September 06, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

Ford Fiesta Titanium - Big changes to this small sedan

The new Fiesta comes with added features but a smaller engine. Should it matter? By Chris Ng

The new Fiesta comes with added features but a smaller engine. Should it matter? By Chris Ng
 
To call this a facelift will not tell the whole story of the Ford Fiesta you see here. It is more than just a change of the bumper and polishing the chrome. Now, the question of whether the new Aston-ish grille, new headlamps and bump on the bonnet look better or not is left up to you. What you should know is that the facelift brings new features while leaving some good bits behind. 

First, let’s start with the basics; the car essentially still rides on the same chassis and suspension geometry that the pre-face lifted Fiesta, albeit with a slight tune-up to soften blows from speed humps. Read into that as you may but there’s no denying that the ride and handling remains just as sweet. Steering is quick, precise and adequately chatty. The Fiesta stays practically even keel, something you’d appreciate when gunning the corners.

Ah, but the one seen here is the Titanium – Ford-speak for sedan. So the elongated tail can, in occasions where you put too much into the corners, try to run in front of the nose. Fails, of course, there’s plenty of safety acronyms to pull the car together. This is one tight ship, err, car.

Expect also the wheelbase to be the same. So you get the same legroom, elbow room and boot space. The latter will surprise you when you pop the lid open because it does not look big from the outside. 

The overall interior quality has been bumped up and the colours have adopted a darker shade for a classier appeal.

However, not is all well though. The media buttons feel like an aged mobile phone when pressed and the dials sounds off a plasticky click every time it moves a notch. Speaking of mobile phones, the Fiesta can sync with your device via Bluetooth and it allows you to make calls with voice commands. It is one feature among many that is voice-controlled. One condition: you have to speak in a loud and clear voice with proper articulation. A heavy Manglish accent won’t do anyone any favours, although the computer’s comprehension can pick up some words without too much problems; an improvement over the first generation.

The Blue Oval’s sweeping changes to the Fiesta continues with the engine, shrinking it by about 0.1-litre and losing eight horses along the way. So the Ti-VCT engine now does 110bhp and 140Nm of torque. The difference between the new offering and the 1.6-litre mill is marginal and you won’t notice the drop in power under normal driving conditions, and only get hints of it when whipping the car for more speed. 

In general, the six-speed PowerShift changes the gears without hitch and gives a nice, smooth pull forward. Yet, to get there, the PowerShift fumbles first with gears one and two under acceleration and braking; yes, it’s a dual-clutch transmission quirk. This time, you have the option to sidestep that trait unlike the previous Fiesta. New is the SelectShift, Ford-speak for this manual override, which exists in the form of a ‘plus-minus’ switch on the knob itself instead of the playfulness of paddle shifters. It will have to do since there are no other alternatives; and the left thumb gets a workout. 

Let’s not forget efficiency, the Fiesta brings a new toy that is said to take a load off the alternator. It’s called Smart Regenerative Charging, a feature that converts and stores extra energy into the battery. This is then used to power the electronics in the car especially the air conditioning. Take the load off the engine and it will use the all of its fuel for motion rather than sparing some for creature comforts. 

To round things off, the Fiesta’s other salient bits include auto lights, auto wipers, Hill Launch Assist and collapsible steering column. Apart from the collapsible steering column (for safety reasons), I would gladly give up the rest in exchange for additional airbags. The new car comes with four less compared to the previous Fiesta’s six. Still, the Fiesta meets the minimum requirement of two in the front as the car manufacturers wont to do in the B-segment.

This means you’ll find things you’d expect and then some. The Fiesta does serve up some good bits; the voice command, auto lights and wipers – as gimmicky as they seem – do give that luxury-car convenience for the masses. So, all good then? Not quite, not when the Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost hovers in the horizon.

 
To the point
Love  Talking to your car and getting it to phone a friend. The ride and handling too
Hate The indecisiveness of the first two gears. Stop it already!
Verdict
(3stars)
Blue Oval does decent for the B-segment but nothing truly outstanding
 
Price RM84,541.50
Engine 1498cc, 4 cyl, Ti-VCT with multipoint fuel injection, 110bhp@6300rpm, 140Nm@4400rpm
Gearbox Six-speed PowerShift automatic, front-wheel drive
Performance n/a
Weight 1141kg
On Sale Now





 




 
 
 

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