Shootout: Ford Figo Aspire vs Hyundai Elite i20
Shootout No. 129
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.95 – 10.09 lakhs (Ford Figo Aspire), Rs. 6.34 – 9.99 lakhs (Hyundai Elite i20)
Although they belong to different segments, similar pricing and dimensions makes them competitors
If we look for segments of cars which have gained immense popularity in recent years, they would be the premium hatchback segment and the compact sedan segment. The former was introduced in India with the launch of the first generation Hyundai i20 which got an amazing response. The latter saw cars like the Tata Indigo CS and the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire being introduced in the beginning. But, since then times have changed. There have been other premium hatchbacks too in the form of the Honda Jazz and the Volkswagen Polo GT twins. The number of compact sedans have risen too and the latest one on the block is the Ford Figo Aspire which boasts of great looks, powerful engines and class-leading safety. Priced very closely to each other, the Elite i20 and the Figo Aspire will confuse buyers looking out for a car in the sub Rs. 10 lakh price bracket. We do a shootout between the two to adjudge which is a better buy.
Motor Quest: The Hyundai i20 was first launched in 2008 in India (also globally) and became a sales success. It got a facelift in between and the second generation i20 (called the Elite i20) was launched a year ago. The Figo Aspire is based on the Fiesta Classic’s platform which has been modified sufficiently to update it for today’s times. It is Ford’s first compact sedan.
Styling – Even after being from different segments, both the cars are almost similar in length. The Elite i20 is wider while the Figo Aspire is taller. The Hyundai gets a longer wheelbase too considering the designers at Ford had to squeeze in a boot and still keep the car’s length under 4 metres to take benefit of the lower excise duty rule. Since the Figo Aspire is a newly designed car and shares its design with the Figo hatchback, it looks fresh and doesn’t resemble older Ford cars. The Korean hatchback also doesn’t resemble its predecessor from most angles and looks more like a premium German hatchback.
The Figo Aspire’s Aston Martin inspired grille makes it a looker
While the Hyundai Elite i20’s styling is a bit garish and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the Ford Figo Aspire gets neutral styling that will be liked by the majority out there. Up front, the American sedan gets an Aston Martin lookalike grille which really lifts up its appearance. The Hyundai gets swept-back headlamps along with a hexagonal grille which gets chrome outlining to highlight it. Move over to the side and the 16-inch alloys of the Elite i20 grab your attention. The Figo Aspire gets much smaller 14-inch wheels which just about do the job. The rear end of the Korean hatchback looks a bit cluttered (some love the Alfa Romeo look alike design though) whereas the American lass gets a simpler and more elegant design.
Interiors – Speaking of interiors, it is the Elite i20 which gets better appointed interiors but the Figo Aspire doesn’t lag behind by a big margin and is right up there in terms of quality. Both the cars get well put together interiors but quality in the Hyundai feels better and there is no cost cutting evident while the same isn’t true for the Figo Aspire (small things like a vanity mirror isn’t offered). The Ford gets a similar dashboard layout as its elder siblings, the Fiesta and EcoSport. Two tone interiors uplift the looks of the interiors and make them feel airy. In terms of equipment, the Hyundai beats the Ford considering it comes with a touchscreen audio system (a recent addition), 1 GB on-board storage for the music system, reversing camera, automatic headlights, rear AC vents, keyless go, push button start and electrically retracting outside rearview mirrors but shockingly misses out on auto-locking doors.
The Hyundai Elite i20 gets a feature list which is longer than the car itself
To fight back, the Figo Aspire gets leather seats, MyKey, mobile phone docking station in lower variants and the SYNC system with AppLink, voice commands and Emergency assistance. The Titanium+ variant is the one which gets the latter most and it has a 4.2 inch screen. It works with four apps currently which include Glympse which sends your location to near and dear ones in case of an emergency situation, ESPN Cricinfo to give you updates about the sport, Burrp to find food destinations and MapMyIndia to find new destinations. In terms of rear seat space, the Figo Aspire wins and the fantastic packaging means it also gains in terms of boot space with it having a 359-litres trunk as compared to the 285-litres boot of the Korean kid. The Ford also has more storage spaces on the inside with big bottle holders in the doors. Both the cars get adjustable headrests for the rear passengers too.
Performance – Considering both the cars touch the Rs. 10 lakh mark with their top-end variants, good performance is expected from them. However, to take benefit of the lower excise duty, the engine sizes have to be smaller than 1.2-litre for petrol and 1.5-litre for diesel. Both the cars get a 1.2-litre petrol mill which aren’t too far away from each other in the number game. The VTVT engine on the Elite i20 makes 83 PS of power at 6000 RPM and 115 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. The Ti-VCT engine on the Figo Aspire puts out 88 PS of power at 6300 RPM and 112 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. Having almost similar kerb weight, the Figo Aspire is faster to the ton by almost 1.5 seconds as compared to the Elite i20. The bit of additional power helps it. But, neither of them feel as exciting to drive as say a Maruti Suzuki Swift.
The Figo Aspire shines when it comes to performance with more powerful engines, also gets an automatic
Both the cars are mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and get smooth shifting gearboxes. While the Hyundai doesn’t offer an automatic transmission on any variant of the Elite i20, Ford offers a petrol automatic variant which gets the bigger 1.5-litre petrol engine from the EcoSport, mated with the 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox which is easily the best gearbox in its segment. The engine puts out a healthy 112 PS of power and 136 Nm of torque which makes it one fast car. Coming to the diesel engines, the Figo Aspire gets a bigger 1.5-litre engine belting out 100 PS of power and 215 Nm of torque. The Elite i20 gets a 1.4-litre unit pumping out 90 PS of power and 220 Nm of torque.
Power delivery is more linear in the Elite i20 whereas there is a push-in-the-seat effect in the Figo Aspire when accelerating strongly. The car surges ahead with the wheels spinning. With the higher power rating, the American car is faster than the Korean one. But the Elite i20 diesel gets a 6-speed manual gearbox as compared to the 5-speed unit on the Figo Aspire diesel which makes cruising on the highways more efficient. The overall fuel efficiency of both the petrol and diesel engines is higher in Ford’s case which goes to explain how well they have tuned the engines. Out of the two, we would say the Ford has the better engines but the Hyundai units are more refined with next to no sound filtering into the cabin.
Driving Dynamics – If we see the history, Ford cars have always had the best in class driving dynamics. Starting from the Ikon, they have delivered brilliant driving machines to enthusiasts. The Figo Aspire while not in the same league satisfies the enthusiast in you. On the other hand, Hyundai’s have been known for lacklustre dynamics but the Elite i20 is much improved over the previous car but still isn’t up to the mark to make a fun-to-drive car. Suspension of the Korean hatch is softer than the Figo Aspire which helps absorb potholes well and gives better ride quality. The Aspire’s suspension shines while taking corners or doing high speed runs. It doesn’t feel bouncy at all and the guys at Ford have done their job extremely well.
The Elite i20 is simply no match to the Figo Aspire in handling & steering feel
Even though the Elite i20 has much wider tyres, it is the Figo Aspire which feels more surefooted to drive. Higher side profile of the tyres also offsets the stiffer suspension by a fair bit making the ride comfortable. We can only imagine how brilliantly upsized tyres would fare on the Figo Aspire. When it comes to braking, both the cars are closely matched with neither getting discs at the rear. The steering wheel on the Hyundai feels a bit too over-assisted and this is unnerving at higher speeds. The unit on the Figo Aspire while not as good as other Ford cars, feels good and weighs up well at high speeds with much better feedback than felt on the Elite i20.
Safety and After Sales Service – It is here that the Ford Figo Aspire completely dwarfs the Hyundai Elite i20. The former gets dual airbags as standard on all the variants and the top-end Titanium+ variant gets six airbags which is the first-in-class. The automatic variant even comes with ESC, Hill Hold Assist and TCS which aren’t seen on any variant of the Elite i20. It however gets ABS and front airbags on some variants. The emergency assist with the SYNC system adds to the safety of the American car and gives peace of mind. The Figo Aspire comes with MyKey letting the owner control the top speed of the car for other drivers. The sheet metal quality is almost the same in both the cars. When it comes to after sales service, Hyundai does have more presence across India. On the other hand, Ford has been wrongly associated with high maintenance cost since a long time but their cars are actually the cheapest to maintain in the segment, they also use child parts which makes repairs much easier on the pocket.
Verdict – Choosing one car over here becomes very difficult considering both of them are good in their own right. While the Figo Aspire offers better driving dynamics and more powerful engines, the Elite i20 gets better interiors and more features. The i20 also enjoys an excellent brand value in India and customers are ready to shell that kind of money for it. The Figo Aspire doesn’t really benefit from the brand value but has a lot going for it. In the end, one can’t go wrong with either of the cars. The Hyundai Elite i20 should be the choice if you aren’t looking for a bigger boot and can make do with comfortable driving dynamics whereas the Figo Aspire should be chosen if more highway trips are done considering it gets a powerful engine and is loaded with safety features across the line-up.
Both the cars here are good if seen individually and are very close to each other. It is the feature laden Hyundai which would tug the heart of the masses whereas the Ford Figo Aspire would lure the ones wanting better performance, more space and higher safety.
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta
Further Reading –
2015 Ford Figo Aspire Review
Honda Amaze vs Ford Figo Aspire vs Hyundai Xcent vs Tata Zest
2015 Hyundai Elite i20 Review
Hyundai Elite i20 Long Term Review
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Hyundai i20 Active
Maruti Swift vs Hyundai Elite i20 vs Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Punto Evo
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Honda Jazz