The all new sixth generation Ford Fiesta was launched in Malaysia on 20th October 2010. Three variants of the Fiesta are available in Malaysia, namely the Ford Fiesta Sedan LX 1.6L Ti-VCT, the Ford Fiesta LX 1.4L Manual and the Ford Fiesta Sport 1.6L Ti-VCT. These models are fully assembled and imported into Malaysia as CBU units from Ford’s plant in Thailand.
The test model which is the 5 Door Ford Fiesta Sport showcases Ford’s Kinetic Design principles conveying a sporty and aerodynamic profile when the car is viewed from all angles. Overall dimensions are compact with length, width and height of 3,950mm, 1,722mm and 1,475mm, respectively.
The introduction of the Ford Fiesta into the Malaysian car market broke new grounds in terms of standard features for a B Segment car. Priced competitively, the car save for the manual transmission variant, comes with a generous list of features, most notably a 6-Speed Automatic Dual Clutch Powershift transmission system which is usually available in higher end cars.
In addition, safety and security features are abound, these include driver and front passenger airbags, Anti Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Traction Control System (TCS). Again some of these feature particularly the ESP and TCS are normally available in higher segment cars.
Other noteworthy features which come standard include USB Connectivity, Bluetooth & Voice Control Functions, leather wrapped steering wheel with multifunction buttons, rear parking aid sensors, capless fuel filler system, keyless entry system, alarm with immobilizer and a trip computer.
The fabric seats are firm and comfortable, with the driver and front seat passenger having provision for manual adjustments on headrests, backrest, front/back and height. There is sufficient headroom and legroom at the front, but legroom is a bit limited at the rear for larger adults. Rear headrests are adjustable for taller passengers.
There are useful compartments all around. For the front seat passenger there is a hidden drawer at the bottom of the seat for placement of shoes. Vanity mirrors and reading lights are provided for both driver and front seat passenger. Other useful features include a clip on the windscreen to display your paid parking ticket and twin inserts just below the climate controls to hold toll/prepaid cards.
The interior of the car is well illuminated during the day as the extra side windows at the A and C pillars enable more light to flow into the cabin. As the driver you have generous views at front and adequate rear views through the rear view mirror. Rear views will be constrained if you are carrying three adult passengers at the rear.
Interior dashboard design is unique with a butterfly shaped centre console and a large central amber coloured LCD display just above it. There is a subtle two toned effect and the material used on the upper part of the dashboard appears to be of better quality and more scratch resistant compared to the lower section. Overall fit and finishing is within expectations at this price point.
The leather wrapped steering wheel is of good size with a nice bulge at the all important 9 and 3 o’ clock position for improved grip. In line with the current trend for this segment, steering is based on EPA system, ie electric power assisted. At lower speeds the assist is enhanced to improve maneuverability. Steering weight and feel should please most drivers as it is light and easy to steer. Thankfully despite the light steering, there is sufficient feedback and good accuracy to enable precise maneuvers.
One of the highlights of this car is its powertrain comprising a 1.6L Duratec Ti-VCT engine with 6 Speed Automatic Dual (Dry) Clutch Powershift Transmission. Ti-VCT is Ford’s twin independent variable camshaft timing system for variable valve timing. Oil pressure is used to adjust the opening and closing of the valves and is said to improve fuel economy and emissions.
Upon ignition, the transversely mounted 1.6L Duratec Ti-VCT engine is very silent, idling at just below the 1,000 rpm mark. At the expressway, the engine cruises 110 km/h at around 2,500 rpm. Power and torque is generally adequate, with peak power at 120 PS (88 Kw) @ 6,000 rpm and peak torque at 152 Nm / 4,050 rpm.
During the test drive the dual clutch transmission performed well with no discernible lag in response especially during the crucial upshifts from 1st to 3rd gear. Compared to the conventional automatic transmission based on a torque converter, gearshifts on the Fiesta Sport was a touch quicker providing brisk acceleration from a stop and go position.
There was the occasional kickdowns during the test drive especially when cruising at higher speeds as the car push forward to keep up with changing road conditions. The Fiesta Sport shows its mettle in twisty trunk roads as the combination of accurate steering and responsive engine provided an engaging and satisfactory drive experience.
There is an Overdrive Cancel/Grade Assist function to deactivate the overdrive if required. To enable this, there is a small button on the right side of the gear lever. Once engaged a yellow indicator lights up on the instrument panel and the transmission operates from gears 1 to 5. This is a useful feature for hill drives as it provides both additional engine braking and extends lower gear operations. The “L” option on the gear shift lever is to provide maximum engine braking, which is useful when driving on steep declines.
For almost two days during the test drive, Kuala Lumpur experienced an unusually rainy weather pattern which lasted from dawn to dusk. Although it made driving a bit more challenging, this offered the opportunity to test some of the cars safety and security features such as the EBD, ABS, ESP and TCS.
The TCS helps maintain traction on wheels and avoid wheel spin and loss of traction especially on slippery surfaces while ESP helps to maintain the car’s directional stability especially during emergency maneuvers or during hard cornering. Both systems work by momentarily applying brakes to the affected wheels and reducing the engine power.
The Ford Fiesta Sport was pushed around in the wet and the car coped well in rainy conditions while maintaining its poise. There was sufficient traction on the wheels even though the tyres were not entirely in top condition. Pushing the car though a fast corner, the TCS and ESP worked to keep the car balance in check to minimize risk of oversteering. I noted there is no provision to deactivate the TCS and ESP.
Brakes which are ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear performed adequately to provide good stopping power. The amount of travel on the brake pedal before it bites is just about right. Additional features such as the ABS and EBD provide crucial additional safety features to improve braking performance in emergency situations.
Suspensions are McPherson struts with anti-roll bar at the front and twist beam at the rear. The suspension set up on the Ford Fiesta Sport felt stiffer than the other Ford cars which I had tested giving a slightly harder ride quality. Generally comfort levels are good on most road conditions at town speeds. However, going through pronounced and thinner humps on the road can be clearly felt in the cabin.
Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels are quite good for a vehicle of this class. When road conditions are ideal and at the usual town speeds, the cabin is silent with wind, road and engine noise barely noticeable. During higher speed cruises on coarse and less than ideal road surfaces, there is a fair bit of vibration possibly due to the stiffer suspension set-up, but wind noise and engine noise is still kept in check.
Both front and rear wheels are 16 inch alloys with Continental ContiPremiumContact 2 tyres. Front and rear tyres are of the same size 195/50 R16. Tyres preformed satisfactorily but lacked grip as the front set were quite worn since it had endured mileage of around 5,000km+ of test drives by various individuals.
Fuel consumption was higher than expected. Throughout the entire test drives which was mostly trunk, town and highway runs totalling about 312km, the average fuel consumption was around 9.9 liters per 100 km (based on the onboard computer) which was quite far off from the stated specs. A cross check on the fuel gauge where about ¾ tank (about 31.5 litres) of fuel was consumed once the car was returned gave a similar reading. However, I have noted that Ford’s official fuel consumption figures are obtained under controlled conditions.
Boot space is 281 cubic litres with the rear seats up. There is provision to fold down the rear seats individually in a 60:40 configuration. With both rear seats folded down, boot space is increased to approximately 500 cubic litres.
For in-car entertainment, the car is equipped with a single CD/Radio system with 6 speakers. First impressions were favourable as the sound quality emanating from speakers was beyond my expectations. The sound was well balanced with meaty low end. There are provisions to fine tune the sound further to match the ambiance such as a DSP. I was unable test the USB, Bluetooth and Voice Control Functions as it appeared to be disabled for this test model.
The Ford Fiesta Sport provided an enjoyable driving experience with the car excelling in its handling and powertrain performance. Features that come standard with the car are well ahead of the competition hence providing an attractive value proposition. The car provides a high level of fun factor for those seeking a sporty drive at a competitive price.
Test vehicle courtesy of Sime Darby Auto ConneXion Sdn Bhd
|Full Tank:||42 litres @ RM80 (Petrol RON 95)|
|Road Tax:||RM90 per annum|
|Standard Service:||RM250 to RM670|
|Warranty:||3 Years or 100,000km whichever is earlier|
These are estimated costs applicable to Malaysia only which are subject to change without notice. Insurance is based on initial premium paid upon purchase and the sum insured. Road Tax is for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia. Standard/scheduled service excludes additional or specific service/repairs requested. Please reconfirm these terms and costs with an authorized Ford dealer.
|Engine:||4-cylinder DOHC 16V|
|Max Output:||120PS (88Kw) / 6,000 rpm|
|Max Torque:||152Nm / 4,050 rpm|
Source: Ford Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized Ford dealer
Click on these to sample sounds from the car!