How we sold our Corolla Altis & got used Fiesta 1.6S: Ownership review
We all liked the car but my brother didn’t because he wanted to buy a Fiat Punto Abarth.
BHPian Govardhansupra recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
- One car does it all
- Exceptional handling
- Great hydraulic steering
- Relatively good audio system for a car of that segment and time
- Sports kit add character
- Amazing 1.6 Duratec which is easy to drive in the city too
- Good gearshifting quality
- Has safety equipment like ABS and Airbags, compared to the other driver’s cars at the time (Baleno, VTEC, Lancer)
- Great throttle response for a Drive-by-wire throttle
- Amazing stock intake growl/snarl
- Relatively low maintenance costs
- Single digit fuel efficiency in the city and while driving hard
- Brakes have bite, but less feedback
- Stock headlights aren’t adequate. Upgrade advised
- Seats are not the most comfortable
- A little stiff ride on rough roads at low speeds
- Missing equipment like Rear seat armrest, etc
- Well-maintained examples are hard to come by nowadays, and good cars command a premium
Apart from these, the car doesn’t have many negatives.
I’m not a writer, nor a reviewer kinda guy, so I don’t know how to start an ownership review. Anyways, let me start by saying that we were happy owners of a Toyota Corolla Altis GL 2009 Petrol. Now neither the Fiesta nor the Corolla needs any introduction as they are quite popular cars. The Corolla was a no-nonsense reliable car which I loved dearly.
After owning the Corolla Altis for exactly a year more, I was six months short of turning 18 years old, and Dad knew that once I get my driver’s license, it will always be me driving. Along with that, the Corolla was beginning to show its age too, and dad wanted a newer car (The irony is that the Corolla was 2009, and the Fiesta is 2008).
The Altis was sold to a guy from TN and here’s the final video of the car.
Around this time, I managed to make a few like-minded enthusiasts friends through Instagram and Whatsapp groups. These people had an important role in my life, from giving car advice to life advice to helping in sourcing car parts, helping in maintaining the car and actually bothering to drive all the way to meet a small stupid kid, which is me.
I knew through these friends that Fiesta is a very capable car. Fiesta is kind of a “One car to do it all” vehicle, which is exactly what I wanted. It can do the role of a family car, while also being fun-to-drive. Nowadays, Fords are quite easy and economical to maintain too, even after the brand has packed up and left the country. On the other side, my brother wanted the family to buy a Punto Abarth, which is honestly overkill for the family. It’s quite impractical, and being a Fiat product, spares might be an issue. Also, the Fiesta costs less than 2.5L, while an Abarth would cost somewhere near 5L-9L depending on the condition and modifications done. During this phase, it was full of arguments between my brother and me on which car to buy.
My justifications were the Fiesta was easy to maintain, parts are not a big issue, and the initial purchasing cost was quite less. He wanted an Abarth, so he was like Abarth is a much newer car, no re-test coming up any time soon, etc. Fiesta was a much more sensible option.
I wanted a 1.6S after seeing photos of a friend’s car, which is easily the most beautiful 1.6S in India. It has a BMC DIA intake, Eiback lowering springs, Michelin PS4 tyres and 17-inch wheels, which look like they were made for the Fiesta, due to the PERFECT fitment.
The owner of this car is an expert with Fiestas and keeps track of the 1.6S’ available.
Here is a picture of his car.
He sent me photos of an extremely clean Paprika Red S for sale, which was owned by his friend. The car had an extremely detailed history and was clean with no complaints. Since the car was extremely clean and is owned by a fellow enthusiast, I knew that I had to get it.
Dad liked the car and the colour. Mom liked it too, she was the one who selected Red colour for our now-sold WagonR and Toyota Etios. We wanted to buy it, but my brother disagreed because he wanted an Abarth.
He proposed buying a Stage-2 Abarth, tastefully done with Essesse wheels, bumpers, and aftermarket suspension. I put my foot down saying that it was impractical, given the price quoted, and the future maintenance costs. Also, I believe that you should never buy somebody else’s modified car, unless you are the owner’s friend, and fully aware of the history.
I tried for a couple of days to convince him to get an S instead of the Abarth, and I was successful in it too. But, the car got sold by then.
The car was sold to a very close friend, and I was terribly disappointed. At this point in time, we were without a car. I came to the conclusion that an S is not destined for me. Some things need luck, I told myself.
A few of my friends asked me to get a normal commuter car, something like an Amaze or a Ciaz or an ANHC (Arrow shot city). I considered that option for a while but decided against it as these cars would cost above 4L, while a normal Fiesta can be had for around 2-2.5L or even cheaper, depending on the condition. Next question was petrol or diesel, and petrol 1.6 was decided since that is the closest thing to an S. Also, my running is extremely short to warrant the need for a diesel.
I started searching OLX and Facebook marketplace for 1.6 SXi for a few days. To my surprise, 1.6 SXi was quite rare, and available examples were either poorly maintained, or were overpriced. I was fed up with searching and finally decided to settle on the ZXi variant (The variant just below SXi). Fiesta Classic Titaniums were also inspected during that time.
I was losing all hope of owning a Fiesta, but one day while searching for Fiesta 1.6 irrespective of the variant (as I had stopped looking specifically for SXi, ZXi etc), I saw an advertisement for a clean Ford Fiesta 1.6S Aquarius Blue in Kochi. I called the owner and asked him a few general things, and hung up. I wasn’t too excited or serious, as I had completely left the idea of getting an S. Like I said earlier, I believed that I wasn’t destined to own an S. Also earlier, to console myself, I had told myself things like “The suspension of the S is too hard, it has no lane change indicator which the SXi has, it has no rear armrest etc”.
Later that evening, my friend with the black Fiesta came to Thrissur and we met up. I was telling him about all this and showed him the advertisement on the above said S. Immediately, he fetched me all the details and history of the car that I had to know. It was a re-registered car, and I got to know the details of all the previous owners. It was an odo-rolled car too. This was found out from the thread of BHPian E=mc^2.
After my friend helped me get the history, he left for his place. This is how he left.
Now I decided that I have to get this S. I also decided that I will save up money and install a BMC DIA filter whenever possible.
I was advised to not buy this car because it was odo-rolled. I called up the owner and gave him all this information. He was unaware of the odo-rolled meter too. Anyways he assured me that the car is in extremely good condition and was only serviced by Ford during his ownership. The service history proved his words true. Both the previous owners had done the maintenance from Ford, and all recalls were duly done, and parts like the Timing Belt and Water Pump were replaced too. This gave me enough courage to proceed with the deal. Armed with the history, I negotiated and got a good deal.
These were the pictures that were posted in the OLX advertisement.
I wired a token to the seller and went to his place with my Dad and brother later that day. Inspected the car, transferred the rest of the money and brought the car home. A very satisfying day it was!
Stopped to have food
About the car
There are multiple posts on the Fiesta 1.6S on Team-BHP, so I won’t be going into detail on that. My car came with a brand new 195-55-15 Yokohama S-Drives. The car has good steering feel and feedback. It keeps on chattering and lets you know the road surface. Car has a good grip and is fun through corners.
The interior was designed specifically for the S, and it had a different seat stitching design, a few panels were different in colour, and the lower interior was black-blue, unlike the normal Fiestas with dual tone colour. The instrument cluster is the best part, with a different design. The S variant has cool sporty pedals too. It did not have a rear armrest though.
The car has a body kit (spoiler, side skirts etc) and it looks cool. The 15-inch wheels also came in the S variant only. The Aquarius Blue colour was limited to the S variant. The S variant came in all other colours that the normal Fiesta came in too.
The engine is a good unit, 1596cc 16V DOHC, with ample torque lower down and good power in the mid-range. It isn’t a screamer above 5000rpm though. It is easy to drive around the city, and it pulls quite easily from lower speeds in higher gears, even when fully loaded. It is just not a high-revving unit like the OHC VTEC. Gear lever has kind of a short throw, which is smooth and easy to slot. No complaints there, except that the engine should have had a couple more horses, or maybe it should have had a better top end and revved higher.
A few places where the car disappoints are the brakes. It has sufficient bite, but lacks feedback. Seats are not the best seats either, and the same can be said for the headlamps too. Headlight upgrades coming soon! Fortunately, the brakes and seats can be improved later on too, as long as you have the money for it.
That’s it. That’s my review of the car. I am too lazy to repeat what has already been raved about the 1.6S all these years. It was the best driver’s car under 10 lakhs back in the day. It is still fun to drive, now that all new cars are computers on wheels, with no character. The car has 2 airbags, the interior is modern, sharp handling, and can do it all, be it transporting the family, or when you want to have fun by yourself. No touchscreens, no unwanted electronics, just what is needed. I wish the 1.6S had a cable-operated throttle body, instead of a drive-by-wire, even though it’s very responsive. Naturally Aspirated, Hydraulic power steering, they just don’t make them anymore.
You can just drive all day, and the only thing that will come your way is dismal fuel efficiency. Apart from the single-digit fuel efficiency, this is a great car with a few little compromises here and there. But the best part is everything is forgotten once you’re behind the wheel and you’re driving through corners and smooth tarmac.
Continue reading Govardhansupra’s review for BHPian comments, insights and more information.
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