It's exactly a month since I got my new car and what can I say? The Ford Fiesta drives well, looks great and feels good. My cousin who owns an Ikon - and is far more knowledgable than me in this area - went gaga over it. Especially how silent the engine was.
So net: net I would recommend the car to anyone looking to buy/ upgrade in the Rs 6-6.5 lakh range. Maybe you could consider diesel - I did not because the price difference between diesel and petrol is around Rs 1.2 lakhs (including the extra interest cost you'll be paying). And even though I use it a fair bit, by my calculations, it would take 3 years before the diesel car 'makes more sense'. By which time I might want to trade this in - who knows.
Anyhow, the reason I am writing this is the ads I am seeing on sites like this one extolling the Ford Fiesta entering the Limca Book of records for its amazing mileage. The 'Max mileage marathon' was a first of its kind in India, and recorded the longest distance ever travelled on a single tank of diesel and petrol.
Here's a news report of the event:
The marathon was held at the 4.226 km high-speed track at the National Centre for Automotive Testing (NCAT) at the Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) in Ahmednagar. The entire event was monitored and supervised by the Federation of Motor Sports Association of India (FMSCI) and representatives of the Limca Book of Records.
The Ford Fiesta 1.4 litre Duratec Petrol was flagged off by Singh, joint director VRDE at 12:37 p.m. July 29. After travelling continuously for 1,183 km, the car finally ran out of petrol at 10:11 a.m. the next morning, nearly 22 hours later! The car extracted 22.43 km from every litre of petrol.
The Ford Fiesta 1.4 litre Duratorq TDCi Diesel, flagged off at 12:40 p.m. on July 29, travelled nearly 29 hours, before finally running out of fuel at 5:23 p.m. on July 30, after covering 1,570.8 km. The car returned an astounding average of 31.48 km per litre.
But what purpose did this serve, really? Here's the carefully worded statement given out by the event organisers:
A brainchild of Autocar India, the Max Mileage Marathon was organised with the objective of proving that ideal road conditions, skilful driving and modern engine technology can result in huge fuel savings, thereby contributing positively to national savings. The marathon also brought into limelight the vast difference between ideal road conditions and real road conditions that could result in potentially high fuel efficiency.
Hormazd Sorabjee, editor of Autocar India, while receiving the certificate from Limca Book of Records, commented, "Through Max Mileage Marathon, we wished to demonstrate that good driving conditions, combined with sound driving skills, and high-performance modern engines have the potential to considerably increase fuel efficiency and result in savings for the car owners as well as lower the burden of fuel bills for the country."
Wonderful. But we all know road conditions are far from ideal in real life. And so, a clause should have been laid down by Autocar prohibiting this kind of banner advertising:
How far can you go at 31 km per litre ?
Fiesta enters Limca Book of records
Mileage for 1.4 TDCi Duratorq 31.468 km/litre
Mileage for 1.4 Fiesta Duratec 22.43 km/litre
To take a test drive sms xxxx
The irony of it all is that a misleading ad is appearing on a portal popular with advertising and media types - www.exchange4media. There isn't even a star saying 'conditions apply', perhaps because unlike print there is no corner you can hide those necessary but minor details.
In the current dratty road conditions my Ford Fiesta petrol 1.4 gives around 9 km per litre. That might go up to 10 someday at best. In fact, the fuel guage is electronically calibrated to project how many kms the car will run every time you fill petrol. And that guage has been calibrated at 9 km per litre, as far as I can tell.
I'm not complaining, because I was aware the Fiesta is not a car offering fuel economy. In fact my purana Esteem does much better on that front. I just don't see the point of a company making tall claims. Record apni jagah par hai but none of us is planning to take a spin on the high speed track in Ahmednagar.
In fact, even the practice of highlighting the 'highway mileage' of cars (as tested by auto magazines) is not of much use to prospective buyers - 95% of whom will use it mainly in the city under more taxing traffic and road conditions. But all manufacturers are doing it... and no one seems to be complaining.
So while Ford Fiesta diesel advertises 18.3 kmpl as the mileage (with a * specifying on the highway, as tested by Autocar India), a hoarding by Hyundai Accent CRdi claimed something like 27 kmpl! And the Pope just agreed to convert to Islam...
Ironically, Ford is also advertising the 'Fusion' as a no-nonsense car. Then why this nonsense with Fiesta... ?
And I think Autocar India has to take some responsibility. After all, their fair name is being misused, in a sense. I am not a hardcore car enthusiast or subscriber of auto magazines but as an ordinary person who bought a car recently, I feel that the consumer's interest should be placed ahead of carmakers.
A starting point would be to prevent the hijacking of a technical record for commercial purposes.