The sub-four meter compact sedan segment is growing extremely fast in the Indian car market. With the launch of their Figo Aspire, Ford India is hoping that this offering will prove to be a worthy challenger and repeat the success of the old Figo and the EcoSport. We find out if the Figo Aspire has what it takes to succeed in this cut-throat environment. This is their first compact sedan and is the first product from their new Gujarat plant.
Turning heads with a trapezoidal-shaped grille at the front, it is defined by thin chrome lines and horizontal chrome slats. Large headlamps sweep back sharply to denote an aggressive look. A prominent power bulge adorns the muscular bonnet, further enhancing the Figo Aspire’s appeal from the front. In profile, the 14-inch wheels look a tad small, even as the car gets a strong shoulder line. Petal shaped taillights dominate proceedings at the back and a chrome strip with the Ford logo at the centre runs the length of the boot, spicing things up a bit. The bumper mounted number-plate cuts down the visual bulk with no element looking overdone.
Stepping inside, the Figo Aspire gets a height adjustable steering, there is SYNC and voice recognition enabled besides featuring integrated audio controls. The indicator stalks and bonnet opener are finally on the right hand side in this car. Outside rear-view mirrors come with electric fold and adjust, while the intermittent wipers have a six-speed setting. The detailing on the climate control system is tastefully done. It is quite powerful too, chilling the cabin within minutes. The central console is finished in piano black as are the door-openers.
The cabin is dominated by beige and feels extremely roomy on the inside. The light shade does make it difficult to keep things clean though. At the front, there is ample space, even for tall drivers. The rear seat is spacious enough for two people as well, adding a third passenger will be a little cramped at the back. The seat cushioning is sufficient enough and coupled with the angle of the backrest, makes for a comfortable ride. The 359-litre boot however only manages to be marginally larger than the segment leader while the rest of the competition offers greater storage volume. The paint-job on the Ford Figo Aspire is a top-class job with the panel gaps being consistently tight. The boot is the exception here and is finished rather poorly, with plenty of sharp edges.
With a kerb weight of 1023kg, Ford have given built the car to be extremely light and it shows. The signature ‘Ford Build’ is missing here in the Figo Aspire. From the door handles to the doors, Ford have gone thin and light in the build quality department. The featherweight boot lid requires minimal effort to operate but flexes alarmingly. The bonnet is the only piece of sheet metal which feels like a typical ‘Ford’.
The Ford Figo Aspire comes loaded with many best-in-class and first-in-segment features. Safety is a huge part with dual airbags as standard on all variants and six on the top end one. ABS with EBD is standard in the top two variants. Other features include fog lamps at the front and back, engine immobilizer, auto-lock doors, anti-theft alarm, defogger at the rear, alloy wheels, and so on. More importantly, the Figo Aspire gets a MyKey option, which can be used to restrict top-speed and set the maximum volume for the stereo. Auto-dial emergency assistance is offered on the range topping Titanium+ variant. Overall, the Ford Figo Aspire gets top marks for safety and features.
Storage options are in abundance in the Ford Figo Aspire. You get dual cup-holders, a bottle holder, and a cubby hole for knick-knacks besides a small ledge for the wallet/phone below the climate controls. There is a 12V socket in addition to the USB and AUX ports, with a classy SYNC badge in front of the gear lever. Spacious door pockets can accommodate two bottles along with other knickknacks. This is a car that’s built for those looking for plenty of storage space inside the cabin. The four-speaker infotainment system in the Ford Figo Aspire is similar to the one in the EcoSport and the Fiesta. A non-touch, 4.2-inch multi-information display unit is present on the top-end trim. The clarity is good and it plays loud enough without distorting. Finished in piano black, the glossy finish attracts fingerprint stains easily.
– In-dash music system
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Microsoft SYNC
- Six airbags
- Voice commands
Engine: 1.5-liter diesel
Transmission: Five-speed manual
The Figo Aspire gets the 1.5-liter TDCi engine from the Fiesta and the EcoSport. The 98bhp power figure and best-in-class torque output of 215Nm that starts at 1750rpm mean that this is a car with strong performance and excellent drivability. Start the engine and it quickly settles in with idling vibrations disappearing when you shut the door. Turbo lag is minimum, with a steady flow of power across the rev range and you’ll seldom find yourself downshifting urgently in most situations. From office commutes to weekend leisure trips, the Ford Figo Aspire diesel will keep you happy with its refinement and performance habits. What’s more, the car has been returning a steady fuel economy figures of 16 km/l in the city and 20 km/l on the highway runs.
Ford have given the Figo Aspire a comfort oriented suspension. At city speeds, the car impresses with its ability to soak up the bumps over broken roads. As speeds rise, and one heads out on the highways, it turns into a spirited cruiser. However, it is prone to bobbing along undulations in the road. Handling is nice and predictable, though this isn’t in the league of the Fiesta or even the old Figo.
Ford have played their cards well with the Figo Aspire. The light and airy cabin is comfortable and sets the tone for the suspension and ride characteristics. It should appeal to a wide section of buyers in the segment. At close to INR 9 Lakhs on-road for the top-end diesel, the Figo Aspire is comes with a lot of best-in-class features, many among them not seen on cars two segments higher. The Figo Aspire is a good competition and value for money package, and in diesel it is one of the best options to pick.