Ford is back with an all new generation of the Ford Fiesta. Packed to the brim with features, the next generation Fiesta is all set to take on established rivals such as the Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai Verna, Honda City and the Skoda Rapid. Although Ford has had a long standing good reputation with the Indian consumer, its absence from the car market has left a serious impact on the company’s brand image.
Volkswagen on the other hand, is fast gaining momentum as a brand that produces quality cars with a Teutonic attention to safety. While the German car maker does have upmarket cars such as the Jetta and Passat in the more premium segments, the Vento and Polo are the company’s main bread winners. We take a look at the popular Vento and see what Ford’s latest offering is up against.
As with all the latest VW’s of this generation, the German car maker has abandoned its organic design approach for a cleaner, more angular styling. As with the Jetta, the Vento maybe a good looking car, but it lacks a certain something that makes it stand out from the crowd. Nevertheless, the Vento looks far more upmarket than most of its rivals, a trait many buyers look for in a car.
The neatly sculpted bonnet and the sharp, straight creases that run along the sides of the car endow the Vento with an understated elegance about it. VW has revamped the rear profile rather than sticking to the Polo’s design to better improve the overall design of its sedan counterpart. The boot’s proportions and layout are perfect. So much so that one may be hard-pressed to guess which one may be the derivative.
Ford has taken what could be called the polar opposite to VW’s design philosophy. Instead of subtle framework and the use of an understated design language, the new Fiesta is a much bolder presence on roads than the outgoing model or the Vento. Dubbed Kinetic Design 2.0, the new design philosophy bears many similarities to Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture.
The raised bonnet and aggressively styled front headlights add an element of sportiness lacking in the Vento. The retracted fog lamp enclosures, large chrome grille and a sloping roof line all hint at what the Fiesta really is: a fun car. Sadly the rear end of the Fiesta remains the same. The awkwardly styled tail lamps and stubby trunk give the Fiesta a disproportionate body.
While Vento’s design may play to the logical side of you, the Fiesta wildly impresses the child inside us all. From the get go itself, we see that though these two cars may be in the same price bracket and fall under the same segment, the Fiesta and Vento cannot be any more different. The Vento and Fiesta follow very different schools of design and appeal to very different segments of the Indian audience. While one appeals to businessmen, the other is targeted at a younger generation.
Round 1 Winner: Draw!
The clinical precision carries over to the Vento’s interiors as well. Although the Vento’s cabin is quite upmarket, the car has seen little to no changes over the course of its lifetime and it has begun to show. The stereo system is outdated and the steering mounted controls do not offer the same level of accessibility as the Verna let alone the Fiesta. The beige interiors add to the airy feel of the sedan’s cabin. The Vento’s center console features a functional infotainment system with conventional connectivity options such as Bluetooth, AUX in, USB and iPod connectivity. Dashboard plastics are typical of a premium German sedan.
The Fiesta’s zesty nature continues inside as well. Ford has adopted the very same design found on the previous model and the current gen EcoSport. The new infotainment system comes with the recently launched AppLink system that allows independent developers to create apps for the Fiesta. Definitely a step in the right direction by the American car maker. Apart from Ford’s AppLink system, the car maker’s voice recognition software is also included along with conventional options such as Bluetooth, iPod, USB connectivity and Aux In.
Although the sloping roofline adds to the car’s sporty appeal, the rear headroom suffers and as a result, tall passengers may not be able to sit comfortably at the back. However, besides that, the Fiesta’s updated interiors are modern and offer much better functionality than the Vento’s.
Round 2 Winner: Ford Fiesta!
Volkswagen offers both petrol and diesel options for the Vento. The German car maker offers two petrol engines and one diesel unit for the Indian market. The diesel mill powering the Vento is a turbocharged 1.6 L engine that produces 103 HP @ 4400 RPM and 250 Nm of torque at 1500 RPM.
The 1.6 L petrol engine churns out 103 HP at 5250 RPM and 153 Nm of torque @ 3800 RPM. Petrol fans also have the choice of the more economical 1.2 L turbocharged unit. While both engine’s produce the same power at approximately the same revs, the 1.2 L turbo petrol puts out 175 Nm of torque at a much lower 1500 RPM. While the diesel and 1.6 L petrol variants come equipped with 5 speed manual gearboxes, the TSI variant sports the German car maker’s popular 7 speed DSG gearbox.
With the massive popularity of oil burners and the ever increasing petrol prices, Ford has dropped the petrol engine for the new Fiesta. While many may criticize Ford’s latest move, the diesel engine is quite capable and is quite refined. The tried and tested 1.5 L TDCi engine produces 90 HP and 203 Nm of torque.
Round 3 Winner: VW Vento!
Volkswagen has always focused on a car’s driving dynamics. While the Vento is equipped with electric steering, the feedback is quite adequate yet light enough for city traffic. Brakes are incredibly responsive and perform well when pushed to the limit. However, the car could’ve done with a rear parking camera as parking a sedan in the city has now become a monumental task.
Although some may be happy with the 100 odd horsepower engine, the Vento could do with a more powerful unit. The size of the Vento requires a little more grunt under the hood to keep the car entertaining. Hopefully we may see a new engine option on the next gen Vento.
The Fiesta is renowned for its driver centric design. Sadly, with the discontinuation of the petrol variants from the new lineup, Ford maybe be letting go of its signature characteristics. However, the sedan’s diesel engine is far more refined than most engines and the car’s small size means that the 1.5 L TDCi engine is more than sufficient.
Round 4 Winner: VW Vento!
While the VolkswagenVento may be the clear winner on paper, the all new Ford Fiesta is a car that tugs at your heart. Both cars may be in the same segment, but their primary purpose is completely different. The eternal case of apples and oranges, a clear winner can never be determined.
For a customer who just wants the job done with no regard for extra features or zing, the Vento is ideal. However, for the playful ones, the Fiesta is the better bet. With its aggressive front fascia and futuristic interior design, the Fiesta is easily one of the zestier cars available in the market right now.