ford Badge

 

 

Honda City: 3.5

Volkswagen Vento: 4

Ford Fiesta: 4.5

 

 

 

 

Engines & Performance:


Fiesta v City v Vento rear

 

Four-cylinder diesel engines with turbocharging is the norm here. But, wherein the new Honda City and the Ford Fiesta come with 1.5-litre engines, the Volkswagen Vento is equipped with a larger 1.6-litre unit. Power and torque output is more on the Vento as well. Compared to Honda’s 100PS and Ford’s even lesser 90PS, the Volkswagen makes 104PS of max power. The torque too at 250Nm is almost 50Nm more than the other cars.

 

Volkswagen Vento Panning

 

And this difference is easy to feel on the road too. The Vento is the quickest off the line, the most driveable and the quietest of the three. The City though is the most linear in terms of power delivery without any sudden turbo kicks. But, it is the noisiest. As for the new Fiesta, it doesn’t exactly feel underpowered even though it has the least power output on paper, but, it isn’t an engine that excites or involves. As far as gearboxes go, the City is the only one with a 6-speed manual with good shift action to boot. The Fiesta and the Vento get 5-speed manuals and though these too offer short throws and reasonably precise shifts, it just isn’t as good as on the new City.

 

Volkswagen badge

 

 

Honda City: 3.5

Volkswagen Vento: 4

Ford Fiesta: 3.0

 

 

 

 

Price & Fuel Efficiency:


Fiesta v City v Vento group pic 6

 

When Ford launched the Fiesta earlier this year, they wanted to target a niche audience. That said, the Fiesta is the cheapest buy with three variants priced between Rs 7.69-9.29 lakh. The Honda City comes next with five variants priced between Rs 8.38-11.06 lakh and the Volkswagen Vento with three variants priced between Rs 8.54-10 lakh. Although the Honda City has the most expensive variant, we think it offers the best value due to the additional equipment levels it offers. The Honda City and the Ford Fiesta offer the highest fuel efficiency (ARAI) figures at a staggering 25.1kmpl followed by the Volkswagen Vento at 20.5kmpl.

 

Fiesta Badge

 

 

Honda City: 4.0

Volkswagen Vento: 3.5

Ford Fiesta: 4.5

 

 

 

 

Verdict:


Fiesta v City v Vento group picture

 

The new Honda City remains the best buy in this class of diesel sedans. As our ratings reveal, the Honda is ahead of the competition on nearly every front. It isn’t as dynamically sound as the other two cars and it is more expensive, but for a car meant for city use and the occasional highway outing, it has space, comfort, equipment and fuel efficiency loaded in its favour.  

 

Fiesta v City v Vento group pic 4

 

It’s a tie between the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Vento, even though these cars don’t score on the same parameters. The Ford Fiesta for instance scores over the VW in areas like handling, braking, fuel economy, pricing and equipment, while the Vento takes the lead when it comes to better build quality, engine, performance and space. So, choosing between the latter two will depend on what parameters are more important to you.

 

Honda City Panning

 

 

Honda City: 4.0

Volkswagen Vento: 3.5

Ford Fiesta: 3.5

 


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