First Impressions of the 2015 Ford Figo
When given the opportunity to choose an automobile for an urban environment, the vast majority of people will choose a hatchback since they are tiny and hence can be easily manoeuvred through curves and lanes. Some of them are also enjoyable to drive if the designer injects some enthusiasm into the engine.
The Ford Figo, which was introduced in 2009, was an example of a hatchback that blended practicality with acceptable levels of driving enjoyment. It aided Ford’s growth as a popular brand in India, where the love for compact cars has always been strong. Following the advent of the Ecosport, the brand’s image has transformed from that of just another automobile manufacturer to that of a more mature and responsible manufacturer focused on safety and innovation.
And Ford isn’t about to let up, as evidenced by the unveiling of the Figo Aspire, which was immediately followed by the new Figo. The former, while being new, is already making an impact, while the latter’s war with the former leader begins right now. In our first impression report, we look at how it compares to its competitors.
The new Ford Figo shares over 90% of its design features with its sedan brother, as expected. Engineers believe that both of these models were built from the ground up at the same time. When you compare it to its predecessor, you’ll notice that the new Figo has undergone significant improvements, making it brighter and more youthful.
On first glance, the larger, well-rounded dimension is the most noticeable feature. The front features an expressive appearance with strongly defined big headlights thanks to a radiator grille that recalls that of a Bond car. The front hood’s profile lines intersect with the grille at a higher temple position. To ensure that it draws a large number of people, the grille is adorned with chrome and many slats that span the length of its breadth, giving it a larger posture. Matte cladding is used on the bumper’s central air pocket and the fog lamp surround.
The Figo’s wheelbase is identical to that of the Figo Aspire, which means that the occupants inside have plenty of space. Turn indicators are integrated into the external mirrors, and a little chrome patch on the side initiates a profile line. Blackened pillars, a relaxed roofline, a powerful shoulder line, and matching alloys with 175/65 R14 tyres make up the side.
The rear of the Hyundai i20 looks comparable to that of previous generations, and it lacks excitement. The huge boomerang-shaped tail lights, together with the bulging boot lid and other standard features, appear a little too plain. We applaud Ford’s efforts to create a larger and more modern vehicle, but we’re not thrilled with the end result, which shows a distinct lack of design zeal.
In comparison to a richly produced jean, it appears to be a pair of simply stitched trouser. This is Ford, the manufacturer of legendary vehicles such as the Mustang and Focus. It’s not that understated designs don’t sell; they do, but only if they’re sophisticated. If only the new Figo’s design reflected the same passion, raising the target audience’s aspirations.
Because of the large interiors, the new Ford Figo will not make you feel claustrophobic. In terms of cabin comfort, the taller roof and relatively longer length have made a significant effect. This one also has a number of safety measures that set it apart from the competitors.
As can be observed across all portfolio types, the dashboard layout is straightforward and consistent. Unlike the Figo Aspire, though, this one features charcoal-finished accents and panels. This was most likely done to give the hatchback a sportier and younger look than the sedan, which, with its beige colour scheme, caters to a more older demographic.
The steering wheel has controls for operating the entertainment system and switching between Sync settings. The instrument cluster is straightforward, featuring an analogue display and digital data for trip readings, average fuel usage, odometer, and instantaneous average. The Sync feature is only available on Titanium + models, while the others employ an innovative MyDock system that holds a Smartphone and allows the occupant to connect the phone to the car through Bluetooth, operating as a helpful navigation entertainment screen.
You can also experiment with different choices on the central unit, such as changing modes and pairing phones using BT telephony. The sole drawback is the screen’s small size. While most other automakers are going toward larger screens with more features, the one in Ford automobiles appears to be outdated. Is it fair to blame it on the price? The Renault Kwid, for example, is an entry-level model with a touchscreen satellite navigation system.
Moving on, the primary arrangement is straightforward, with AC controls and an additional recess beneath it, primarily for storing a phone or two. Take a close look at the inside and you’ll see that this compact Ford automobile has plenty of functionality and storage. The glove box is roomy, the central console has many cup holders, including one for rear passengers, and the front door trims include beverage container pockets with space for small items. The only area that has taken a hit is the rear boot space, which has shrunk due to the body style and the large interior space.
Driven by Results
Okay, so we have a car that looks functionally fresh and has furnishings that are practical, but the major concern is how it feels on the road, and to find out, we sampled the automatic powertrain first. It has a 1.5-litre TiVCT naturally aspirated engine that produces 110 Bhp and 136 Nm of torque. This engine is paired with a Powershift 6-speed automatic transmission that also includes a manual mode.
To begin with, this motor is the most powerful in its class, and possibly the best as well, at least on paper. When you put it in D-mode, the linear power supply kicks in. The sluggish character of the motor is evident at first speeds, however this only happens if the throttle is pushed too hard. There is a clever approach to make the shifts happen, and it involves determining the best gear for the engine speed.
Except for a few odd shifts here and there in congested places, the powershift was essentially flawless. It did manage to generate just enough power from the engine to keep the vehicle afloat while others were stuck behind it in a bumper-to-bumper position. The car’s light steering wheel made it much easier to manoeuvre through traffic. If the lag is too great, switch to S-mode, which doesn’t necessarily make things faster but does give the shifts more life by holding the speeds until they reach redline at 6500 rpm.
The first gearing has been maintained purposefully short, and the shift to second occurs at roughly 4000 rpm even in sport mode. I like to think of this powerplant as a comfy cruiser rather than a performance. It may go against my usual practise of complimenting revv happy engines, but all that power and performance can be exhausting on a daily commute.
The Figo automatic is really convenient, whether it’s navigating early office traffic or making an evening drive to the mall. It’s a joy to drive once you’ve figured out the shift sequence. All of these compliments continue until you get on the freeway. The naturally aspirated high-displacement motor quickly becomes out of breath. The lag is most noticeable while overtaking and manoeuvring the vehicle on ghats or other difficult terrain where you must switch to sports mode.
To address this issue, Ford offers a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine with 215Nm of torque and 100 PS of power, mated with a 5-speed manual transmission; it’s as straightforward as it sounds. The peak torque is provided at an exceptionally low 1750 rpm, indicating that this motor is definitely designed for highway seekers and torque biters.
It’s unfair to compare a naturally aspirated engine to a turbocharged diesel, but you can’t help but sense the engine’s lively heart. Normal math indicates that at 1000 rpm, you’re already sitting on 200 Nm, indicating that the engine has enough punch even at low speeds. There is no trace of wear or spluttering if you shift to a higher gear merely for the sake of it and rev the engine at incredibly low rpms. It keeps moving forward at a steady pace. Going forward, it was a lot of fun to play with the cogs on the motorways because overtaking and reaching higher speeds no longer required precise manoeuvres. It’s as simple as a little click on the lane shift indication and a gentle throttle push.
The suspension has been adjusted to provide a softer ride, as it was able to handle undulations with ease. The 174mm segment-leading ground clearance eliminates any concerns about the underbody being injured on an uncomfortable surface. While the independent suspensions help to absorb the vibrations, the cabin’s insulation prevents any of the noise from entering, keeping the occupants fully unaffected by the rough surface. Disc brakes in the front and vented brakes in the rear are standard on all models. They have enough bite to bring the vehicle to a halt without causing too much commotion.
Not that we went all prose and poetry on the new Ford Figo’s design, because it clearly fails to create any sense of excitement, and the interiors, although excellently fulfilling the rational requirement, fail to strike an emotional chord. These portions, on the other hand, can be filed away under the subjective tab, but there is one point on which we must all agree.
Ford India has set the price of the New Figo in an aggressive manner. This one meets the criteria of an efficient hatch seeker with a claimed mileage of 25.83 kmpl for diesel and 18.16 kmpl for manual petrol. The petrol variants start at Rs 4.29L, while the diesel variants start at Rs 5.29L. Ford also sets an example for other manufacturers by including driver airbag as standard on all models. Furthermore, features such as SYNC, Emergency Assist, ABS with EBD, Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, and others demonstrate that the brand values safety and provides features to assist it.
More than the technology, the different costs associated with everyday operation, service, and upkeep are of paramount consideration when purchasing a new car. However, according to Nigel Harris, President and Managing Director, Ford India, the new Ford automobiles would not burn your pocket and make you scowl any more. The brand has ensured that the Figo’s maintenance expenses are the lowest among its competitors, and the same thinking has gone into the pricing of spare parts.
The quantity of child parts in new Ford vehicles has also increased, making it a more practical alternative. Even the service intervals are quite long, obviating the necessity for frequent visits to the service facility. With its pragmatic and sensible packaging, the new Ford Figo will undoubtedly be one of the strongest competitors in its market.