The Figo Aspire is Ford’s first crack at a four-metre sedan market in India. Right from the start, the latest Ford has its work cut out. Up against well-entrenched competition like the Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent and Tata Zest the Aspire will have to be really good to make an impression, and Ford knows this. The American carmaker, however, is quietly confident it’s come up with something special enough for the task at hand. Some of that confidence stems from the fact that the Aspire is much better suited to Indian conditions than any Ford before it. Unlike many of its predecessors, this car has been engineered from scratch – and not just adapted – for customers in developing markets like India and Brazil, where much of the developmental work on the car was done. But just how good is the Aspire? Check Price of Figo Aspire
Catch a glimpse of the Aspire’s nose and you can’t help but be impressed by the clean, crisp lines. The Aston Martin-like look really does work well and the headlamps and heavily chromed grille further embellish the looks. Helping here are some sharp-looking cut lines on the bonnet and the fairly aggressive chin.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;
The new Figo Aspire as already mentioned above is the sub compact sedan based on the new generation Figo hatch, so except the extended boot at the rear everything while everything else looks identical to the new Figo hatchback which will be launched in the market after the sedan.
Ford retained the typical styling DNA even in this new sedan and that is quite obvious from the typical Ford Trapezoidal grille towards the front which gets the four slats while the long elongated headlamps adds the little touch of sportiness to the front face, the Blue oval logo has found its place on the tip of the front hood while talking about the front hood the new hood looks sculpted and has also got two vertical crisp lines on them which starts from the windshield and end towards the Ford logo placed towards the front tip. Besides these there is nothing much interesting to describe towards the front except the raked windshield and some sweeping lines towards the front hood which according to Ford conveys a sense of movement.
Towards the side profile there is a distinct character line which starts from just behind the front headlamps and blends perfectly towards the rear taillamps. You will also love the blacked out B pillar which adds a premium touch to the side profile so are the 8 spoke alloy wheels and side blinkers integrated with the ORVMs (available only on top end variants), the other variants will get side turn indicators placed on the fenders.
Walk towards the rear of the sedan and the extended boot has been perfectly blended with the overall design so the car’s shape does not appear boring or odd. The smaller wrap around tailamps looks stylish but unfortunately does not get LED configuration to them while the chrome finished slat runs across the rear boot of the car while the rear bumper gets some Black treatment towards the lower half which adds the premium feel to the overall
COMFORT AND CABIN
The interior of the Aspire definitely looks neat while the dashboard design is almost identical to the Ecosport or the recently launches Fiesta’s dash including the steering wheel, part of the central dash and also the information screen placed on top. The interior has been finished in duel colors which include Black and Beige while the higher variants also get some silver inserts to them. The instrument cluster gets the same blue backlit treatment which looks good at night. The rest of the dashboard looks premium while the round air vents towards the side of the dash looks good what makes them so are the chrome detailing.
What is good about the interior is the fact that there are plenty of storage spaces inside the car which comes in handy especially during long journeys. The seats too look comfortable while the top end Titanium+ trim also features leather upholstery which also is segment first. Obviously what is disappointing is the fact that the rear seat passengers might feel uncomfortable because of the transmission tunnel that runs through the middle but the rear seat offers a arm rest which is a good thing. Ford has also provided Ford’s SYNC infotainment system with the top end trim, while the mid trim features My Ford Dock and also steering mounted controls along with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Ford Figo Aspire also offers about 359 Litres of boot space which is comparatively less than its rivals but still that is enough for a weekend trip
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
The Ford Figo Aspire will be available with two petrol and one diesel engine options. The 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol and the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel will come mated to the five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.5-litre petrol will be available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 1.5-litreTDCi diesel is tuned to produce 99bhp and 215Nm of torque making it the most powerful car in the segment, marginally higher than the Honda Amaze. At standstill and low speeds, the engine is harsh and there is prominent clatter in the cabin, also a light buzz can be felt on the steering wheel and pedals. The harshness goes down as the rpm increases and engine feels pretty smooth over 2,000 rpm. We are however willing to live with it for the kind of performance it has to offer. The car is quick, getting to 100kph is easy and cruising in triple digits even more so. There is no turbo lag and the healthy bottom-end torque helps quickly getting from 60kph to 100kph without downshifting to the fourth gear. The clutch is light and easy to use even in the city traffic, though the gear shifts require a little extra effort. The ARAI efficiency of the diesel car is rated at 25.83kpl and we managed to get 15.5kpl in our test drive.
The petrol car on the other hand feels relatively underpowered. The Ti-CVT is good to deliver 87bhp and 112Nm, though the tuning, as expected, has been for efficiency. The engine refinement is top notch and driving around in the city is going to be comfortable. The performance isn’t too bad, it can get off-the-line quickly and there is decent midrange to get to 100kph in respectable time, but going past 120kph requires some efforts. The engine needs to be put under lot of stress, though we didn’t mind doing that since it sounds incredible at high rpms. While the ARAI efficiency of the petrol is decent as well at 18.16kpl, we expect the real time efficiency to be much lower at around 12kpl.
The 1.5-litre petrol was not part of the first drive, though we are looking forward to driving it soon. Our experience with the Fiesta AT tells us that the dual-clutch PowerShift transmission is fantastic and the 110bhp and 136Nm will feel even better in the smaller, lighter car.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Ford cars are known to be dynamically rich and while the Figo Aspire handles very well, being better than its rivals in the segment, it doesn’t have the same feel of a Fiesta or even the good old Classic (it uses the same platform though which has seen some modifications). The company has tested the vehicle for 150 hours in the wind tunnel for improved aerodynamics which works well in both performance and efficiency. The steering system is now electric (EPAS with pull drift compensation) and there is some vagueness in the centre, the steering weighing up decently at speed but still being on lighter side in the interest of ease of driving in the city. The suspension is naturally on the stiffer side but just enough to keep the car planted at high speeds while the focus is clearly on comfort as road, tyre and suspension noise is well insulated.
Due to the body being lighter, it’s not as surefooted as other Ford cars but still inspires enough confidence to drive fast. The petrol Figo offers slightly better handling due to its lower front-end weight while there is some body roll although not much. The Figo Aspire excels in the ride quality department, it glides over roads with authority and takes bad roads in its stride with utmost confidence. Hit a big bump at speed and you will encounter some bounciness but for the most part, the suspension does a fantastic job of ironing out inconsistent tarmac. Braking performance is excellent on the Figo Aspire and the car stops with utmost confidence, even when you stand on the brake pedal hard.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
Ford has given special attention to the safety of the occupants inside and thus the new sedan comes with robust passenger cage created from high-strength steel, both driver and passenger side airbags and for the first time in the history of Indian auto industry Ford has even provided side and curtain airbags for the occupants as an option. The top end trims also gets ABS and EBD and also hill assist which is available only with the auto transmission variant though.
Ford may have been late to the compact sedan segment but it’s used its time well. Sure, the Aspire may not be as special to drive as other Fords (including the Classic it is to replace) but it does offer everything to help it appeal to a wide buyer base. Ford has clearly spent a lot of money to give buyers what they want, be it in terms of newer concerns as connectivity and safety or in traditional requirements of space, comfort and efficiency.Assuming the Figo Aspire is priced in close proximity to the current market leader, the Swift Dzire, as we’ve been led to believe, Ford’s all-new compact sedan could just become the new benchmark in the segment.