2014 Ford Figo Long Term Review
The Figo offers Go-kart like fun with a diesel engine and convenient yet practical cabin.
Despite the growing demand of SUVs and compact sedans in India, the hatchback body style still contributes to 49 percent of sales in our country every month. The B2 segment contributes the most in the big chunk of sales and Ford India tasted tremendous success by introducing the Figo in this segment in 2010. Later in 2012, Ford launched the Figo facelift with cosmetic changes and new features. The Ford Figo is one of the most awarded cars in India (including the 2010 MotorBeam Car Of The Year) and we have extensively tested the pre-facelift and the facelift versions of the car. This time around we explore how the Ford Figo carries itself in the long run.
The design language of the Ford Figo was well appreciated when it was launched because of its neutral styling to everybody’s liking. Now we are quite familiar with the Figo’s styling and nothing much had changed with the facelift. However, the new set of headlamps and the revised grille makes the fascia look sharper. Rest of the styling is more or less the same but the Figo really stands apart in the Kinetic Blue shade which looks energetic. Other eye-catching colours include Paprika Red and Mars Red (also seen on the Ford EcoSport).
Getting inside the Figo’s cabin is effortless with a wide opening door and enough room and seating position for easy ingress and egress. Even in tight parking spots you can get in and out easily thanks to the slim doors. The Figo has a well spaced out cabin and that’s evident despite of it having dark colour tones across the dashboard and seats. The dashboard comprises of silver, black and dark blue treatment, which looks sporty and youthful in addition to the circular AC vents and orange lighting. The build quality is best defined as ‘solid’. Now this means there are no soft, luxurious and silky touches, instead it feels rugged and built to last. Punch the dashboard or door trim and it doesn’t feel flimsy or rickety. The controls and knobs have the same sturdy build, which adds to the car’s durability.
The steering wheel feels good to hold with comfortable contours and the dashboard layout is driver friendly with ergonomically placed controls that fall perfectly to hand apart from the boot opening handle, which is placed low down at the passenger side. The steering column mounted audio controls are extremely convenient once you get the hang of it. In fact it feels better than the steering mounted controls because while the steering moves, it is difficult to find the buttons but here it remains where it is. Ford is now offering the Figo with the option of WiFi connectivity. Basically it’s a data card enabled after market dongle that fits in the power socket and creates a WiFi hotspot.
The music system comes with Bluetooth, CD, AUX and USB connectivity. Unlike many cars in this segment or segments above, the Bluetooth integration with the phone is profound. You can access full phonebook, dialled numbers, received and missed calls on the audio display. Usually when you stream music via Bluetooth in most of the cars, you can’t change the track via steering controls but in the Figo you can simply put your phone in the pocket and change tracks and volume with your eyes glued to the road. The space is adequate with ample headroom and legroom for rear passengers but three people at the rear is a close fit. The front seats are a tad bit narrow but otherwise back and thigh support is decent. There are manual levers for the rear windows even in the range topping variant, which is a bummer for people using the back seat quite often. Boot space is enormous, which can hold two full-size suitcases flat and a couple of bags.
Powering the Ford Figo is a 1.4-litre TDCi diesel engine that produces 68 BHP of power at 4000 RPM with 160 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM. The diesel engine is quite noisy from the outside but the impressive NVH can be noticed once you shut your window. The figures on paper might seem to be dull but the oil burner has enough punch to call it a peppy and strong performing engine. There is some lag until 2000 RPM mark after which the torque pull is immense and it picks up pace quickly.
The motor is smooth enough to rev up high but there’s no point of redlining because the power fades away in the top-end. The car pulls strongly keeping the engine in the mid-range. Mated to this motor is a 5-speed manual transmission, which is slick and smooth with a relatively light clutch by diesel standards. Pottering around city traffic is quite comfortable with this setup and the fifth gear is tall enough to cruise on highways. At 100 km/hr in fifth gear, the engine spins at around 2500 RPM.
One aspect for which the Ford Figo is really appreciated is its sorted driving dynamics, which inclines more towards the fun factor. The hydraulic steering unit along with a stiff suspension setup is a sweet recipe for Go-kart like fun around the corners. Handling is sharp and you can dart its face with total control and while doing that, the hydraulic steering provides good feedback. We mentioned earlier that the suspension is stiff but it is only evident at slow speeds on broken or sharp section of tarmac. Otherwise the ride gets pliant once it picks up pace and takes most of the undulations and bumps in its stride with comfort. At high speeds on expressways, the Figo stays glued to its line with confidence. The brakes are effective but our long termer’s pedal lacks initial bite.
The Ford Figo has been one of our favorite hatchbacks and back in 2010 the Figo won our the MotorBeam COTY award. It has been around for quite some time now and the styling for today’s day and age might look a bit dated for some. The interior styling too lacks the finesse of current breed of hatchbacks. Keeping that aside, the overall package being offered by Ford is quite desirable. You get a long list of convenience features, spacious cabin, decent diesel pep and agile yet comfortable dynamics that put a smile on your face. Not to forget, it is the safest car in its segment scoring four stars in Global NCAP’s crash test.