Ford Fiesta Automatic Competition Check
- by Priyadarshan Bawikar
- Feb 29, 2012
- Views : 75578
The premium mid-size sedan segment already has a lot of great choices. But with the Fiesta upgraded with an automatic gearbox, the competition gets even more interesting
The new automatic Fiesta (Read : Launch Report) may come touting a lot of features and a segment-first dual clutch gearbox, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to contend with some great cars which make for some tough rivals. Some of these have been around for a while, while others are fairly fresh. But what might swing the vote in the favour of this new auto box sedan is the fantastic handling package it offers, making it the perfect enthusiasts’ car (Read : First Drive) and some pretty decent pricing, at least on the entry-level trim. Here’s a look at how all the automatics stack up.
Undoubtedly the Honda City has been the long standing king of this class, and a very aspirational car for most Indians. Even though it got attacked by the likes of the highly capable Volkswagen Vento and the well-endowed Hyundai Fluidic Verna, it still remains one of the most preferred buys in this segment. The powerful iVTEC engine is a gem in terms of tractability and refinement, and when coupled with the brilliant 5-speed automatic transmission, the results are even better.
Where the City (Read : Launch Report) takes a bit of a hit is the pricing, which at Rs 9.37 lakh for the non-sunroof version is a little on the steeper side, especially when you consider that it doesn’t offer as many toys as its competition. But you do get paddle shifters on the steering wheel so you can decide just how sportily, or economically, you want to drive. You also get good build quality and brilliant fit and finish all around. The City is light and nimble around town while the Fiesta exhibits better driving feel than one of Honda’s four proud pillars.
Price: Rs 9.37 lakh (City V AT) / Rs 10.22 lakh (City V AT Sunroof) – ex-showroom Delhi
Internationally, the Polo and the Fiesta are staunch rivals, especially in the European hatchback segment, and of course, their sedan counterparts which are made for India carry on that fight here as well. The Vento (Read : Volkswagen Vento vs Honda City) does feel like it wears the boot better than the Fiesta and even in terms of its interiors, offers more elegant surroundings. Driving feel is more solid from the Vento of course, though the Fiesta does edge over it in terms of steering feedback. But while it would be easier to favour the Vento in the manual transmission version, the argument might just sway a bit in favour of the Fiesta when you consider the auto boxes. The 6-speed unit in the Vento feels a little dated compared to the Fiesta’s new dual-clutch system, and the shift times tell this tale very well.
Price: Rs 9.21 lakh (Vento 1.6L Highline AT) - (ex-showroom Delhi)
Hyundai Fluidic Verna
The new Fluidic Verna is a pretty hard car to beat when it comes to being a feature rich offering. It offers brilliant design and classy interiors as well, and really holds its own over the Fiesta in this regard. The new Verna (Read : Long Term Report) qualifies itself as a better city car though, with an easy steering and comfort-oriented suspension. The Fiesta on the other hand remains the choice for the enthusiast amongst the two, with better steering feel and a great balance between ride quality and handling. With regards to the automatic gearbox variants, they’re quite evenly matched in terms of feel, but the Verna does end up being rather greedy in its thirst for petrol. It’s also the most expensive automatic car in this lot, but you do get a lot of toys for your money’s worth. The true trump card that the Verna holds in this lot though is that is the only car here that offers the automatic gearbox mated to a diesel engine, which though even more expensive, should swing a lot of votes its way in this day and age rising fuel prices.
Price: Rs 9.73 lakh (Verna 1.6 SX (O) VTVT AT) / Rs 11 lakh (Verna 1.6 SX (O) CRDi VGT AT) - ex-showroom Delhi
Maruti Suzuki SX4
The SX4 is the least expensive automatic gearbox car in this lot, and that itself says a lot. To top it off, when you combine that with the faith that buyers in the Maruti Suzuki brand, it is easy to see how this car can hold its own. It is a competent product too, with a uniquely muscular design and appeal. But, compared to the Fiesta, it lacks a solid feel behind the steering and a design that has begun to look somewhat dated. The ride quality is plusher but big body roll into corners makes it a handful while driving fast. The Fiesta on the other will sail through most corners and bumps at pace. What works in favour of the SX4 (Read : First Drive) is the slightly tall-boy design which gives it plenty of headroom and makes ingress and egress from the car an absolute breeze.
Price: Rs 8.50 (SX4 AT) / Rs 8.84 lakh (SX4 AT Leather) - ex-showroom DelhiRecommended Variant : Fiesta Titanium