We commonly use the term ‘hands-free’ when talking about mobiles or music playing devices. While no such hands-free technology has yet been involved in production cars (imagine car being steered on roads by itself), the automatic gearboxes have made driving quite simpler than the manual ones. The fact that vehicles with automatic transmissions are costlier to own and to run as well is well embedded in the Indian mindset, which however will change with time as more people are now accepting the automatic way of shifting gears.
2012 Ford Fiesta PowerShift Review:
2012 Ford Fiesta PowerShift Introduction:
After all, why bother about the clutch and gearbox when the next halt is hardly 50 meters away. With automatic gearboxes being the next big thing in Indian Automobile Market (especially in B & C segment), manufacturers are focusing to launch maximum vehicles with an auto-box. Till date, a normal middle class Indian was wary of the very basic torque converters used in almost all the B & C segment cars, which forced them to shy away from automatics since they sapped a lot of engine power making the car slower in respect to the manuals, and also led to more visits at the fuel stations. The Honda City however has fared well in the market with an upgraded 5 speed automatic with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel that adds to the sporty charm and is quite intuitive and refined too as far as automatics go. Still it is costlier by almost Rs.90k and there is an efficiency drop too, though marginal.
Ford Fiesta PowerShift:
For the first time around though a dual clutch transmission has been introduced in the C segment, in the Ford Fiesta now. The same sort of transmission can be found in cars of D and upper D segment like the Toyota Corolla Altis, VW Passat etc. The basic methodology behind the Dual Clutch Transmission, as the name suggests are two clutches, one controlling the odd gears while the other takes care of the even ones, hence reducing the time taken between upshifts and downshifts. The fact that gears remain ‘up on their toes’ also reduces the time to downshift when there is a sudden demand of power (one of the main drawbacks of torque converters), hence the intuitiveness. Through advanced technology and sophisticated electronics, the power delivery is linear and efficiency drop is less, to the extent of DCTs matching manuals in some cases.
Ford calls its DCT Powershift, let’s now see if the power really shifts into Ford’s hands for the automatic C segment sedans.
Looks and Styling – Exteriors:
Ever since it has been launched, the Fiesta has received some criticism for its styling. Ford has applied its Kinetic design language, and though it definitely makes the Fiesta hatch look hot, it certainly does leave a lot to be desired in case of the sedan. The frontal treatment however is quite acceptable with the swept back headlamps and chrome detailed air dam and fog lamps, the rear fails to impress for even once. The rising shoulder line, muscular wheel arches and leaf shaped ORVMs clear the Fiesta’s sporty pretensions. While the integrated tailgate spoiler and chrome garnishing try to pump up the oomph quotient, the design of the rear, right from where the rear door ends is quite unattractive to say the least. The bulk just below the D pillar and over the rear wheel arch is bulbous while the tail is compact, even in concept form that doesn’t gel well.
Looks and Styling – Interiors:
Sit inside and the cabin makes you forget what the rear looked and how worse the tail-lights were designed. So much so that you tend to feel that you’re special and there’d be onlookers. Though the best brains in the market might say that the dash is cluttered, non intuitive and confusing, I somehow feel that it just takes some time getting used to. And once that happens, it is quite easy to operate. In fact the plethora of buttons and controls around me make me feel a whole generation ahead of others. The plastic quality is inconsistent though. It would have been great to see soft touch dashboard ahead than the hard metallic and shiny one. The instrument cluster however is brilliantly designed but the information display should have been a big bigger, and with an integrated clock which by the way finds a position on the centre display. The seats, as I mentioned before for the manual Fiesta too, don’t support the lower back well. The rear seats are comfortable but there’s a deficiency of knee room there in case taller passengers sit in the front.