The Figo Aspire gets several segment leading features while being a huge step forward in terms of design, quality and finish.
While the pre-launch activities of the Ford Figo Aspire have kick started, we get a quick first look of the upcoming compact sedan. The vehicle looks quite attractive in flesh and this is the main area where the carmaker has focused. The front looks sharp with the large sweptback headlamps and signature Ford grille inspired by Aston Martin (we can’t ignore saying that), while the bonnet bulge adds to the smart styling of the car. Ford believes it is a big challenge to make a sub 4-metre sedan to look proportional and we think they have done a good job on that front integrating the boot smoothly.
When you look at the car straight from the side, it tends to look a bit stubby but overall the bold character lines running across the body makes it look proportional. The ORVMs integrate blinkers and the B-pillar is blackened. Notice the small black plastic element on the front fender, looks out of place. The alloy wheels remind us of the previous generation Figo, could have been more sporty. It comes with 175/65 R14 Apollo tyres. The rear has sizeable tail lamp cluster and a thick chrome strip on the boot to give the feeling of a wide profile. There is no boot release button on the outside. The paint quality seems good as well.
The Figo Aspire doesn’t get smart key system like the EcoSport with request sensor buttons on the door handles to unlock/lock the car and instead you get a foldable key. Get inside the cabin and you would notice a huge leap forward compared to the outgoing Figo hatchback. The dashboard looks rich using beige, grey and piano black elements. The quality, fit and finish is at par with the EcoSport, which is good, considering the segment. There are many elements shared with the EcoSport and Fiesta such as the steering wheel, it feels great to hold, having audio controls. The stalks have finally been repositioned for the Indian audience, so the right lever is used for indicators and the left for wipers.
The headlights controls are positioned at the same place, European style, on the right side of the steering wheel. It gets front and rear foglamps switch too and a convenient place to open the boot. The instrument cluster of the vehicle looks small and basic having a tiny MID screen. The front and rear finally get power windows while the driver side gets auto up/down function. It gets power folding and electrically adjustable ORVMs.
The short and handy gearknob looks cool and is good to hold. The typical Ford audio system with SYNC technology gets CD, Radio, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity. It also offers AppLink system that connects with your Smartphone and you can control the apps handsfree using your voice commands. Other features of the SYNC system include text-to-speech, music streaming and voice calling. There is an integrated screen on the Titanium+ variant while on the Titanium variant you will get a smaller screen but a MyFord Dock system that lets you mount and charge your phone while also enabling you to use navigation system and music streaming from your phone with Bluetooth connectivity.
The storage places are aplenty that includes a sizeable glove box, large front door pockets that can accommodate several size of bottles, ahead of the gearknob you get space to keep your phone or knick knacks and right next to the handbrake you get plenty of space for coins, cash and cups. The leatherette seats are very comfortable ensuring good support all around with ideal cushioning. At the rear, there is good amount of legroom, shoulder and head room. The under-thigh support is decent and thanks to the light colours used, it feels airy at the back. The boot space appears quite accommodating and underneath is a spare wheel but steel and not an alloy wheel.
One of the biggest USPs of the Ford Figo Aspire is that there are 6 airbags on offer! You heard that right, along with the front driver and passenger airbags, it gets side and curtain airbags too. Another safety feature is perimeter alarm that triggers the alarm if the system detects unauthorised attempt to enter the car, it flashes the headlamps and parking lamps. Also there is the Ford MyKey technology that enables you to program the key to restricted driving mode setting, which limits the top speed and regulates audio volume.
The Figo Aspire will be powered by two engine options, 1.2-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine and 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine. Both these engines will be mated to a 5-speed manual transmission while the petrol motor will get an option of the 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission. Currently there are no plans for diesel automatic but Ford might bring it in the future. We have seen these engines in the Ford family before but the carmaker claims that these will come with revised power outputs having high and competitive fuel efficiency. The performance figures are not announced yet but we’ll get to know the details closer to the launch.
The American carmaker has perceptional challenges in India about the cost of ownership of Ford cars. They want to change that perception amongst Indian car buyers because with the Figo Aspire, the company is also focusing on Tier-II and Tier-III cities. They believe that’s not the case with their current lineup of cars and those who drive the EcoSport, Figo and Fiesta are quite happy with the maintenance cost. Also, people in India believe that the resale value of Ford cars isn’t up to the mark. So with the pre-launch customer campaign, they want to address all the misperceptions towards the brand. Ford promises about having high localisation content in the Figo Aspire in order to get the pricing right.
If you remember, Ford had a high demand and low supply issue when the EcoSport was launched. However, this time around, they are prepared with the high capacity production at their facility in Sanand, Gujarat. The carmaker wants to grab on the opportunity of the growing compact sedan segment, hence they decided to launch the Figo Aspire first. The new generation Figo hatch will follow soon and then at the end of this year, we expect them to launch the all-new Ford Endeavour SUV.
The Figo Aspire is being showcased at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon from May 8 to May 10, where we got the first look of the car. It is a part of a 10-week long road show happening in 25 cities across India. Led by Farhan Akhtar, the experiential campaign of the Figo Aspire – “What Drives You” gives a chance to the participants to win the car and also reward eight participants Rs. 1 lakh each. Considering the duration of the pre-launch campaign, don’t expect Ford to launch the Figo Aspire before July this year.