Review: Ford Classic
Ford couldn't have timed the arrival of the Classic Titanium better. Because labour troubles have forced its competitor Maruti to shut down its plant at Manesar, Haryana. And this plant manufactures the Fiesta's primary rival, the Swift DZire, for which waiting periods are now so long that impatient buyers are looking at alternatives.The new variant is also a good way to put some fizz back into the original Fiesta (now rebadged the Classic) brand. The Titanium is essentially an all-new top-end version of the Classic, with more useful features than before. You get a darker shade of beige on the inside. And as with the Figo, you get a Bluetooth-enabled stereo (which the Swift DZire doesn't), so you can listen to music from your phone via the car's stereo, or talk to someone via the stereo's speakers. It's practical.Another useful addition is electrically operated outside mirrors. Plus you get a newly designed set of alloy wheels, though they don't really stand out. Fog lamps are standard, as is the new grille and 'Classic' decal at the back (no Fiesta badging any more). The rest stays the same. The cabin feels roomier than the DZire's, especially the rear seats. And we're happy to report that also unchanged is the solid build quality.The engines remain unchanged. So you get the same 1.6-litre 100bhp petrol and the 68bhp 1.4 TDCi diesel. Going by past experience, we think Ford should write the book on sweet handling - and then send out copies to all its rivals. Pretty much every Ford-badged car in India has been a fun handler, and the Titanium reminds us of the Classic's ability to put a smile on our face.Strong grip and solid body control make it feel wonderfully agile around bends, while the super accurate steering weighs up progressively as you go faster. Ride is pretty good too, although the DZire's suspension offers better damping over sharp undulations. The 1.4 TDCi is the same unit as in the Figo.It's very responsive, making it a beauty to drive in stop-go city traffic. But we won't stick our necks out on fuel economy - we don't think this car will deliver the 30+kpl that Ford advertises. However, you can expect 14kpl in the city and 18.1kpl on the highway. Power delivery is good and the engine remains stress-free over most of its power band.The petrol version is a real hoot to drive and it impresses with its rev-happy nature and smoothness. It is brilliant for those bursts of acceleration from one signal light to the next. The petrol Titanium retails for `6.86 lakh while the diesel will set you back by Rs 7.82 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi) making it one of the better deals around, if not a proper steal. That it's a driver's delight only adds to the appeal. Or you could wait until 2015 to get your hands on that DZire.The numbers1399cc, 4-cyl diesel, 68bhp, 160Nm, FWD, 16kpl, 155kph, 0-100kph\: 14.91s, 30-50kph (3rd)\: 3.72s, 30-50kph (4th)\: 6.73s, 50-70kph (5th)\: 6.88s, 80-0kph\: 2.62s, 26.98m, Rs 6.86 - Rs 7.82 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)The verdictThe diesel Classic is a sensible buy, if you don't mind a slightly older design.