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Home > Business > Special

Hey, it's Ford vs General Motors again

Team BSM | September 09, 2006

Escort versus Astra. Ikon versus Corsa. Fiesta versus Aveo. Fusion versus SRV.

Fusion? SRV? Surprised? Don't be. Though the two cars look dramatically different - one is a mini-SUVish-MPV-ish kind of vehicle, while the other is a conventional sedan with a chopped tail - they have quite a few things in common.

Both are hatchbacks, both have 1.6-litre 100 bhp engines and both are extremely interesting niche vehicles. No, they don't have similar price tags, but both come only in single trim.

The Ford Fusion retails at a notch less than Rs 600,000, while the SRV is priced substantially higher, at Rs 731,000 (both prices ex-showroom Mumbai). Okay, the price difference is pretty substantial, yet that never stops us from putting together these two funky machines, does it?

We like both the cars for being different from the rest of the breed and to buy either, you really have to be amongst the ones who, ahem, think off-tangent.

But by no means is that a bad thing. If everyone thought the same way, we would all be driving around in ox-carts now.  Let's get on with it, shall we?

First up is the Fusion. Now, this car has been around for sometime now, almost two years to be exact, yet it still looks fresh. No, not because Ford didn't sell too many.

Okay that too, but also because Ford's just retouched it a bit. Changes include a new front bumper, amber indicators on the "lozenge" shaped headlamps and clear tail-lamps.

Nothing major, but it makes the car look slightly less cluttered. The thing with the Fusion though is that it's got that SUV stance going for it. Something that should satisfy the city dwellers who want an SUV but don't have enough space to even walk.

The SRV on the other hand is a real looker. Forget the front end, because that's just a Daewoo nightmare, the rest of the car though would do justice to an Italian design studio. In profile, it would rival an Alfa - maybe a middle-of-the-field Alfa nonetheless.

But the rear-end treatment is so good, you feel like driving up in reverse every time you want to pick someone up. Then there is the size.

Because it is a hatch you tend to think of it as a small car. But it isn't. In fact it's as big as the Optra on the inside. Now, that's what we call a super mini. Fit and finish levels on both these cars are up to scratch and even the most finicky of you won't have a bone to pick with either.

As we mentioned earlier, both these cars get 1600cc, 100 bhp motors, but the SRV's max power output comes in much quicker than the Fusion's. That's also one reason why the SRV is quicker of the two. Not by much though.

While the Korean-American takes 5.2 secs to 60 kph, the European-American takes 0.4 secs more. That lead extends to 0.7 secs over the dash to 100 kph. While the timings are similar enough, the driving experience they offer are poles apart.

The Fusion benefits from Ford Europe's engineering expertise and that really shows. It likes to be revved, and beyond 4,000 rpm, it's as eager and enthusiastic as a well-trained Alsatian. That's something you really miss on the SRV given the way the car looks.

Although the Chevy looks like it's something that should change direction telepathically, it doesn't. Having said that, it's more fun to drive than any other Chevy of the lot... but it just doesn't go as well as it shows. And that's a bit of a letdown. What's more, the Fusion isn't just more fun to drive, it's more fuel efficient too.

The Fusion's enthusiasm though doesn't do it any good when it comes to tackling bad roads. At the front is an independent McPherson while the rear gets a twist beam. Take this car on rough sections and you tend to get shaken up a bit.

On the other hand, the longer wheelbase of the Chevy and its damping help it traverse rough sections much easily and is as composed as a big car. Waitamminit, it is a big car.

So then, will it be the Bowtie occupying your drive or the Blue Oval? Well, the SRV is a good car, but "Value For Money" is not printed on its price tag.

However, it is a proper DINKS car, and if you are the sort who uses a Motorazr V3 just because it looks good and dress well even for a sweaty workout, the SRV is for you. The rest should just buy the Fusion and spend the extra cash on some nice clothes.

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