Introduction – Ford Classic sedan debuted in Indian market as Ford Fiesta in late 2005. It soon became one of the top rated saloons in its segment, and quickly came to be known for its intimacy with its drivers. When the next (sixth) generation model was launched in India, it was given the ‘Classic’ badge, making it available for those who still couldn’t find a better companion. Highlight is that the rebadged model has been consistently outselling its successor; even if either of them have not made it to the top of segment-wise charts yet. Earlier this year, Ford India Private Limited re-launched the Classic at slashed prices (about Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 1 lakh less depending on variants), positioning it even lower to compete with those in compact sedan segment. Now, let’s see how much of the good old Fiesta the Classic preserves.
Exteriors – Ford didn’t just stick a new badge to the boot, they performed a minor facelift operation in the process. But the differences are subtle and do not require special mentioning. Components list comprises of similar halogen headlamps, circular front fog lamps, large air dam, new set of alloy wheels, turn indicators embedded onto side mirrors, sizeable tail lamps with integrated fog lamps, electric opening trunk lid and rear windshield de-fogger. Although overall package looks pretty much dated, fun of driving one hasn’t aged out yet.
Interiors – The Classic is decorated with beige and black interiors, mostly beige, that welcomes with warmth. Stepping inside promptly gives a feeling that it is a strongly built car, with components that are made to last. There are a few plastics that are not as sturdy enough as the other it is mated to, but they are not bad at all. But the robustness does not imply that they are the best in terms of quality concerning texture and tactility. Removing the thick spectacles, Ford Classic’s interiors can be found to be utilitarian, with ample storage options surrounding the driver, but a bummer is that there is no cup holder in his easy reach. That luxury is reserved for back seaters, who can enjoy the pair in centre armrest, and even the centre bottle holder can be used for same. Other junk can be shoved into any of the four large map & bottle pockets on doors, even into the sizeable dashboard glove compartment. Luggage of all passengers would easily fit into the 430 litres boot.
City Drive Experience – Our new long termer was put to test in the streets of Mumbai, Pune and neighbouring towns and villages, where the Ford Classic never failed to impress us with its ability to see the terrain through. Half of credits should go to the 1.4 litre TDCi diesel engine that produces maximum power of 68 PS at 4,000 rpm and peak torque of 160 Nm at 2,000 rpm, which is incredibly refined and ready to go. Power figure might seem low on paper, but once pedal is floored, Ford Classic kicks the ground and launches without loud pronunciation of turbo lag. It is one of the very few motors (counting even those in higher priced cars) to be found to be in near perfect harmony with its turbo supplier, which not only enhances drivability in city, but also gives the feeling of a pulsating petrol engine. Transmission is taken care of by 5 speed manual setup. Gear shifts are not exactly nimble, there is good amount of heaviness while handling the rod, but shifts are precise and quality must be appreciated.
Driving a Classic in the city, between smooth tarmacs and broken roads, is never tiresome, thanks to its brilliant suspension tune and steering setup. Highly cushiony shock absorbers iron out most of Indian standard rough patches and potholes, while high ground clearance helps escape tall bumps even at high speeds. Handling capability of Ford Classic is simply bosting, which is partly why it is known to be a driver’s car. While the other reason is its awe-inspiring steering, which feels adequately heavy and returns enjoyable amount of feedback. Braking is also very commendable, combined with the skilful suspension, deceleration stability is kept well under control.
Overall, Ford Classic responds to driver’s commands like a bug-free computer program.
There are indeed certain glitches in Ford Classic, like steering is a bit too heavy at low speeds, and others in features, functionality and ergonomics department; more on those in our mid-term report, coming soon.