The interior styling and features on the Fiesta are good, however the only complain we have is of the rear seat knee room.
The interiors of the Fiesta are trendy and stylish. The design of the instrument panel looks futuristic as it gets a flowing dashboard with a screen on top and a numpad at the centre. The instrument binnacle gets twin large dials that are easy to read and a small steering wheel that is easy to turn, as it is light. The fit and finish of the plastic is decent and also the quality of plastics is good.
The other good bit of the Fiesta is the space it offers in the front row. The seats are large and even comfortable. There is lots of side support and one of the best front seat thigh support. The space at the rear is however cramped. The knee room especially, as it seems to be tight for tall people. The boot of the Fiesta is also large and can gobble luggage for five people for an entire weekend.
Ambiente: Ambiente is the base model on the Fiesta and is available only with the petrol engine. The Ambiente gets features like all power windows, ABS, driver airbag, Defogger and driver's seat height adjuster. It is a loaded model for even a base version.
Style: The Style version gets body coloured bumpers and ORVMs, front fog lamps, auto AC, in-dash music system, audio controls, passenger airbag and ESP expect for those that come on the Ambiente. This is available with petrol automatic and manual and also with diesel engine.
Titanium+: The Titanium+ is the top of the line and it gets features like indicators on ORVMs, Bluetooth, voice controls and six speakers for the music system.
It is only the interiors of the Duster that failed to appeal us. The plastic quality isn’t up to the mark, even though the fit and finish is decent. The space in the Duster is just phenomenal, with large and supportive seats.
The interior quality on the Duster is decent. It isn’t phenomenal for its price, but it is good enough. The overall fit and finish of the plastics is good, but it is the feel that doesn’t impress. Even the inside has been designed ergonomically. The black and beige interiors look good and feel premium, as most of the Indians consider beige to be superior over black or grey.
There is loads of space in the front row and the Duster doesn’t feel cramped. The seating is a bit low, but the view is good as the overall visibility of the car is good. The support offered by the seats is good for the back and the thigh. Move into the second row and there will be no disappointment with the space for your knee and head. The space is immense and so is the thigh support. Even the boot is large for 4 people’s luggage. The Duster comes with a dealer fitment option of two additional seats forming the third row.
The Duster comes in three variants, RxE, RxL and RxZ. The latter two come with option packs as well. The RxE is the base model and it comes with basic features like black interiors, keyless entry, power windows. It misses out on airbags and also on ABS.
The RxL is the mid-model and it gets additional features like rear defogger and wiper, front fog lamps, trendy beige fabric seats, the centre console becomes glossy black instead of the charcoal black, electrically adjustable ORVMs, integrated music system with four speakers and USB connectivity, on board computer, glove box lamp and reading lamps being the major upgrades.
The RxZ is the top of the line version and it comes fully loaded with various bells and whistles like dual airbags, ABS, reverse parking sensor, driver seat reminder, body coloured door mirrors with satin, rear AC blower, leather wrapped steering wheel. These are the major add-ons, except for those that were already mentioned in the RxL.
The pick of the lot is definitely the diesel engine as it isn't more frugal but also has more linear power delivery. The petrol with the automatic box is much preferred over the manual petrol.
The Fiesta comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine that is available with manual and automatic transmission options and the 1.5-litre diesel that comes with manual transmission only.
1.5-litre petrol: The 1.5-litre petrol engine on Fiesta produces 108bhp at 6045rpm and 140Nm at 4500rpm. The NVH level of this engine is low. Since the engine has been tuned for better economy, one cannot expect a stonker of a performer. In the manual version, the engine feels a bit languorous and makes you work hard to extract performance. The five-speed box does feel a bit rubbery, but that's about it. The shifts on it are positive and the throws are short. The automatic on the other hand has the dual-clutch six-speed box makes things easier as downshifting is taken care by the intelligent box. Simply put, there are two clutches, one operates the odd gears and the other engages the even lot. This reduces the change time and so the shifts are smooth and not lethargic unlike the conventional boxes. Drive it in D mode and the transmission shifts considering the best fuel economy, whereas the L mode is similar to the sport mode, where the box doesn't upshift until the engine redlines. Of course there are a few downsides of this box, as it does not have Tiptronic or comes with flappy paddle shifters.
1.5-litre diesel: The 1.5-litre diesel engine produces 89bhp of power at 3750rpm and 204Nm at 2000rpm. This engine has decent NVH levels. It has good initial torque with a strong mid-range. However, the engine feels sluggish at low rpms. The turbo lag does exist. However, once in the power band, the engine is fantastic to drive. The power produced by the diesel engine is excellent and it does a tidy job, as even the clutch is light and easy to drive in city traffic.
With the Duster being a compact SUV, most of the buyers will prefer the 85bhp 1.5litre diesel engine. This engine has good drivability and sufficient torque to potter around in the city. There is no turbo lag either and it does make its case for a good buy.
The Duster comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine that produces 102bhp of power at 5850rpm and a torque of 145Nm at 3750rpm. This is a four-cylinder that earlier powered the Logan. It comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The NVH levels are fairly refined and the engine isn’t noisy. The power delivery is linear and the shifts on the box are also good. For quick overtaking one has to downshift as the power is most available in the higher rev range. The ARAI mileage for the petrol version of the Duster is 13.4kmpl.
Duster comes with two power ratings in the diesel variant. One is 85bhp and the other is 108bhp. The 84bhp is available on the RxE and RxL trim levels. This is the same engine that powers the Nissan Sunny as well. The NVH (noise vibration and harshness) levels on the diesel Duster are quiet low and Renault has done a fabulous job on reducing the clatter. This version of the Duster produces 84 bhp at 3750rpm of power and 200Nm of torque at 1900rpm. The power delivery is good enough and the engine is fairly drivable even when in the city. Overtaking in the city is easy and most of the time a downshift is required. The 5-speed transmission is good enough and the shifts are positive. The ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of the 84bhp Duster is 20.64kmpl.
The 108bhp of the Duster is available only with RxL and RxZ trim levels. This engine produces 108bhp of power at 3900rpm and a maximum torque of 248Nm at an engine speed of 2250rpm. The refinement level of the engine is the same, as the lower powered diesel engine, and there is no clatter drama. Once you pass 1800rpm, there is sufficient power to lug around the town. For better utilization of power, this engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual box than a 5-speed that powers the de-tuned version of this K9K engine. The shifts on this 6-speed manual box are also smooth and positive. However, there is a drop in fuel economy by ARAI standards to 19.1kmpl. On the highway, the sixth-gear will help to increase the fuel efficiency.
The Fiesta strikes a perfect balance between the ride and handling characteristics making it meet Ford's standards.
Ford has softened the suspension set-up on the Fiesta to make it suitable for Indian road conditions. As a result, the ride suppleness is good and most of the jolts are soaked well. The ride is composed even at high speeds.
The previous-generation Fiesta was a handler and so is the new one, despite the tweaking for better ride. Turn into a tight chicane and there is no drama except the tyre squeal. The chassis can easily handle tight corners and hairpins. The light steering wheel is a bit of a letdown as the feedback feels rather artificial and doesn't inspire confidence.
The Duster excels in the ride and handling department. It doesn’t just have a well sorted ride, but even the handling is good for its size and ground clearance. So, the Duster is makes a strong case for itself.
The Duster is based on the Logan platform and so it gets independent McPherson strut with coil springs & anti-roll bar at its front and torsion beam axle with coil springs & anti-roll bar at its rear. The ride of the Duster is fairly supple. All the road shocks are absorbed by the utility vehicle and the occupants get a smooth ride. The ride is similar even at higher speeds.
The handling of the Duster is similar to that of a sedan. It can be chucked around corners and its chassis responds well. Despite the high ground clearance the handling characteristics of the Duster are good. The steering wheel also is light at low speeds and weighs up well as the vehicle gathers speed.