Text – Faisal Khan; Pictures – Sri Manikanta Achanta
Ford Figo Review
Car Tested: 2015 Ford Figo; Road Test No. 612
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.10 – 8.93 lakhs
The second generation Ford Figo is a complete hatchback and offers the best of almost everything
Hatchbacks are the most popular segment in India and for a long time, only a couple of brands were readily accepted in this high volume space. With the launch of the Figo, Ford’s India game plan took a drastic change for the better and the car brought the American automaker new customers, those who had never ever thought of owing a Ford before. The success of the first gen model is now set to go to newer heights with the launch of the all new Figo, a car that looks hugely promising on paper that we drove it all the way to one of the seven wonders of the world to see what it offers in the real world.
Motor Quest: Ford unveiled the first generation Figo in India in late 2009, launching the car in the first half of 2010, the hatchback being an instant success for the American car maker. The Figo was given a facelift in 2012 and the second generation model was launched in September 2015.
Exteriors – The first generation Ford Figo had some quirky styling cues that were appealing to many but not so special to some. The new Figo though comes across as a fresh and complete looking hatchback. There are many appealing bits such as the huge and stylish front grille and swept back headlamps along with a smart bonnet bulge, these obviously remind one of Aston Martin. The side profile gets a strong shoulder line and blackened B-pillar for a sporty appearance but the simple alloy wheel design makes it look a tad old.
The Figo’s styling makes it one of the best looking cars in its class
Shiny diamond-cut alloys on the range topping variants with bigger tyres would have worked well on the Figo. Having said that, the Figo’s rear gets a neatly designed tailgate, beefy bumper and smart looking crystal clear tail lamps. The well proportioned overall profile of the new Figo along with the tasteful styling attracts some attention. The new model draws a lot of attention on the road as it’s fresh currently, seeing a ton of interest from other Ford car owners.
Interiors – The cabin of the Figo hatch is a big step up compared to its predecessor. Soon after entering the car you can notice that Ford has made a huge effort in getting the ergonomics spot on, which was quite lacking earlier. Everything feels within your reach and focused on the driver. The dashboard design is exactly the same as the Figo Aspire but instead of black and beige it is black and grey. Ford has also added a vanity mirror on the co-passenger’s sun visor which is missing on the Aspire. The gloss black elements on the centre console, door handles, steering wheel, etc. have now been replaced by brushed silver finish. The darker colour scheme looks sporty but many would still prefer the beige interior of the compact sedan.
The cabin of the Figo is well appointed and has a ton of features
The instrument cluster on the Figo hatchback doesn’t get any silver elements like the Aspire but there is a different shade of blue for the illuminated needles. You get a 4.2-inch screen on the Titanium+ variant with Ford SYNC system while on the lower variants you get Ford MyDock which is the same as the Aspire. The audio system is user friendly and Bluetooth connectivity is seamless. Audio quality is top notch and the comprehensive connectivity with the AppLink system makes it a very entertaining cabin to be in. The ORVMs are electrically adjustable and are power foldable. There is no push button start/stop, keyless go or reverse parking sensors but the latter most is offered as part of genuine accessories. The car doesn’t get rear AC vents either but doesn’t need them as the AC is a chiller and cools the cabin in quick time, even at the rear.
The headlight controls are stacked neatly next to the steering and the stalks are India-friendly having the turn indicator lever on the right-hand side. The quality, fit and finish is worth appreciating as the Figo feels well put together now with long lasting materials. There are ample amount of storage bins to keep the cabin clean but the rear doors miss out on pockets. The seats are very comfortable at the front with height adjust for the driver. The rear legroom is way better than the old Figo and has more supportive seats with excellent kneeroom but headroom is limited for tall passengers whose hair will rub the sloping roof. The rear headrests are fixed (the Aspire has adjustable) and for tall occupants, the headrests will be at upper back level. 257-litres of boot space is more than enough for a hatchback of this size but there is no electro-magnetic tailgate opener.
Performance – Ford is offering the same set of engines on the new Figo which do duty on the Aspire compact sedan. So petrol duty is taken care by a 1.2-litre unit that generates 88 PS and 112 Nm, matched to a 5-speed gearbox. This motor has good low-end pep but isn’t the most urgent when you get out on the open road. There is another petrol engine on offer, the bigger, more powerful and excise duty unfriendly 1.5-litre unit, only matched to a 6-speed PowerShift automatic gearbox. Producing 112 PS and 136 Nm, the real highlight is of course the gearbox which is a dual-clutch unit and thereby offers quick shifts and is very responsive to throttle inputs. It can be felt changing cogs at low speeds, the mill having good low-end performance, upshifting under 2500 RPM when driven normally. There are two modes – D and S, the latter inducing some more josh in the Figo. One can also shift gears manually using the lever mounted buttons, the cluster also displaying the gear position in Sports mode.
The petrol automatic packs in good punch for highway driving, makes ambling in the city very very easy
The 1.5-litre petrol engine has good performance for the city as the autobox makes driving in stop-go traffic a breeze, something we really appreciated in the crowded city of Agra. The motor does become vocal in the top-end, redlining under 6500 RPM. Getting to 100 km/hr at full pelt requires third gear while at the same speed in top gear, the motor spins at 2500 RPM, being quite loud. While ARAI mileage figures for the petrol models are 18.16 km/l (1.2L) and 17 km/l (1.5L) one can expect 14.5 km/l and 13 km/l for the manual and automatic respectively, mileage dropping to around 12 km/l with a heavy foot. The diesel engine is the tarmac scorching 1.5-litre unit which thrusts out a segment best 100 PS and 215 Nm, again identical to the Aspire whose performance we have praised endlessly.
Low-end poke is plenty, lag is very well contained and the shove is so strong that at times you end up with a lot of wheel-spin. The motor has good city drivability and once out on the highway, this engine makes you grin ear to ear, the zest with which it picks up speed is truly fantastic, no hesitation in getting past the 150 km/hr mark. Aiding the fantastic mill is the smooth shifting 5-speed gearbox and light clutch, making easy work of driving. NVH levels are good too (slight diesel drone is present) and the ton comes up in under 10 seconds (being slightly lighter than the Aspire, it’s marginally quicker too), requiring at least third gear while at the same speed in top gear the needle hovers around the 2300 RPM mark, one nudge on the big pedal and overtaking is done in an instant. The ARAI rated mileage is the best in the segment (25.83 km/l) and after having tested the Aspire’s fuel economy, the new Figo should easily deliver around 18-20 km/l in the real world.
Driving Dynamics – The new Figo is lighter than the model is replaces and now uses an electric steering, it doesn’t have the same go-kart feel of the old model but is still a very fun car to drive with its engaging dynamics. Body control is very good, the steering has good feedback but isn’t as responsive and rich in feel as the old Figo, more so at straight-ahead position. The car does feel extremely stable at high speeds, staying glued to the tarmac and not giving passengers any hint of the speeds. Between the petrol and diesel, the extra weight of the oil burner made it feel more sure footed.
The fun of driving a Ford is very much intact in the new Figo hatch
Ride quality is excellent too, the car dispatching bad bumps with ease and there is not much bounciness over expansion joints on concrete roads like the super fast Yamuna Expressway. The ground clearance is now a segment best 174 mm and thus the car won’t bottom out on speed-breakers, an issue faced on the old model. Brakes are strong, have good bite and pedal feel is positive, the tyres although smaller 175 mm on 14-inch rims, are grippy. The petrol models on test were equipped with MRF ZV2K make while the diesel models came with Apollo Amazer 3G tyres.
Safety and After Sales Service – Ford has nailed it when it comes to safety. No one would have ever imagined that in our country a carmaker would offer six airbags in a hatchback priced under Rs. 10 lakhs. Ford is also offering a driver side airbag as standard across all variants. No doubt the new Figo is the safest car in its segment and future-proof. That’s not it, the car also comes with traction control, stability control and hill hold assist with the automatic transmission variant. Ford is targeting rural markets as well with the Figo and is promising a competitive maintenance cost along with 24/7 roadside assistance and 2 year/1,00,000 kms warranty.
Verdict – Let’s keep this simple. Cars are of two types – fun or practical but rarely both. If you look at the hatchback segment, the Hyundai Grand i10 is a practical option but lacks fun while the Maruti Swift is very fun to drive but lacks practicality. Ford has managed to give both practicality and fun in a well priced package as the Figo is not only comfortable, spacious and safe, it’s a whole lot of fun too with its quick shifting petrol automatic or the punchy diesel, underpinned by a communicative chassis. Like we said in the start of this review, the new Figo will take this American hatch to newer heights, it’s that good.
The Ford Figo ticks all the right notes by being good looking, spacious, powerful, safe and well priced. It’s a hatchback which appeals to both the heart and head, a very rare combination in this segment.
* Fresh looking hatchback with a striking front-end design
* Very powerful diesel engine, can smoke more powerful hatchbacks with ease
* Spacious cabin which feels solidly put-together
* State-of-the-art 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is best in class
* Great balance between ride and handling, strong brakes and very stable car too
* High focus on safety, only hatchback in India which comes with six airbags
What’s Not So Cool
* Isn’t as fun and sharp as the old Figo which offered a go-kart feel
* Rear headroom isn’t good for tall passengers
* No electro-magnetic tailgate opener which is offered by rivals
Alternatives: Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10
Ford Figo Specifications
* Engine: 1196cc, Ti-VCT (P); 1499cc, Ti-VCT (P AT); 1498cc, TDCi (D)
* Power: 88 PS @ 6300 RPM (P); 112 PS @ 6300 RPM (P AT); 100 PS @ 3750 RPM (D)
* Torque: 112 Nm @ 4000 RPM (P); 136 Nm @ 4250 RPM (P AT); 215 Nm @ 1750-3000 RPM (D)
* Transmission: 5-speed manual (P); 6-speed automatic (P AT); 5-speed manual (D)
* 0-100 km/hr: 13.5 seconds (P); 10.88 seconds (P AT); 9.72 seconds (D) (est.)
* Top Speed: 170 km/hr (P); 180 km/hr (P AT); 185 km/hr (D)
* Fuel Consumption: 14 km/l (P); 12 km/l (P AT); 18 km/l (D)
* Fuel Type: Petrol, Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 175/65/14
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS
* Safety: Six Airbags, ESP, ABS, Hill Start Assist, EBD, TCS, Perimeter Alarm
Ford Figo Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 3886 mm X 1695 mm X 1525 mm
* Wheelbase: 2491 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1492 mm/ 1484 mm
* Turning Radius: 4.9 metres
* Ground clearance: 174 mm
* Boot Volume: 257 litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 42 litres (Petrol), 40 litres (Diesel)
* Kerb Weight: 1040 kgs (est.)