A compact sedan is defined as a sedan that does not fit within the traditional dimensions and is shorter in length to qualify for excise duty exemption. The Hyundai Xcent, Tata Zest, and Maruti Suzuki DZire are all excellent examples. The majority of these sedans are evolved from hatchbacks with the addition of a boot, and they are also reasonably priced.
Ford has opted to join the compact party now, while others have already done so. They may be late, or so some may believe, but they appear to have a valid cause for it. Their team in India has worked hard to create a tiny sedan that is specifically designed for Indian conditions. They also claim to have improved on the flaws of their competitors in their new offering.
The Ford Aspire is the automaker’s attempt on a smart sub-four-meter compact sedan that prioritises safety and technology innovation. Even though it appears to be robust on paper, the genuine feel is always a deciding factor. Will it create a new standard, or is it too lofty? Our first trip report is now available.
Do the looks pique your interest? Not at all. If there’s one element that stands out on the outside, it’s the new solid trapezoidal grille, which is clearly inspired by Aston Martin. The four wide slats, as well as their surround, are finished in chrome and make a great first impression. Unfortunately, the high praise does not extend to the rest of the design.
Sweep back headlamps take up a huge portion of the front quarter and aren’t exactly stylish. With standard shaped fog lamps and an air splitter underneath, the front bumper has a curved look. The layout appears to be understated, if not sophisticated. I’m not sure why Ford didn’t equip it with modern features like projector headlights and daytime running lights.
On the bonnet, there is a power bulge with stronger lines going down the sides. If you read our Fiesta review, you’ll notice that I went crazy for the Indy racer-styled alloys, but the ones on the Ford Aspire aren’t nearly as striking. The R14 tyres appear to be a little too tiny for the wheel well. It is shorter and slimmer than the Tata Zest, measuring 3995mm in length, 1695mm in width, and 1525mm in height. However, at 2491mm, it has a longer wheelbase than the Zest and DZire.
Because the overall design language is similar, it seems to be a downsized Fiesta from some perspectives. The B-pillar has been blacked, and the door handles have been painted in the same colour as the body. The Ford Aspire increased ground clearance of 174 mm makes it better suited for Indian roads, meaning it won’t scrape on towering speed breakers even with all occupants.
On the side, the excitement of the front fades, and at the back, it fades much more. Although it boasts a sleek back profile, the huge proportions of metal leave you wanting more. A hefty chrome strip joins the tail lights to counteract this effect. Model branding is applied, with Figo printed in larger characters to emphasise the lineage. Overall, the Ford Aspire exterior appearance does not create a lasting impression.
The Ford Aspire inside looks a lot like the Fiesta and EcoSport’s, with a lot of the same trim design and architecture. Not that I agree with it, but Ford has chosen a dual-tone interior for the Ford Aspire rather than an all-black cabin, which is a positive thing.
Because the cabin appears to be much brighter and larger than it is. The full-featured titanium+ edition includes the best of everything, including meticulously stitched leather seats. The beige colour has a quality appearance and is pleasing to the eye. The seats are quite comfortable and provide just the proper amount of support.
For all types of passengers, the driver seat has a mechanical height adjustment lever. Except for the titanium+, all other models have two-tone cloth seats that don’t feel particularly luxurious. It has ample of knee room around the front passengers, allowing tall people to sit comfortably. The rear seats are reasonably comfortable and have adequate room, putting it on par with, if not better than, its competitors.
The instrument cluster is simple, yet it displays important vehicle data such as distance to empty and fuel economy. Only the titanium+ gets SYNC link with emergency assistance. It first appeared on the Ford EcoSport and has since been adopted by all vehicles. It’s impressive to see Ford include the same technology in the Ford Aspire. With the use of voice assist, it can read text messages, manage infotainment, and make calls. Almost all accents are supported by the system.
MyDock, a unique feature on the dashboard, is available on lower models. It’s a clever use of the front dashboard recess that allows you to mount and charge your phone by placing it on the holder where the lid bites into it, and it also doubles as a navigation screen by connecting the phone’s features with the car’s navigation system. On cheaper variations, the rubber pad buttons on the central panel feel less quality. Glossy dials and soft touch buttons adorn the AC control device.
The multiple storage possibilities, 20 to be exact, must be Ford Aspire USP. Two 1.5L and 1L containers can be stored in the front door pockets. There’s also enough place for an umbrella. A smart movable storage area with an anti-skid pad is located just below the AC control unit. The glove box has enough room to fit a full-size laptop and still have enough to spare. Front-seat passengers enjoy three cup holders, but rear-seat passengers have to make do with one bin in the centre zone. There are no bottle holders on the rear passenger doors. Most crucially, there is a hidden pocket on the right side of the dashboard, facing the driver, that can only be reached when the driver’s door is open. Finally, it comes with a 359L boot space, which is enough.
Driven by Results
All Ford Aspire owners would agree that the diesel engine outperformed the petrol engine, which felt completely impotent when pushed hard. Ford has finally listened to everyone, which is good news. They’ve beefed up the petrol engine; it’s not quite as exciting as Honda’s i-VTEC, but it gets the job done. There is also an automatic transmission available, but only with the higher-spec 1.5L engine. A 1.5L option is available for those looking for the more common diesel.
The addition of more horses to the 1.2 petrol type, which now produces 88 PS and 112 Nm, has had little impact on the overall scheme of things. The early reaction to the standstill is uninspiring. If you want to get some performance out of the motor, you’ll need to crank it up higher. The lacklustre answer becomes too exhausting to deal with in city traffic. The five-speed manual transmission isn’t the best in the business, and frequent shifts cause it to get squeaky. Daily commutes are still feasible, but the lack of power forces you into motorways, where the motor begs for lower shifts when overtaking. It becomes more audible at faster speeds than usual, necessitating further refining.
On the other hand, diesel is significantly superior. It’s the same one that’s on the EcoSport and Fiesta, with the exception that the one in the Ford Aspire gets a tiny change. The ECU was remapped, which resulted in a more powerful power delivery. This 1.5-liter diesel engine produces 100 horsepower and 215 Nm of torque. After driving the gasoline, the diesel seems much more assured, making it feel more like a motor boat than an oared one.
The engine isn’t turned on by pressing a button. Yes! For whatever reason, Ford has not included a push start button on this model, opting instead for the traditional crank and start technique. Along with the conventional key, there is also a feature called MyKey, which is only available on the top-end variant. This key allows the owner to set the maximum speed, seatbelt reminder, and audio unit volume limit. For adoring parents, it serves as a guardian angel.
When it comes to the diesel engine, there is no lag at low engine speeds. It boasts a powerful lower range as well as a powerful midrange. The higher torque of 215Nm is useful in some situations. It’s simple to manoeuvre because to the lighter steering. The shift quality has improved, but we don’t advocate tinkering with it too much. When you drive it on the highway, you realise where the diesel engine belongs. This one, like the petrol, does not want to be silent when working hard. As the tacho needle continues to climb across the range, there is an excessive amount of clatter. It does, however, drive better and can achieve higher speeds with ease.
If the engines couldn’t get me to sing praises, the suspensions certainly did. In the front, it has McPherson struts with an anti-roll bar, and in the back, it’s semi-independent with a twist beam setup. It has a good chance of swallowing irregular undulations and bad surfaces indefinitely. The ride quality isn’t excellent with everyone in the car. The pint-sized R14 tyres try their hardest to scrape their way across the tarmac, but they aren’t as effective as they should be. Even when the suspensions are fighting potholes and speed breakers, the NVH levels are very low. Inside the cabin, there has been a lot of work done to insulate it from unnecessary noises.
If you enjoy driving and were expecting the Ford Aspire would be as entertaining as the Fiesta, you will be disappointed because this is a car designed for daily use. The petrol engine’s performance will absolutely erase any pleased grin from your face. The diesel saves the day by providing more torque and low-end muscle, but it’s not enough to encourage a spirited drive. The 1.5L diesel returns 25.83 kilometres per gallon, while the 1.2L petrol returns 18.16 kilometres per gallon, and the 1.5L automatic isn’t far behind at 17.2 kilometres per gallon.
Even while the exteriors aren’t particularly extravagant, they have enough charm to appeal to some. The door plastics and panel fittings aren’t the nicest on the inside, but the well-stitched seats, spacious interiors, and a plethora of storage options more than compensate. The only area where Ford truly shines is when it comes to occupant safety.
To begin, all variations come standard with driver and front passenger airbags. Six airbags are standard on the top trim, which is not only a first in class feature but also a requirement. It also has emergency help, a system that instantly contacts emergency services in the event of an accident, and MyKey, a safety feature for inexperienced drivers. Overall, the Ford Aspire is a good choice for individuals looking for the advantages of a compact sedan without sacrificing safety or efficiency. It’s clear that it’s a long way from being a benchmark.